Contributor: The Nerd
Despite twenty hours of Nerding this weekend, we entered Monday behind the eight ball, and a two-day Metro meet on Tuesday and Wednesday has added to the mayhem. Consequently, this is a quick and dirty Nerdsletter to get you through the final week before Districts.
The saying goes, "Records are meant to be broken," and that's especially true in late April in Nebraska when the wind dies down and competition heats up. In March our friend Patrick Grosserode of Trackville predicted as many as ten All-Class State records this year. While that large number may not come to fruition, we've already seen two (or is it three?) All-Class and four Class-specific State records this season, including four that fell from Thursday through Saturday last week.
Karsyn Leeling of Sidney scored the first record on April 1, tying the Class B high jump mark with a 5-10 leap.
Jack Gillogly, the Class A defending champ in the 200, set the first All-Class record of the year with his 20.92 (1.8 wind reading) at Kearney on April 6 to break Kenzo Cotton's mark of 21.31 from 2012. I don't see a wind reading for Gillogly's 10.52 100 last Thursday at Benson (one of our relatively calm days this spring), but he's getting awfully close to Kenzo Cotton's other record of 10.41 from 2013.
Kate Campos of Lincoln Pius X has been nibbling at the edges of the All-Class hurdles records for the past two seasons. She nabbed the 300H mark last Thursday at Benson, running 42.80 to break the previous record of 43.04 set by Kianna Elahi of Millard North in 2007. This wasn't a big surprise, and Pius has been traveling with an anenometer (see our lengthy discussion on wind speed in the April 11 Nerdsletter) all season in case she popped off in the 100H. Kate broke her own 300H record yesterday at the HAC meet, running 42.39. Kate's remaining target is the 13.87 100H mark set by LaQue Moen-Davis of Omaha North in 2011; Kate ran a 13.70 (wind 4.0 m/s, above the allowed 2.0) at HAC, a wind-aided 14.15 at Benson last week and a 13.93 (3.4 m/s) on April 13.
Carson Noecker of Hartington Cedar Catholic (SDSU commit) notched the most elusive goal of his high school career, breaking the Class C 1600 record of 4:18.6 set by Larry Kassebaum of Hebron in 1967. His time of 4:17.80 was set on Thursday at the NEN Classic in Norfolk. Two days later he ran a 9.12.39 3200 at the same track during the Mid-States Conference meet, just missing his own Class C record of 9:11.70 set at the same meet last year. Assuming decent weather, look for Carson to take solid shots at both marks before his storied high school career ends in three weeks.
Kade Pieper (Iowa football commit) of Norfolk Catholic launched a shot put of 63-03.5 at the Mid-States Conference meet on Saturday, breaking the Class C mark of 62-10 set by Cassidy Kramer of West Holt in 2003. Kade has thrown over 61-00 during at least three meets this year, making him one of the most consistent throwers in the State.
The sun rises in the east, sets in the West, and Waverly's 4x400 team is almost always good. The squad of Braxton Smith (open 400 season best of 49.60), Daniel Kasparek (50.05), Drew Moser (51.51) and AJ Heffelfinger (51.77) established a new Class B standard last Thursday at Crete with a 3:18.79, smashing the previous record of 3:21.7 set by Aurora in 1980. While Waverly is two seconds (a lifetime in the 4x400) away from Millard West's All-Class mark of 3:16:48 set in 2013, the State meet is electric and Waverly may be looking for redemption after dropping the baton in 2022 while they were in the lead. Do they have a chance at the All-Class record? Of course they do. One of their runners has a mustache, and mustaches are made for magic.
So why did Patrick Grosserode have so much optimism about 2023? Here's a partial list of Class or All-Class records that are still under threat this year:
* The Class B 400 record of 56.29 by Molly Sughroue of McCook could be challenged by four sub-58:00 girls: Last Thursday at Crete Alonna Depalma (Waverly) ran 57.19, sprinter Taylor Bredthauer (Norris) ran 57.34, and mid-distance Ellie Thomas (Norris) ran 57.87. Defending champ Sydney Stodden (Elkhorn North) ran 57.57 in Blair the same day. Alonna dropped a 57.84 yesterday at the EMC meet despite high winds.
