Contributor: The Nerd
It's that time of the week. We're your Nebraska media source for indoor track. Putin may have invaded Ukraine yesterday but he won't stop the Nerdsletter.
Only one meet... sorry
With great indoor meets on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, we feel a bit guilty about not hitting the GPAC meet on Saturday and the College of St. Mary high school meet on Sunday. However, family obligations come first, so we'll do our best to recap what we missed.
We did hit the UNL Tune-Up meet on Friday, which included five in-state schools (UNL, UNK, UNO, Wesleyan and Creighton), a number of out-of-state schools (South Dakota, Augustana, Fort Hays State, Langston, Southern Nazarene, William Jewell) and a solid squad of unattached runners. Results are posted here. A few highlights:
Wes Ferguson of UNK hadn't raced the mile/1600 since he went 4:23 as a junior at Fremont High. However, he's currently ranked 4th in D2 with a 1:49.53 and set the D2 national record in the 1000 in January, so we were pretty sure he'd PR. Sure enough, after what he characterized as a 'slow' start in 2:07sh, he closed in just under 2:00 to win in 4:07. 15, just 0.76 seconds off the UNK record set in 2017 by Cole Wellnitz. (Wes' accomplishments this season have been achieved on about 25 miles per week of running.) Evan Johnson of Augustana was 2nd in 4:07.60 after leading the first 1400 meters. Evan was a two-time State XC medalist and soccer player at Lincoln Southeast, and his results the past three years have been impressive. In 2022 indoor he's run the mile in 4:07, 4:08 and 4:11; in 2021 indoor he ran 4:10, 4:10 and 4:12; in 2020 he ran 4:14 and 4:19.
UNK now has four athletes who have run 4:10 or faster this indoor season: Luke Stuckey (4:10.03), Myles Bach (4:09.00), Seth Simonson (4:07.52) and Ferguson.
Helped in part by masterful pacing duties from Brett Meyer (Tracksmith) and Alec Kray (Augustana), Ryan Hartman of Augustana won the 3000 in a school-record time of 8:04.78, which was the 14th fastest D2 time this year.
Angee Henry, a Bellevue West alum and 10-time All-American at UNL from 1993-1997, competed unattached in the 200. She was hampered by what appears to be a sore hamstring injury but still ran 27.31. By my math, she should be about 47 years old, and she's running a sub-28.00 with one good leg. We should all hope to age this well.
Ella Byers of South Dakota and Marguerite Hendrickson of Creighton had a good battle in the women's mile, with both finishing in 4:56. That was a 12-second PR for Byers and a 7-second PR for Hendrickson, putting her 2nd on the all-time list at Creighton.
As is our custom, we took a ton of pictures and posted the good ones at our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/preprunningnerd. If you use them for your social media posts, we'd love to be tagged for the photo credit so more folks hear about the Nerd.
The great debate
Maybe your family argues about politics or the NFL at the dinner table, but the Nerd family spent considerable time debating the merits of the Fort Hays State uniforms after the UNL Tune-Up. By a vote of 3 to 1, we concluded that their singlets were awesome. Consider the issue settled.
Creighton Coach Chris Gannon provided some background on the FHS uniforms. He shared that the FHSU uniform is a tribute to legendary coach Alex Francis. In 2002-03, to celebrate their 100th anniversary, every athletic team at Hays chose a historic uniform to wear. The track team brought back the lightening bolt from the Alex Francis era. Once the 2002 season was over, other programs on campus reverted back to current styles but the track team kept the bolt in rotation.
On that note, how can Adidas have such a huge budget for its professional racing team and still put their pros in some of the ugliest outfits on the planet?
Finally, I believe it was Olympian Peyton Otterdahl, who now trains in Lincoln, who competed on Friday in the Nike blue singlet that Nike gives to their sponsored athletes. If you're watching a Diamond League event where 12 guys are wearing the same kit, it's not that cool. When there's just one guy wearing the kit and he's an absolute beast, the uniform is pretty impressive.
We couldn't make it to the GPAC meet but by all accounts it was impressive. The women's competition featured four top-25 teams, and Concordia won with 199.5 points to Hastings' 163. Lauren Tamayo of Hastings (Ralston alum) won the Most Outstanding Award by winning the high jump and placing 2nd in the long jump and 60 hurdles. Rylee Haecker of Concordia (Raymond Central) swept the 1000 and mile. She's improved her PR from a 5:40 1600 in high school to a 5:13 mile this past weekend.
I saw a lot of familiar names on the results sheet, including Doane's Lindsay Adams who won the pentathlon. Lindsay was a stud hurdler and long jumper in high school, graduating from Millard West last spring, so it's cool to see her make the transition to a collegiate multi-event athlete.
The men's competition had six top-25 teams. Doane captured the men's title with 198 points, edging Dordt by 21 points. Doane's Zach Turner (Crete High) shared the Most Outstanding Athlete award after winning the 60 hurdles, placing 2nd in the 400, 4th in the 200, and 5th in the 4x400.
Doane's win was impressive given that Dordt swept the men's titles in the 600, 800, 1000, mile, 3000 and 5000, as well as having a host of other high placers in each event.
