Updated: Feb 7
Contributor: The Nerd
We're still not in writing shape but we're using the indoor season to improve our fitness. Here's a quick hit of a lot of little things.
High school open meets
Concordia hosted a high school meet in December but the real season started last weekend. According to NSAA rules, high school athletes can compete in these open meets as unattached athletes until the start of Nebraska track season on February 27, so don't wear an official high school uniform at these events.
Here's the list of winter indoor high school meets: https://www.preprunningnerd.com/post/2023wintermeets
Just as we do during the normal high school season, we try to track down results for every meet. The link to high school and collegiate meet results: https://www.preprunningnerd.com/trackresults
We're also compiling a list of top performances from winter meets. While the results aren't that important, they do give a hint about who may be ready for a breakout spring season. Here's the list: https://www.preprunningnerd.com/post/winter2023marks
If you're a running nerd, there's no shortage of college meets to attend this winter. Admission prices are low and dozens (if not hundreds) of former Nebraska HS athletes will be competing at each meet. Here's a list of local meets coming up:
1/20 NWU at Devaney
2/17-18 GPAC @ Concordia
3/2-3/4 NAIA Nationals, Brookings, SD
If you Google something like "Doane track and field", you'll be directed to the college's T&F website. Most colleges have a tab for "Home Meets" that give details like schedules, heat sheets and admission prices.
Magic Mile article
There's a shortage of articles about Nebraska distance running, so I wanted to share a link to an article written for the Nebraska High School Hall of Fame about the 'Magic Mile' that was held in 1947.
In contrast to XC meets, track meets are long enough that we have more time to catch up with coaches and athletes. A few conversations and notes from this past weekend:
I spoke with Mesuidi Ejerso (SSC) a few hours after the State XC meet, and he told me that he was happy with his 3rd-place finish because he hadn't run much during the summer. However, he told me he was going to work his tail off over the winter. I caught up with him on Sunday at the College of St. Mary's meet and he assured me that he had been working hard since November. His results reflected that. He ran a 4:32.61 1600 on Sunday, just 1.15 seconds off his PR from 2021. He ran the 800 an hour later and was just 1.07 seconds off his lifetime best.
We're reasonably confident that freshmen distance phenoms Mia Urosevich (Westside) and Abbi Durow (Millard South), who finished 7th and 8th at 2022 State XC, will not be running T&F this spring. They're year-round soccer players, and they'll be on the pitch this spring.
Conversely, juniors Denny Chapman (Prep) and McCoy Haussler (Skutt) appear to be committed to their first high school T&F season after playing soccer their first two years. Chapman finished 10th and 8th at State XC in 2021 and 2022, while Haussler was 9th and 6th in 2020 and 2021. On Sunday Chapman ran his first or second competitive 1600 since 6th grade, notching a 4:33. Haussler started his training cycle later than Chapman, but he won the 1st heat of the CSM 1600 on Sunday.
The NAZ Elite pro team brought three athletes to the UNL Grad Classic this weekend. I asked Alan Culpepper, the NAZ Elite coach, why they traveled from Arizona to Lincoln. His simple response: "We were looking for a low-key meet to start our season." Krissy Gear set a facility record in the 1000 while Abby Nichols and Katie Wasserman broke the previous facility record in the 3000. Gear came back the next day to win the 800 in 2:04. You think you know the gap between pro and collegiate athletes... but it's a bit shocking when you see it in person.
Another pro athlete at Devaney was Tracksmith's Brett Meyer, who ran a 2:23 1000 even though his six-month track season hasn't really started. A Fort Hays grad, he's been a reliable pacer at UNL, UNK and Fort Hays meets, including an assist for Wes Ferguson's 1:47 800 last year.
The NSAA posted updated T&F classifications on 1/18 - based on enrollment, Pius was set to drop to Class B for T&F but Pius elected to 'opt up' to Class A. Scottsbluff and South Sioux City are the two largest Class B schools per the NSAA. I would be very appreciative if there's a coach out there who would be willing to list the Class B/C/D changes for me. (Joe Philippi from Axtell let me know that North Platte St. Pats and Pender are moving up to C, while Nebraska Christian, Heartland and Sandy Creek will drop down to D.)