* All three All-Class girls distance marks are within range of this year's girls. Stella Miner's 2:10.16 800 record from last year could be challenged by Berlyn Schutz (2:13.66 at LPS last Wednesday), Jaci Sievers (Elkhorn) or Claire White (Westside). The 1600 mark of 4:49.2 by Elizabeth Lange in 2003 is within range of Sievers (lifetime converted best of 4:49.35) and Schutz (4:51.73 last week). White broke 5:00 last week with a 4:58.49, and knocking down that invisible barrier may allow White to make big strides over the last three weeks. In the 3200, Sievers ran a 10:23.39 at a stacked Tennessee meet on April 8, just off the 10:23.00 Class A mark held by pro runner Emily Sisson (Millard North, 2008) and the All-Class record of 10:19.0 held by Karlene Erickson (Wheeler Central, 1982). While Schutz and White both ran under 11:00 this week, Sievers is probably the only serious threat this year for the 3200 records.
* In the girls' long jump, LaQue Moen-Davis of Omaha North has the All-Class mark of 20-02.75 from 2010, Tierra Williams of Auburn has the Class B mark at 19-06.50 and Bethany DeLong of LCC has the Class C record of 19-01.50 from 2009. Look for Amari Lang (Millard South) and Lademi Davies (Westside) to make the biggest push at the All-Class mark. Laing had a wind-aided (3.1 m/s) 20-02.25 at Metros yesterday, just after Davies jumped 19-10.5 (3.8 m/s). Taylor Bredhauer has a season best of 19-02.50 (and 19-04 this winter) and could grab the Class B mark, while Ella Gardner's PR of 19-02.00 from the SNC meet on Saturday would be the Class C state record if a wind-legal measurement had been taken. Ella's lifetime best is 19-06.75 at Districts last year - but again, the lack of a wind reading ruled it out as a State record.
* Karsyn Leeling of Sidney already has a share of the Class B record of 5-10, and the All-Class record of 5-11 (Meredy Porter, Bellevue West, 1987) is within reach. During the pre-season, our best bet for this mark was EJ Brown (Elkhorn South), who has cleared 5-08 this spring and 5-09 over the winter. If I remember correctly, Brown had at least one good attempt at 5-11 at Harold Scott after clinching the meet title at 5-07.
* Alyssa Onnen, a freshman at Kearney Catholic, and Kaylee Pribyl of Meridian have solid chances to set new Class C and D marks, respectively. The Class C mark of 12-09 was set by Josie Puelz of Lincoln Lutheran in 2019 before she went onto become a NAIA national champ at Concordia. Onnen has only been vaulting for a year and wouldn't be out for track if not for a summer 2022 concussion that required her to step away from gymnastics for six months. Six months is a lifetime of training when you're a high school gymnast, so Alyssa retired from that sport and took up T&F this spring. She vaulted 12-00 at Columbus on Saturday in not-great conditions, with winds gusting out of the NNW at up to 30 mph while she was jumping due south. Catherine Mick (BDS, 2015) holds the Class D mark of 12-03, but Pribyl cleared 12-00 on April 18 at Friend.
* It's surprisingly hard to be consistent in the discus, so it's also hard to predict State records. Madison Smith of Gothenburg threw a State-leading 155-05 on Saturday, which puts her in striking distance of the Class B record of 165-00 set by Emily Duran of Nebraska City in 2000.
