Contributors: Nerd Junior and Nerd the Third
We're here for another week of the Nerdsletter. You may have noticed that the Nerd is not listed as a contributor this week. You read that right; the Nerd is out of town, so it's time for a special edition of the Nerdsletter featuring Junior/the Third.
Another week, another record-breaking race?
We had a lot of fun watching Gabe attempt to break Milo Greder's state record in the 1600. For those who missed it, Gabe took a crack at Milo's 4:09.84 record which was set at the State meet in 2017, just missing the mark by a half-second with a 4:10.35. It was an extremely exciting race, and you can watch the whole race on our YouTube channel here:
For the first time on Thursday, we live-streamed the race on our Instagram (@preprunningnerd). Despite some technical difficulties, we had 309 people viewing from home, which we thought was pretty cool. After receiving some positive feedback, we've decided to keep streaming races that we think may be exciting. The 1600 at the Harold Scott Invitational will likely qualify as such for both the girls and boys (Westside/Elkhorn South/Fremont/Lincoln/East/North Star/plus more?). Maybe we'll see another state record attempt. Watch for an update if you'd like to watch along with us. Maybe this time our live stream will have working audio.
The golden age of distance running?
It's no secret that this season has been an outstanding year for Girls distance events. Three girls (Sievers, Miner, and Dahl) have already dipped under the 5-minute barrier in the 1600, another has posted a 2:16-5:09-11:02 resume (Brinn), and many others have already run faster than 5:20. Just how special is this? We looked at the records and past years to put everything into context.
Today is only April 20th, yet we've already seen three Top-15 times in the 1600. If we exclude Sievers' 4:57.86 indoor 1600 from Nationals, then Sievers, Miner, and Dahl sit 8th, 10th, and 13th all-time in the event respectively. 2003 is the only other year that placed three girls in the Top-15 of the 1600, but the three girls weren't in the same class (Lange-Pius, Ensrud-Gering, Snow-Millard West).
A particularly interesting way to frame what's been happening so far this spring is to look at the results from the 2021 State 1600. Dahl got the win in an impressive 5:00.6, taking down seniors Hannah Godwin and Kaylie Crews. Unsurprisingly, the Sievers/Miner/Dahl trio have all posted marks faster than Dahl's own 2021 winning time, but looking at the full Top 10 really puts things into perspective.
With over one month to go before the State meet, the current Top 10 based on season bests is nearly identical to the results at State last year. After another month of training and the electric atmosphere that makes Burke's stadium so special, it's not unreasonable to predict that as many as 10 girls will better the 4th-place mark from 2021.
(And it likely won't end there, because only three of these girls are seniors.)
We love volunteers
We've been fortunate to meet hundreds of athletes in our time covering track and cross country, but we've also had the honor of getting to know the volunteers that make this all happen. Without judges and officials to keep things running smoothly, the sport we all love so dearly wouldn't be possible. You may recognize Vern, who has become a popular figure in the track community. Over 90% of the adults running track meets are volunteers, and guys like Vern spend most of their pay on blanks and equipment. We ask all athletes and parents to make a point to thank these folks - and your coaches, for that matter - for the long days they spend at the track so you can do what you love.
High Jump on the rise?
Last week's Nerdsletter touched on the weather's negative effect on jumps and distance events. While this week was no tropical vacation, we saw some stellar performances, especially in the high jump. 7 out of the top 15 overall boy's high jumps marks are from this past week (4 out of 15 on the girl's side). Most notable was Carter Nelson's Class C state record jump of 7-00, not to mention Landon Olson, Andrew Otto, and Breck Samuelson all going 6-06 or higher. On the girls' side, Kailynn Gubbels of Arlington (5-07) and Alyssa Peoples of Burke (5-06.25) both went over the previous state best. For reference, the best marks at the 2021 State meet were 6-08 and 5-08. If this keeps up, we could see some fireworks in May.
Performances like these seem to raise the bar (too much?) for other athletes to reach new marks, even in other events. Miner, Rinn, Sievers, and Dahl have all pushed each other to create a fascinating year of girls distance running, Jaylen Lloyd and Reece Grosserode have battled in the horizontal jumps, and throws marks from Cappos, Baldwin, and Stieb have stood out. While some may see tough competition as a deterrent, this year's athletes have simply risen to the occasion and we are loving it. High school athletes have an endless amount of motivation and passion for the sport. We see it every week at meets across the state, and it is glaringly obvious in the results. Bravo, everyone.
We caught this moment of Tyler Wilson's younger brother watching him compete at the Fremont invite this past Friday, and it got us thinking. Nerd Junior and Nerd the Third grew up competing, feeding off of each other's drive, as I am sure Nerd Senior could attest to. Nothing can spark a fire more than wanting to beat a family member, and this often expands into high school sports. We have seen numerous examples of this all season.
· Jozy and Elly Piper, throwers from Pierce
· Elli and Maris Dahl, distance runners at Fremont
· Koa and Kade McIntyre, sprinters at Archbishop Bergan
· Kenyan Cotton (brother of collegiate standouts Kenzo and KJ Cotton), Papio sprinter
· Paytyn and Addisyn Taake, Battle Creek jumpers
Whether this is due to genetic similarities or a competitive nature among siblings, it is fun to watch families succeed together. When it comes to track, though, no bonding can overcome the competitive spirit.