The USTFCCCA has released their weekly rankings. The GPAC has a great collection of NAIA programs, including several Nebraska schools. Ranked women's teams this week include Concordia (2nd), Hastings (3rd), and Doane (7th). Ranked men's teams include Doane (13th) and Midland (16th). In addition:
The UNK men are ranked 16th in D2.
The NWMSU women are ranked 14th and Augustana 25th in D2. Both schools traditionally pull athletes from Nebraska.
The Wesleyan women are ranked 8th in D3.
The Iowa Western women are ranked first in JUCO ranks, with the Iowa Western men ranked 2nd. Iowa Central in Fort Dodge features the 6th-ranked women's team and 3rd-ranked men's team.
Finally, 200/400 specialist Nickisha Pryce of Iowa Western was selected as the junior college female National Athlete of the Week.
One of the benefits of having a media pass at the UNL meets is that I get to interact with the coaches at the edge of the track. One coach told me that the football coach at his school is finding it more difficult to fill out his roster. Due in part to the shrinking population of college-aged kids, it's becoming more common that football-playing academic high-achievers are hanging up their cleats after high school rather than continue on in college. The coach told me that a football scholarship is still an attractive option for kids who don't earn academic scholarships, but it will be interesting to see if this trend spreads to other schools.
High school meets
We tracked down results for three high school meets that were held this weekend: the final College of St. Mary meet (results), Northwest Missouri State (results) and the MVP VibeFest in Chicago (no results link). The VibeFest participants from Nebraska were mostly athletes who have been training at Trackville, while the Fremont distance squad were the only Nebraskan names I recognized at NWMSU. Highlights from this weekend:
Ahmed Muse of Omaha Central won the CSM 800 in 2:02.29. Zach Schultz won the CSM 1600 in 4:35 and 90 minutes later was third in the 800 in 2:05.71. Deavion Deleon of Papio South won the CSM 800 in 2:18.62, which goes down as the second fastest 800 of the winter season behind Stella Miner's 2:15.
Claire White of Westside won the CSM 1600 in 5:21, her second best career time, and Reese Young-Oestmann of Westside and Kaitlyn Swartz of Papio South both broke 5:30.
Amari Laing of Millard South swept the CSM long jump and triple jump with efforts of 17'9" and 35'11".
Jack Gillogly of Creighton Prep swept the CSM 60 and 200 in winter-best times of 7.01 and 22.60. He's had several good duals with Eli Alaga of Millard South, who ran 7.04 on Sunday. Zakeirah Johnson of Burke swept the sprints in 7.83 and 26.53; she ranks second over the winter behind Dajaz DeFrand. Dajaz ran a blazing 7.48 at the VibeFest to solidify her #1 ranking in Nebraska this winter.
Kamdyn Swartz of Wahoo Neumann won the 60 hurdles in 8.56, just off his season best of 8.51.
Christian Lanphier of Creighton Prep won the CSM 400 in 53.17, which ranks 2nd behind Gabe Miles of Lincoln East, who ran a 51.95 at the VibeFest. Kate Campos of Pius also ran individual and Nebraska winter-bests at Chicago, running the 60 hurdles in 8.93 (tied with Samantha Rodencal) and the 400 in 59.70.
The Fremont distance boys had a great meet at Maryville. Braden Taylor ran the winter's fastest time in 1:58.07, Nolan Miller ran the 1600 in 4:26.56, and Carter Waters ran an incredible 9:15 in the 3200. Carters, an Alabama commit, improved on his 9:19 PR from last April.
There's only one nearby indoor meet remaining before the official NSAA track season starts on February 28. If you're interested in traveling to Kansas City on Sunday, click here for details. I have not been to the venue but I'm told that it's a solid venue with good competition.
Best high school indoor performances of the winter
Nerd the Third undertook am ambitious project this weekend to develop a mostly-Top-10 list of high school indoor performances from the winter season. Most of these results aren't listed on athletic.net or milesplit.com, so we pulled results directly from Trackville, Concordia, College of St. Mary, NWMSU, MVP VibeFest and the Air Force High School Open. The results from this winter were impressive, and our comparison to 2021 State T&F Class A results shows that a number of them would have been medal-worthy if done in May. Click here for the boys' list and click here for the girls' list. Our apologies in advance if we missed something; we did the best we could to find results.
We're trying to keep the Class of 2022 commitment list updated but we know that not every commitment is on our social media feeds. Check out our list here and let us know by DM or by e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) if we're missing someone from XC or T&F.
No more indoor track meets for this year but that doesn't mean the great content will end. As we head into the outdoor season, we asked Patrick Grosserode at Trackville to give us a preview of field events and hurdles. Over 150 high school athletes trained at Trackville this winter, so Patrick is a great resource for us. In addition to Patrick's insights, the Nerd team will be providing Nebraska's best coverage of distance running - articles, photos and videos. So... if you're looking for more news about Nebraska high school T&F, bookmark our website or follow PrepRunningNerd on social media.
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Originally written for and posted at www.preprunningnerd.com by Jay Slagle.