* In the relays, Bennington (48.93) is getting close to the Class B 4-x100 mark of 48.12 set by Northwest in 2022. If all of Kearney Catholic's studs are healthy, they should make a run at the 49.1 class C mark set by Hastings St. Cecilia in 1975. The Stars have a season best of 49.77, and several members of their team have been running together for three years. Waverly has run a 4:01.48 4x400 this season and has an outside chance at breaking the Class B mark of 3:58.41 set by Ord in 2015. The Lincoln East 4x800 team is deep and ran 9:21.63 at Harold Scott this year, but it's unclear if they'll make a serious run at their own All-Class record of 9:12.70 from 2018 when Berlyn Schutz may be running the 3200 a few hours later at State. Knowing Lincoln East's team-first culture, we suspect Schutz will opt for the relay in lieu of or in addition to the 3200. In Class B, Norris' 9:39 at the EMC meet yesterday puts them close to the 9:29 record set by Seward in 2011.
There are just as many record threats on the boys side.
* We've seen a remarkable number of sub-10.65 marks this season but to our knowledge none of them have been wind-legal. Of the top marks, Dillon Miller of Brady seems to have the best chance at a Class record, with his wind-aided 10.61 significantly better than the Class D mark of 10.85. Of course, there's no guarantee we'll see another wind-legal day this season. In the 200, Jack Gillogly of Prep seems to have the best chance of topping his own record while Ryker Evans (wind-aided 22.01) of Hi-Line could have a shot at the Class D record of 22.20.
* Tyler Carroll (14.15 in 110H) of Central City and Jackson Roberts (Boone Central, 14.32) have had great seasons and could threaten the Class B mark of 14.02. while Easton Fries of Chase County has run 14.46 and could challenge the Class C mark of 14.37.
* Four seconds is a big gap in the 1600, but Jack Witte (4:13.44) can at least visualize Milo Greder's All-Class record of 4:09.84. If Witte, Juan Gonzalez (Fremont), Isaac Ochoa (Norfolk) and a few other boys go hard at State, a record is possible. Noecker may break his newly-minted Class C record again, and this season or next Riley Boonstra of Norris could challenge the Class B mark of 4:16.62 set by my fellow church member Steve Doran in 1981.
* In the 3200, Noecker seems likely to break his record of 9:11.70. He missed it by a second last Saturday in Norfolk. I was in nearby Columbus at the same time, and the winds were likely 15-25 mph during Carson's 9:12.39. I don't think Seth Hirsch's All-Class record of 8:54.12 is in danger but I'd love to see Gonzalez or Noecker take a stab at it.
*Carson Staehr of Aurora has jumped 23-03 (no wind measurement) and could threaten the Class B mark of 23-08.25 set by Tyler Wullenwaber of Centennial in 2009.
* Jaylen Lloyd of Westside has had a storied high school career and is the defending triple jump champ, but Reece Grosserode has the Class B record because his runner-up finish at State 2022 was wind-legal while Jaylen's title-winning jump was not. Lloyd had a minor injury over the winter and has been competing sparingly this spring as he rehabs, but warm weather should give him a more-than-likely chance at breaking Grosserode's record of 49-00.50 and a good shot at the All-Class record of 50-02.25. Jaylen jumped 48-08 at Metros on Tuesday.
* Owen Kaps of Bertrand has the best chance - perhaps a distant chance - of breaking the Class D record in the pole vault. He has a PR of 14-04 from 2021 and has jumped 14-00 in both 2022 and 2023, so good conditions could put Brandon Benson's mark of 15-04.75 within reach. It seems like we've been hearing about Owen since, I don't know, 2017, so we want him to get this mark.
* Larry Station's Class A shot put mark of 64-09.50 - or at least his State meet mark of 62-11.50 - is within reach for Sam Cappos (Lincoln East, 64.00.50 on April 26) and Caiden Fredrick (Papio South, 62-10.75).
* Wind direction and speed play an important part in discus results, and the right conditions could lead to a State record this spring. In Class A, three boys have exceed 190-00 and are within spitting distance of Larry Station's Class A mark of 202-01. J'dyn Bullion (Bellevue West, 200-06), Caiden Fredrick (193-06.50) and Sam Cappos (192-03) are the favorites to challenge the mark. The Class C mark of 196-11 seems within reach of both Nathan Baldwin (Sutton, 190-05) and Trent Uhlir (Battle Creek, 188-02) after their huge throws last week.
