Contributor: The Nerd
It's our first Nerdsletter of 2024. We're rusty from a two-month vacation so keep your expectations low.
High school meets
It's cold outside. If you're a distance runner, perhaps you haven't competed since October. If you're a sprinter or field event athlete, it's been six months or more since last your last meet. The track wants you. The track needs you.
Nebraska is blessed with two great colleges, Concordia and College of St. Mary, that host indoor meets during the winter when track athletes compete individually rather than as part of their high school teams. In addition, there are a number of other great meets in nearby states that may be worth your time. We've compiled a list of area meets at https://www.preprunningnerd.com/post/openmeets2024.
No one expects greatness at these meets. For distance runners, it's a chance to gauge fitness and work on racing strategy. For sprinters, it's a rare chance to have an official timer and to work on hurdle form. For field event athletes (except the discus throwers), it's a chance to compete in a warm environment and work out the kinks.
The next meet is at Concordia (Seward) on Sunday. The registration deadline is Thursday at midnight (see listing above for link). At the Concordia meets, field events run 2:30-4:30 and races go from 3:00 to about 5:15. CSM has a slighty longer schedule, with field events from 1:00-3:00 and races from 2:30 to 5:15. Both have great 200-meter facilities, professional timing and... there's a good chance a Nerd will be there to take pictures.
High school winter performance list
We do our best to track down the best performances of the unofficial winter season and we compile them on a list at https://www.preprunningnerd.com/post/winter2024. If you compete outside of Nebraska, there's a chance we won't know about it, so just DM or e-mail us and we'll see if the mark meets the list's criteria to be included.
On our Facebook page we've posted photos from three meets held in the first two weeks of January.
Doane collegiate, 1/6/23 - Men and women
Find the Nerd
We're all volunteers so our shooting schedule takes a lower priority than work, school and family, but we are tentatively planning to be at the following meets:
Friday, 1/19, Concordia collegiate - Nerd Dawg
Saturday, 1/20, NWMSU collegiate - Nerd HD
Sunday, 1/21, Concordia high school - Stampede Nerd (her debut) and Nerd Senior
Collegiate meets this weekend
Let's be honest, you're probably tired of watching football and basketball by now. Why not go to something exciting like a track meet? Check out one of these meets this weekend:
Friday, 1/19, 12:00 start - Concordia Polar Dog in Seward
Friday, 1/19 - 1:00 start - NWU Prairie Wolf Invite at Devaney Center
Saturday, 1/20 - 10:45 start - UNL Mark Colligan at Devaney Center
Saturday, 1/20 - 11:00 start - NWMSU Coach Alsup Open at Maryville, MO
Sunday, 1/21 - 2:30 start - Concordia high school open meet
The pay is, well, nonexistent, but despite that our Nerd team keeps growing. We'll have all of our Fall 2023 Nerds back for track season plus at least three new faces:
Maelee Beacom (Wild Nerd) is a distance runner at Wayne State and will bolster our Northeast Nebraska coverage;
Mitchel Brandt (Nerdell) is a senior at Kearney High and our first Kearney-based photographer.
Diane Stamm (Stampede Nerd) is a newly-retired newspaper professional who will add to our Southwest Nebraska coverage.
In addition, Nor'easter Nerd (Adrienne Harris) and CW Nerd (Holly Benish) return after taking the fall off to travel the world (or something like that). We've been able to improve our coverage every season and we think we're up to the challenge again this spring with 20+ Nerds.
We continue to update our college commitment list at https://www.preprunningnerd.com/post/class2024. If we've missed you or your athlete, please DM or e-mail us and we'll update the list.
Odds and ends
Here are some of the interesting stuff we saw or heard in the past few weeks:
We ran into Sara Sinani, a track official, at the UNL meet on Saturday. A Nebraska native, she's a fixture at UNL meets but we've also run into her at the KU Relays and NAIA Nationals. She recently learned that she's been selected to be an official at the NCAA Division I indoor (Boston) and outdoor (Eugene) meets this fall. That is a huge honor. She's just one example of the high caliber of track officials you'll see at high school and collegiate meets in the area.
You might have heard that we had quite a bit of snow and sub-zero temps last weekend. Despite that, UNL T&F Director Cody Brousek and his staff successfully hosted a meet on Saturday. It took a number of exceptional feats, including two Uber sessions when team busses didn't start. Cody and three of his staff drove a number of Cowley College athletes from their hotel to Devaney, while two Holiday Inn Express (Lincoln airport) employees shuttled Pratt Community College athletes.
The UNL meet included two high school athletes, Prep's Denny Chapman and Millard West's Jack Witte. They led the majority of their mile heat, with Chapman edging Witte for the win. They both finished in 4:24.
Lincoln East alum Berlyn Schutz made her collegiate track debut for UNL on Saturday, winning the mile in 4:50. She's got an outdoor PR of 4:46 from last summer but 4:50 indoors on the second Saturday in January is pretty impressive.
We talked to UNL alum and multi-All-American Angee Henry at the CSM meet. She had planned to compete at UNL on Saturday but travel concerns prevented her from attending. She holds a number of national and world records in the her age group and hopes to qualify for the USATF Masters Nationals this winter in both the 60 and 200.
Several Nebraska athletes competed in the National Pole Vault Summit in Reno last weekend. Sami Campos, a Lincoln 8th grader, posted the best mark at 12-00.
The high school indoor meets are a great opportunity to compete in different events, and Omaha Central's Ike Ackerman did just that. In addition to winning the shot put with a heave over 53 feet, he also cleared 6-02 in the high jump.
More to come
If you're not following @preprunningnerd on Twitter and Facebook, we'd appreciate a follow. We're the go-to source for Nebraska track and field. In addition to almost-weekly Nerdsletters, we'll attend over 100 track meets this year and upload thousands of free photos for you to enjoy. We also compile a database of top performances once the official track season begins, track down results for every Nebraska high school meet we can find, and later in the season we'll discuss the qualifying standards for State.
Like this coverage of the Nebraska track and field scene? There's more of this at www.preprunningnerd.com. Check out the Blog tab for our frequent stories and and the Results tab for every Nebraska high school race we can find. If you want to see meet photos or just need to kill a few hours on social media, follow us on Twitter and Instagram @PrepRunningNerd or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/preprunningnerd.
Finally, if you think runners, jumpers and throwers are the best things on earth, you'll enjoy our two most popular articles. In 2018 we published "The Runner with the Broken Heart" about a high school boy who finished last in nearly every race he ran. In 2022 we published, "The Fall and Rise of Emmett Hassenstab," a story about a high school triple jumper who became a quadrapalegic after a swimming accident.