Trackfest + the Future
Tuesday, April 19 was the annual Track Festival meet, hosted at Papio-La Vista South. Barring the state meet, this is one of the only times all year that Classes A-D all compete at the same venue, which provides for some great competition. There were over 400 entries, including multiple state leaders. A livestream, t-shirts, medals and plaques; this meet has it all and has an amazing environment. As to be expected, some great marks were thrown down yesterday:
Jaida Rowe (LSW) 14.42 100 hurdles
Lovely Hibbert (Seward) 140-05 Discus
Adrianna Rodencal (Lincoln Lutheran) 45.14 300 hurdles
Isaiah Zelasney (Osceola) 50.75 400
Ben Alberts (GICC) 1:58.75 800
Paul Lampert (Creighton Prep) 15-00 Pole vault
While the meet is well-run and accomplishes its goal of bringing athletes from all classes together, it leaves the hard-core track fan yearning for more. At a quick glance, Trackfest probably brings in two or three of the top 15 athletes in each event, which is impressive because the meet is still in its early years. But imagine if closer to 7 or 8 of the best athletes in each event made the trip to Papio South to battle it out in the best meet outside of Burke? This is the goal that meet organizers are certainly working for, but is it even possible?
The first obstacle here is scheduling. Many coaches are hesitant to make changes to their yearly meet schedule, and the low acceptance rate at Trackfest would require coaches to either double up on meets or have the rest of their team take a week off from competing. The week that Trackfest is held is a
particularly busy one, with an oft-loaded Harold Scott Invitational and the Kansas Relays (in a normal year) competing for entries.
If every school in the State could circle this week on their calendar for the Trackfest, then we could all have an exceptional meet to look forward to. However, logistical challenges and teams' resistance to change makes having a fully-loaded Trackfest seem to be a goal better suited for the distant future. We love what Trackfest brings to the table, and we all have our fingers crossed that it can continue to build momentum.
Are you tired of the photos yet?
The Nerd team was able to shoot and post photos for the Elkhorn, Central, and Fremont meets last week (with a bonus meet at Drake). Our photos are posted on our Facebook account at www.facebook.com/preprunningnerd or you can just go to our website at https://www.preprunningnerd.com/pictures and find links to all of the meets we've attended in the last two years. Our total count is up to 23 high school and collegiate meets since January and we've still got five weeks to go.
Dajaz Defrand, 12.11 (100), 24.76 (200) Lincoln High
Taylor Bredthauer, 12.12 (100), 25.30 (200) Norris
Morgan Mahoney, 12.26 (100), 25.70 (200) Beatrice
Kate Campos, 14.55 (100h), 44.66 (300h) Lincoln Pius X
Kailynn Gubbels, 14.87 (100h), 5-07 (HJ) Arlington
Kayla Svoboda, 15.20 (100h) Wisner-Pilger
Addison Webster, 15.36 (100h) Gretna
Emily Penne, 25.71 (200) South Sioux City
Sydney Stodden, 57.65 (400) Elkhorn North
Reba Mader, 58.22 (400) Northwest
Brianna Rinn, 2:16.43 (800), 11:02.71 (3200) LSW
Keelianne Green, 2:19.17 (800), 37-00.75 (TJ) Arlington
Jaci Sievers, 4:56.95 (1600) Elkhorn South
Lilee Kaasch, 18-03.75 (LJ), 36-11 (TJ) Millard South Alyssa Peoples, 5-06.25 (HJ) Burke
Sage Burbach, 43-04.75 (Shotput) Norris
Jessica Stieb, 144-02.25 (Discus) Arcadia-Loup City
Shayla Meyer, 142-04 (Discus) Superior
Koa McIntyre, 10.6 (100) Archbishop Bergan
Ethan Baessler, 10.69 (100) Blair
Micah Moore, 10.82 (100) Fremont
Noah Smith, 14.77 (110h) Gretna
Hogan Wingrove, 14.89 (110h), 40.40 (300h) Waverly
Josh Jessen, 22.03 (200) Yutan
Caden Denker, 22.10 (200) David City
Beau Ruskamp, 39.10 (300h) Wisner-Pilger
JP Mattern, 40.77 (300h) Lincoln Pius X
Connor Wells, 50.03 (400) St. Paul
Alex Leuenberger, 50.16 (400) Waverly
Exra Stewart, 50.21 (400) Platteview
Cole Murray, 1:56.77 (800) Waverly
Gabe Hinrichs, 4:10.35 (1600) Elkhorn South
Landon Olson, 23-01.25 (LJ), 6-08 (HJ) Battle Creek
Jaylen Lloyd, 48-06 (TJ) Central
Carter Nelson, 7-00 (HJ) Ainsworth
Andrew Otto, 6-06 (HJ) Raymond Central
Breck Samuelson, 6-06 (HJ) Adams Central
Branson McDonald, 15-00 (Pole vault) McCook
Drew Sellon, 14-09 (Pole vault) Fremont
Sam Cappos, 61-05 (Shotput) LE
Carson Lavaley, 182-04 (Discus) Wahoo
We continue to add to our commitment list https://www.preprunningnerd.com/post/class-of-2022-commitment-list. If you or your favorite athlete isn't on the list, shoot us a DM or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with the info.
That's all from the B-Team
If you liked the Nerd Junior/Third edition of this week's Nerdsletter, we take full credit. If not, it was our dad's fault for entrusting us with this task. We always love to know what's on your mind, so shoot us a DM on Twitter or Facebook, or e-mail us at email@example.com.
Originally written for and posted at www.preprunningnerd.com by Jay Slagle. Did you love reading about Nebraska high school running? Visit www.preprunningnerd.com for rankings, results, photos, long-form articles, frequent updates on our blog page, and a bunch of other cool stuff that only running nerds would think to do. If you want to see meet photos or just need to kill a few hours on social media, follow @PrepRunningNerd on Twitter and Instagram, or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/preprunningnerd.