* In the relays, we foresee Creighton Prep (41.78) and Bellevue West (42.17) making a run at the All-Class mark of 41.40 held by Papio LaVista from 2013. Creighton Prep could challenge Waverly for the 2023 All-Class title in the 4x400 after Prep dropped a 3:20.20, but both Waverly and Prep will have to improve significantly to get Millard West's All-Class mark of 3:16.48.
We continue to update our leaderboard for Top 15 All-Class and by-Class performances at https://www.preprunningnerd.com/rankings. Nerd the Third has entered all the marks he could find through Saturday night, and this week's results on athletic.net will populate if the meet results are 'Official' per the website.
We don't have time to break down all of the great performances last week, but a few do come to mind:
* Alyssa Onnen of Kearney Catholic won the TJ (36-04), LJ (17-01.25) and vault (12-00) at the Centennial Conference meet on Saturday, and was also a member of the winning 4x100 team. She's a freshman, she started vaulting midway through her eighth-grade season, and she's on the verge of breaking the Class C pole vault record. Yeah, she's kind of good.
* Coy Wardyn of Broken Bow vaulted 15-00 last Saturday, putting him three inches from the State lead.
* Tyler Carroll (Central City) and Jackson Roberts (Boone Central) both ran sub-39 300H last week.
* Asher Jenkins (Bellevue West) took over the State lead in the 400 with a 49.36. He didn't face off against previous leader Jack Gillogly at Metros, but look for that match up at State.
* Reed Emsick of Omaha Burke broke his school's 800 record with a 1:53.96 at Gretna. Jack Witte broke Seth Hirsch's 1600 record at Millard West with his 4:13.44 on Thursday at Gretna. Juan Gonzalez took over the State 3200 lead after he ran 9:11 at Benson on Thursday. Did we mention that the weather was great on Thursday?
* Story Rasby of Sutherland dropped a 2:18.22 yesterday. Look for the Class C 800 at State to be another crazy race with Jordyn Arens (Crofton), Bryn McNair (Chase County) and defending champ Laney Kathol (Cedar Catholic) expected to be there. Jordyn ran a season-best 5:20 1600 at the Drake Relays to fall into 2nd in Class C behind Lilly Kenning of Milford.
* Lucas Helms of LSW jumped 6-08.25 at the LPS City meet on Wednesday to slide into second on the leaderboard behind Dae'vonn Hall of Bellevue West.
We compile a list of all the high school meets we can find, and then we work our tails off to find results for those meets. Our meet list can be found at https://www.preprunningnerd.com/trackresults.
We take a bunch of photos. We post them on Facebook and we have a link on our website at https://www.preprunningnerd.com/2022 that tells you where we've been and how to find the albums. Why do we do it? Because we love track and field. That's the whole story.
Here are some great photos from our volunteer Nerds over the past week:
Junior High State track meet
The Nebraska Championship Meet was created in 2005 to host the best 7th and 8th graders in Nebraska. This year's meet will be held on May 13 in Gothenburg, and the 24 best marks in each event (16 top marks in relays) will be accepted for entry. Marks must be entered online in a very specific way by May 5; see https://nebraskachampionshipmeet.com/ for more info.
Nerd Junior competed in this meet as a 8th grader, and he was one of the few kids from the Omaha metro area. The organizers expect up to 3,000 fans this year, and it's staffed by USATF-certified officials who routinely work collegiate meets. If you want to see how good the competition is, check out last year's results at https://www.athletic.net/TrackAndField/meet/462227/results/all.
We said a few months ago that we weren't going to order any more Nerd gear until we sold the rest of our hats and white t-shirts. However, our Nerd team grew so much this spring that we needed to order gear for them. We have replenished our supply of Nerd sweatshirts and black t-shirts, and we still have the white t-shirts (long-sleeve or short) and Nerd hats. If you purchase an item at https://www.preprunningnerd.com/shop, that is a small step towards converting Fashion Nerd's room from a supply closet back into a bedroom.
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 can find, and the Rankings tab for top-15 performances in each event. 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.