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Panther girls win Class B State team championship

By GREG SCELLIN, Signal Editor

Don’t blame Maggie Malone if she didn’t leave the blocks like a frieght train in the finals of the girls 200-meter dash on Saturday afternoon at Omaha Burke Stadium.

The Panther junior had some strict instructions from her mother—Fillmore Central head coach Nancy Kindig-Malone.

You see with State runner-up Beatrice having no entry in the final event and the other pursuers having no chance of breaking 48, all the younger Malone had to do was get sixth or better in the 200 final. No small task in a field that featured defending State Champion Abby Niederklein and Lady Orange sophomore speedster Hanah Barnard, who earlier had rolled to victory in the 100-meter dash final.

“Maggie probably didn’t get too great of a start in the 200,” Kindig-Malone said. “I told her to stay in those blocks. We knew we got it if she got sixth or better.”

Daughter didn’t disappoint as a well-timed lean at the tape produced a third-place finish and vaulted the Panthers to the top of the Class B team standings. FC piled it on in the day’s final event, as the Panther quartet of Malone, Christa Scott, Audrey Malone and Lindsey Maloley rolled to a runner-up finish from the slow heat of the 1,600-meter relay. FC’s time of 4:02.162 was just 1/10th of a second behind the clocking turned in by three-time defending State Champion McCook.

“We changed some things up in the four by four,” Kindig-Malone said. “We had Lindsey (Maloley) run second and let her chase down some of the leaders.”

Another big boost for the Panthers came from Meg Loontjer who earned pole vault gold during the waning hours on Friday. After failing to earn a medal a year ago, the FC senior saved her best for last clearing a career-best 11-feet, 4-inches and winning the event on misses.

Loontjer’s victory had FC on top of the standings after a rainy and miserable day one with 20 points.

Powerful performances by the Malone sisters on Saturday and medals in all the relay events propelled FC past runner-up Beatrice 56-44 for the State Class B team title. The State track girls team championship from the third smallest school in Class B is FC’s first-ever State Championship.

“Our district-qualifying times weren’t that great but everything went as planned down here,” Kindig-Malone said. “We’re obviously very excited. It couldn’t have gone better here. This is just so special. It was also a great meet because everyone here also got a medal.”

Additional members of the FC State Championship team in Omaha were Nicole Beam, Heather Broman, Haley Norvell and Macy Jones.

Check out www.thenebraskasignal.com for State track highlights.