The Nerd team
In 2015, after retiring from high school coaching at Millard South, Dustin Lewellyn founded Nebraska Elite Track Club (NETC) to promote high school distance running. While media coverage of high school of cross country and track and field has never been great in metropolitan areas, several years ago Omaha newspapers and television stations began limiting their coverage to State meets and record performances. Dustin aimed to fix that, and he began providing on-site meet coverage, recording athlete video interviews, publishing individual XC rankings, launching the Nebraska Cross Country Festival, and serving as the news aggregator for Nebraska high school running.
Jay Slagle began working with Dustin in 2017 under the Prep Running Nerd moniker, and in 2021 Jay transitioned the NETC website into the Nerd site when Dustin stepped away to focus on coaching at the collegiate level. The all-volunteer Nerd team, listed in roughly the order they joined us, now includes:
The Nerd – Jay Slagle competed at Falls City High way back in the 1980’s. He has PRs of 4:53 and 10:46 but, unfortunately, runs half that fast these days. The Nerd has primary responsibility for writing the in-season weekly Nerdsletter, preparing Class B-D XC individual rankings, and updating the results page.
Nerd Junior – Jack Slagle competed for Creighton Prep (2014-2018) and the University of Nebraska (2018-2022), and currently has the fastest Nerd family PRs with 4:20 (1600), 9:26 (3200) and 26:00 (8k). Junior is responsible for major website updates, co-manages the Instagram account and Class A XC rankings with Nerd the Third, and keeping the Nerd humble. Really humble.
Nerd the Third – Henry Slagle competed for Creighton Prep (2017-2021) and now runs for Creighton University. The Third has PRs of 4:21 (mile), 9:42 (3200) and 26:02 (8k), with his best racing still ahead of him. He joined the photography crew in March 2022, but his main priorities are updating our T&F results database, writing pre-season and pre-State articles, coordinating Class A individual XC ratings with Junior, and co-running the Instagram page.
Nerd HD – Jaden Gebeke is based in Elkhorn and is arguably the biggest running nerd on our team. After wrapping up his Elkhorn High career in 2019 with PRs of 4:51, 10:23 and 17:11, he’s been doggedly pursuing a marathon OTQ while juggling a video camera and life in the real world. While video is his preferred medium, Nerd HD has a great eye for photography and a true passion for the sport.
Dr. Nerd – Troy Bracker is based in Fremont. He was a semi-official photographer for the FHS and UNK XC and track teams until his kids retired from competition, and he’ll now use his camera collection to follow more schools while keeping his day job as a family medicine physician. He played four sports at Fremont High, threw shot in T&F, and his mom was the head women’s basketball coach at Midland for 42 years. If you need a volunteer photographer to perform a tracheotomy with a ballpoint pen, Dr. Nerd may be your best option.
CW Nerd – Holly Benish is based in Gurley, which is just north of Sidney and a stone’s throw from Wyoming and Colorado. Her kids attend Leyton High School and she volunteers to cover sporting events for Leyton High and a local newspaper. Photography and watching XC/TF meets are her two favorite hobbies, but she didn’t know she was a high-level running nerd until we talked to her at the State track meet. She has two daughters, she’s married to the coolest farmer on the planet, and she’s a stay-at-home mom who rarely spends time at home.
Hurdle Nerd - Mike Peterson recently retired from teaching and coaching; he was O'Neill's long-time head girls T&F coach and boys/girls speed coach. Most importantly, he’s got a killer photography portfolio. He is a 1983 Gering High grad with a 14.4 PR in the 110HH, placed 3rd at Class A State his senior season, and is married to a gal from his Gering High track team.
Broken Nerd – Doug Kuskie was a distance runner at Broken Bow back in the 1990’s and qualified twice for the State XC meet. He’s now dad to Preston, a junior distance runner and basketball player at Wood River. Doug works his tail off Monday through Thursday, but he’s excited to represent the Nerd team at Friday and Saturday meets in central Nebraska.
Art Nerd – Tim O’Neill is based on North Platte and aims to cover schools from all four classes. Tim was a combat photographer in the US Navy and later opened a commercial photo studio, and his artistic interests also include clay, painting and mixed media. He eventually traded his entrepreneurial career to teach art and coach XC/TF at North Platte St. Pat’s. Art Nerd has been an endurance athlete for over 40 years, and he may have the most impressive post-high school PRs of the Nerd Team – 4:18 (mile), 9:08 (2-mile) and some pretty impressive triathlon times that led to a job at USA Triathlon in the 1990’s.
High Mileage Nerd - Larry Miles is based in North Platte and is a huge fan of his two track kids, Jarrett (North Platte St. Pats distance) and Hayley (Concordia University sprints/jumps). A sprinter at North Platte HS, High Mileage was part of 4x100 and 4x400 state qualifying teams. These days he wields a mean camera at high school and collegiate meets.