We got to see a bunch of post-collegiate competitors on Friday at the Devaney Center. I'm not sure what was the most impressive - Andy Vasquez's 4:16 mile, Bekka Morgan's 5:10 mile, Christina Elder's 3:08 1000, Angee Henry's 17-11 long jump 26 years after her UNL career, Daniel Reimer's 9:07 3000, Marissa Moore's 5:22 mile, or Alvaro Sanabria's 8:32 3000. Morgan is a Lincoln Christian coach while Elder coaches at Platteview.
I didn't notice this at the time, but it appears that a Kansas 8th grader, Aria Pearce, competed in the UNL Graduate Classic in the 60 (7.56), 200 (24.46) and long jump (17-09.75). She finished 2nd in both the 60 and 200.
We shot 70 cross country meets last fall, and we'll try to hit that many track meets by the end of May. We picked up three new Nerds over the winter so we think that's a realistic number. If you go to https://www.preprunningnerd.com/2022 you can find links to all of our Facebook albums. We've already posted photos for two meets - the UNL Graduate Classic (Nerd HD, Mr. Nerd) and the College of St. Mary's high school meet (Dr. Nerd, Mr. Nerd). Greg Dawes is our newest Nerd (Nerd Dawg), and we'll soon post his photos from the 1/14/23 Doane meet as well. Look for Nerd Dawg over the next month - he should be a regular at the Doane and Concordia meets.
We continue to update the Nebraska high school Class of 2023 track and field commitments on our website at https://www.preprunningnerd.com/post/2023commits. If our list omits you or your athlete, please e-mail or DM us. While we'll cheer like heck for athletes from any state once they're competing at Nebraska colleges, we only track commitments from Nebraska high school athletes.
Our website also includes helpful information on how to select a college if you're a distance runner (although it generally applies to any athlete), and we have what is probably a slightly-outdated list of XC/T&F programs in and near Nebraska. Check that out at https://www.preprunningnerd.com/college-recruiting.
Good for a girl
Last fall we gave a shout out to Marissa Kraus of the OWH for writing about Berlyn Schutz, the Lincoln East senior and UNL commit, and Berlyn's struggles to compete through the maturation process. Former pro runner Lauren Fleshman, a five-time NCAA champion at Stanford, adds more insight on distance running and the female body in her new memoir, "Good for a Girl." While I haven't read it, the book received a highly-favorable review in the Wall Street Journal this weekend. It's not necessarily a must-read for every female distance runner, but it seems like it may be another helpful resource to consider.
Former Marian, Millard North and Cornhusker Flyer Emily Sisson did it again, setting a new American record in the half-marathon this weekend in Houston. She now has four of the six fastest half-marathon times for American women.
Twitter ain't for everyone but...
We've got over 5,000 followers on both Twitter and Facebook. During a track meet, if we're lucky to have time to post to social media, Twitter is our go-to app. While Facebook is great for sharing photos and news articles, teams are far more likely to be active on Twitter, so that's where we gravitate in-meet. We understand that not everyone is a fan of Twitter but it's simply the fastest way for us to share info. Give us a follow if you're able.
Next up for us
Nerd Dawg will be at Concordia on Saturday for the collegiate meet, while Nerd Senior will be at South Dakota State on Saturday. We don't have anyone headed to the Concordia high school meet on Sunday as of Wednesday night, but don't count out the Nerds.
If you're in Northeast Nebraska and live closer to Brookings than Lincoln, the SDSU meet is going to be pretty awesome. The mile features three athletes with PRs between 3:59 and 4:01, but every event should include solid fields.
Originally written for and posted in December 2022 at www.preprunningnerd.com by Jay Slagle.
Like this coverage of Nebraska high school distance running? There's more of this at www.preprunningnerd.com. Check out the Blog tab for our frequent stories, the Articles tab for long-form articles, the Results tab for every Nebraska high school race we could find this year, and the Rankings tab for team and individual rankings. If you want to see meet photos or just need to kill a few hours on social media, follow us on Twitter @PrepRunningNerd or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/preprunningnerd.
Finally, if you think runners and jumpers are the best thing 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 who became a quadrapalegic after a swimming accident.