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01/24/24 Nerdsletter

Updated: Jan 25

Contributor: The Nerd


Here is a quick recap of all that is Nebraska track and field for the past week.


Results and highlights

We've added links on our website to two high school meets - Concordia and NWMSU - that were held last Sunday. While only a limited number of Nebraska athletes competed at Maryville, the Concordia meet featured a crazy number of meet records. Now that winter opportunities are more predictable, we're starting to see better performances and fitter athletes in January and February. In field events where repetition makes perfect, we won't be surprised to see these athletes performing well at Burke in late May.



The high school results at https://www.preprunningnerd.com/trackresults. A few college and high school highlights from this weekend:


  • Juan Gonzalez (Fremont, junior) isn't linked on our webpage the results list, but he popped off a 4:18.93 mile during the NWMSU collegiate race on Saturday. In that same race, Wes Ferguson (UNK, senior) set a new UNK mile record in 4:03.70, which puts him 3rd on the season's D2 list. Later in the meet Wes ran the 800 in 1:50.31 to set another school record. Wes is a three-time national champion with a long season ahead of him - based on his performance at the 2023 US National meet, he has a realistic chance of qualifying for the Olympic Trials for this summer. The qualifying mark for the Trials has not been set but Wes' 1:46.65 from the 2023 National meet should be good enough to qualify as one of the top 32 performances. His UNK teammate Brayden Sorensen had a high school high jump PR of 6-04 but he's climbed up the ladder, finishing 7th at the 2023 National meet. He should also be in contention for a Trials spot after jumping 7-02.25 in December.

  • UNL's Berlyn Schutz, a freshman from Lincoln East, continued her impressive year with a 4:41.91 mile at the Devaney Center on Saturday, smashing her previous mile PR of 4:46.77 from the Hoka Festival of Miles in June. Later in the day she ran a 2:10 800.

  • Kassidy Stuckey of York posted a 5:11.72 1600 at NWMSU to take over winter lead from Ella Ford of Elkhorn North, who ran 5:17 one week prior at CSM.

  • Jaiya Patillo, a high school freshman and 5-time USATF national champion, dropped a 56.89 400 at Concordia despite being 'out of shape' per her coach. That time would have won the Polar Dog collegiate meet held at Concordia on Friday and would have put her 4th at the UNL collegiate meet held on Saturday.

  • Also at Concordia, Laney Songster of Lincoln Northeast ran 9.04 in the 60 hurdles and Elizabeth Wemhoff ran 26.35 in the 200 to top the winter charts.

  • Alyssa Onnen of Kearney Catholic took over the winter lead in the triple jump (38-04.75 if I know how to convert from meters) and the pole vault (12-05.50) at Concordia, while her teammate Margaret Haarberg and Lincoln North Star's Claire Hellbusch both high jumped 5-07.

  • Ethan Baessler of Blair (60m, 6.90) and Jaxon Knisley (60H, 7.94) cruised to wins and the top of the winter leaderboard at Concordia, while Bellevue West's Asher Jenkins took over the 200m lead with a 22.67.

  • Jackson Feauto of Lincoln Christian popped off a 51.92 400 at the 300-meter NWMSU track. Back in Nebraska, Joseph Dustin of Pius won the 800 for the second consecutive weekend, posting a blazing 1:58.84 at Concordia.

  • Reece Grosserode of Pius long jumped 23-08.75 and triple jumped 48-02.00 at Concordia, new winter bests for him. He's clearly recovered from the ACL injury he incurred in the fall of 2022.


Winter bests

We've updated the winter performance list for meet results through Sunday. If we've missed a meet outside of Nebraska, send us a DM or email jayslagle@hotmail.com. Here's the list: https://www.preprunningnerd.com/post/winter2024


Photos


Three Nerds had kids competing at Concordia, and I joined them as a fourth photographer because I'm a big fan of the Concordia program. The result is that we have a ton of pics from a 'practice meet' - but they're still cool to us. Here are the links to the photos on our Facebook page:



Nerd Dawg and Nerdka were at the Concordia collegiate meet on Friday, so we will also have pictures from that meet on our Facebook page in a few days.


Next high school meets


College coaches have a pretty hectic life once the indoor season starts, so they have to squeeze in hosting high school meets into the few open windows they have. This weekend is a rare opportunity for Nebraska high school athletes to choose from two Nebraska meets on Sunday:


Concordia - registration deadline is Thursday at midnight


College of St. Mary - registration closes on Friday at 8:00 p.m.


Winter meets are a great opportunity to work on race strategy, pre-race nerves and pacing, and it's also a low-key way to try out different events. In the last twelve months I've seen a thrower do the high jump, an elite horizontal jumper throw the shot put, and countless number of distance runners compete in the 400. It's the winter - register now and have some fun!


Meets to watch this weekend

There is no more football on Saturdays so why not hit a meet this weekend? Here are a few options:



District assignments posted by NSAA

The District assignments were posted by the NSAA earlier this week. They are located at:



I've seen a lot of Twitter chatter about 'loaded' Districts but in general having a competitive District only hurts an athlete in the long jump, triple jump, shot put and discus. The pole vault and high jump have automatic qualifying marks and the eleven running events have at-large qualifiers to fill out the State entries. In theory, a Class A District with an absolutely loaded distance field could qualify up to 12 athletes in an event. I wrote about the 2023 qualifying rules at https://www.preprunningnerd.com/post/23qualify; I haven't updated the qualifying marks for 2024 but you'll get the idea.


******


First published at www.preprunningnerd.com by Jay Slagle on January 24, 2024. If you find an error, shoot us an e-mail at jayslagle@hotmail.com and we'll get it fixed.


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.

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