Nerdlee - Erin Lee was a standout distance runner at York High and K-State. She still ranks in the Nebraska all-time top 15 for in-season 800, 1600 and 3200 performances, and her 4:49.6 ranks 2nd all-time. Work is Erin's first priority. However, when she's able to make a meet, her 'art photography' is extraordinary.
Nor'easter Nerd - Adrienne Harris is based in Homer in Northeast Nebraska. In her former life as Adrienne Hoffman, she finished 11th at State in 1999 and was a key part of South Sioux's state championship that year. She is an assistant XC coach for Homer in the fall but will spend the spring shooting meets where Homer and her daughter Lilly compete.
Nerd Dawg - Greg Dawes was a State qualifier in both XC an T&F back in his Millard North days with PRS of 1:58, 4:28 and 16:37. He's now a running dad to sons who compete at Doane (John & Will), Burke (Chase) and Buffet (Henry). In addition to his high school coverage, he should be a consistent photographer at GPAC meets.
Nerdsam - Sammy Miller was primarily a basketball player at Lincoln North Star but also dabbled in XC and T&F until Coach Musiel's leadership. She's a recent graduate of Doane and has returned to Lincoln for work. She's also a prolific self-taught photographer, and she shoots semi-pro hockey and baseball games, AAU basketball tourneys and Lincoln high school athletic events. She joined us in March 2023 and has blown us away with her eye for capturing key moments.
Nerd Ricky Bobby - Rick Campos is a 1985 Pius grad, still holds the 100 meter school record (10.6) and competed at Doane for one year. He's been into photography for years and has two track daughters - Kate (WSU) and Samantha (8th grade) - so he'll be a dedicated track fan for at least another decade.
Nerdka - Matt Hupka is based in Lincoln but competed in the high jump and long jump back in his Tecumseh days. He's been shooting photos of his tracky nieces and nephews for years, so he'll be hitting junior high, high school and college meets as work permits.
Nauj Nerd - Christian Naujokaitis is a Millard West XC/TF alum who majors in Sports Media and Broadcast Journalism at UNL. His PRs are 4:35, 9:59 and 16:26. He's been very active on Instagram, specializing in meet videos, but he's equally talented in sports photography. We have nothing to teach Christian; we're just hoping we can increase his access to great meets so he can keep adding to his impressive portfolio.
Nerd Speedwalker - Trevor Alber competed in XC, TF and wrestling at Aurora High, and then XC/TF at Hastings College. He qualified twice for State XC, earned a 2nd-place medal in the 4x800 at State Track, and qualified for NAIA Indoor Nationals in the 3000-meter racewalk. His PRs are 2:07, 4:24 (1500), 15:11 (3k racewalk), 17:47 (5k XC) and 29:02 (8k XC). He coaches at Hastings St. Cecilia, so he'll be juggling coaching and photography duties at XC meets.
Joyful Nerd - Based in Fremont, Tonya Miller is a native Iowan and mother of four. She has a 5:15 PR in the 1500 but we're more impressed by the half-Ironman she completed in 2022. A photography protege of Dr. Nerd, she'll mostly be shooting meets where her son Noah and the Fremont Tigers compete. She loves taking pictures of athletes and hopes to live every day with joy, faith and a love for others.
Nerd Convert - Tony Chapman has been covering high school sports as a hobby for over a decade, most recently with NebPreps. He writes about nearly all high school sports - plus Nebraska football - in his newly-launched Flatwater Sports newsletter, and he is an absolute golf nut. His last competitive race was a lackluster 1200 way back in junior high, but he got bit by the XC bug after watching daughter Liv (GI Northwest) fall in love with distance running.
Bloomin' Nerd - Melanie Hartung is based in Laurel and has been a lifelong fan of running. She was a mid-distance runner at Bloomfield back in the day under the guidance of her uncle Coach Wilken, and her 4x800 team has held the school record since 1994. As an adult, she's competed in races from 5k up to marathons. She's excited to join the Nerd team and give back to the sport.
Word Nerd - Renae Bottom is a retired English teacher living in Grant. She's from a big running family - she had PRs of 25.8/60.0 in the 220/440 in high school, her husband coaches JH track, two kids ran in college, and her son coaches the Hershey XC team. She also worked in the newspaper biz and was the copy editor for Running Times for ten years when editor Jonathan Beverly lived in Chase County.
All of the Nerds are volunteers, but we're serious about promoting the sport. Team rankings are typically prepared by coaches while we prepare individual rankings. The goal of the rankings is simply to shine a light on the sport, so please don’t take offense. If you have story ideas or information you’d like to share, shoot the Nerd an e-mail at email@example.com.