Fremont boys win five district titles at A-1 meet

GRETNA — Fremont’s Da’Varius Bell didn’t like his chances of qualifying for the 200-meter final.

Sitting in lane seven at the start of the race, the junior, at preliminary times, was on the outside looking in for an automatic bid to the state meet with the fifth-fastest qualifying time and only the top four of the final obtained a guaranteed place in state. He was already assured of a spot in Omaha after finishing third in the 100-meter final, but securing a second place seemed doubtful.

“I came into the competition not even expecting to qualify, maybe get a wild card, but it was just about who wanted it and I really wanted it,” Bell said.

The junior shocked the field, becoming Fremont’s first 200-meter district champion in 17 years with a time of 22.05, winning the crown by 0.02 seconds.

“It all came from the heart,” Bell said. “All my teammates were telling me I could do it and not worry, that I was good enough. Then I just competed, competed for the team.

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Fremont’s Da’Varius Bell (right) leads the anchor portion of the 4×100-meter relay Tuesday in Gretna’s District A-1.

Randy Speer Fremont Tribune

The confidence boost the rest of the Tigers gave Bell before the race was a reflection of what Bell brought to the Tigers.

Doing what’s best for the team, even if it means saving a little gas in the tank for relays after his individual events, is what the junior is all about, his coaches said .

“He never says, ‘Oh, I can’t do that many races,’” Fremont co-coach Beth McMahon said. “We probably pushed it a little too much mid-season in some of those races.”

“He wanted to help the team,” Sean McMahon said.

“He came back really well at the end of the season,” added Beth McMahon.

The Bells’ title was one of five district championships won by Fremont Tuesday afternoon as the Tigers punched tickets to Burke in eight events.

“We only had a few guarantees and we got a lot more than a few guarantees,” Sean McMahon said.

One of those safeties was junior Juan Gonzalez.

The record-setting runner captured three district titles in the 800 meters (1:58.62), 1,600 meters (4:23.33) and 3,200 meters (9:38.35) and anchored the 4×400 meter relay Tigers in a wild run. card place at state with a fourth-place finish in 3:28.42. The relay was led by Alex Diers, Jase LaDay and Nathan Soto.

He will have company in all three events. LaDay booked his ticket to the 800 meters with a time of 2:00.19 and Steven Fiscus Jr. came in with a time of 2:00.86.

Noah Miller and Wes Pleskac both earned at-large bids in the 1,600 meter field. Miller clocked 4:29.60 and Pleskac clocked 4:35.06.

Miller also earned an at-large berth in the 3,200 meters with a time of 9:44.68.

LaDay, Pleskac, Toton Manka and Raymond Rise will also represent Fremont at state in the 4×800-meter relay, finishing second in district with a time of 8:15.92.

Diers earned an individual berth in the 400 meters with a time of 52.52.

Fremont’s latest district champion was also the first of the day for the Tigers as sophomore Noah Sagehorn jumped a season-best 6 feet, five inches in the high jump to claim the crown.

“It’s great to finish a season where I’ve been in a slump all year,” Sagehorn said.

The sophomore only missed two jumps that day, missing on his first attempt at six feet, one inch and six feet, five inches, but clearing both heights on a second try.

“He’s had that edge all season, he just couldn’t do it and on Saturday (in practice) they really focused on some of the little details and being patient and it really clicked,” Beth said McMahon.

He will have two events in his first trip to Burke Stadium, also qualifying in the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 15.75.

“Last year I despised the (110 meter hurdles) and loved the three hundred. This year I’m pretty much the opposite,” Sagehorn said.

The Class A state track and field meet is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. Wednesday, May 15 at Omaha Burke High School.