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10/18/23 Nerdsletter

Contributor: The Nerd and Nerd the Third


It's go time

The State meet. You've worked hard for this opportunity all season and perhaps for your entire running career. Unfortunately, big moments can bring on big doubts, which is absolutely the last thing you need this week. Our wish is that every athlete runs to his or her full potential on Friday, and it's one of the reasons we wrote the article Leave No Room for Fear or Doubt two years ago. Coaches and athletes have told us that the article was the perfect antidote to a stress-filled week. If you haven't read it, click on the link above.


Running is joy expressed through motion. Be joyful. Leave no room in your heart for fear or doubt.


Find your love

We pride ourselves on the quality of our writing but we were upstaged by a high school junior this weekend. Garret Severance, a junior at Ord High School, e-mailed us on Saturday morning to share a reflection he had written after failing to place in the top 15 at Districts. He had high hopes for this season after qualifying for State as a sophomore. The words he wrote reflect his love for a sport that brought him so much disappointment last week. If you haven't read it, I encourage you to click here. It's one of the most-viewed articles we've posted this season.


This video thing

Admittedly we're novices at this whole video thing but I think our Nerd video team - Christian Naujokaitis, Jaden Gebeke and drone-expert Rick Campos - has been absolutely killing it the last two months. Since the last Nerdsletter we've uploaded two more videos:



Since late August our team has created 15 videos of races at Class of Metro, the high school Platte River Rumble, Greeno/Dirksen, UNK and the junior high State meet. If you've missed a few of them, you can see them all at our YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/@preprunningnerd3545/videos?view=0&sort=dd&shelf_id=0.


Nebraska Public Television broadcast the finals of the State softball tournament on Monday. The in-person crowds at UNO looked great and it's fanstastic to have six teams showcased on live television over six or seven hours. You know what would also be neat? To see a video production of the State cross country meet where dozens of top teams compete in just under five hours.


In contrast to some Twitterheads who simply like to complain about things, we do our best to propose solutions to the vexing problems of high school cross country. We're not looking for an ESPN-level national championship broadcast, but how about something like this:


· Don’t attempt a live broadcast. Without a satellite truck and a full-blown production team, both of which are incredibly expensive, it is difficult to broadcast eight races held on a large golf course. Throw in unpredictable weather and connectivity could be a mess.


· In lieu of a live broadcast, have a team of videographers capture all of the footage that day that makes the State meet so special. What kind of footage? How about shots from drones on each side of the course (start/1600 and 2600-3200), from the lead cart, from several cameras at fixed sites to capture more than just the leaders, and cameras at the starting line and finish line?


· Let’s put microphones on a few coaches while pre-race huddles are filmed. Let’s have cameras focused on the nutso crowds near the starting line, mile mark and finish. Make sure there’s a camera beyond the finish line, capturing images of celebrations, exhaustion and respect among competitors. While you could just show the race from start to finish, that won't capture the environment.


· Interview of a few of the top finishers.


· Once the meet is over, hand off the footage to a film editor who has a true passion for running.


· Consider adding race commentary as part of the editing process so casual fans get a better feel for the background of the leaders.


· Post the finished product on the Internet and don't put it behind a paywall.


Sound ambitious? Definitely. Would it be expensive? Maybe if you engage a media company, but if you collected a group of student journalists, diehard running fans and a running-crazy film editor... then I'm guessing the running community could easily cover whatever the production costs were.


I've been told that things like this don't happen unless coaches and athletic directors bring forward a proposal to the NSAA. You want cross country to be treated like basketball, football, wrestling and softball? Do something about it.


Speaking of videos...

Christian Naujokaitis will be dropping a 'One More Day' hype video on Thursday, first on his Instagram account (cnauj.prod) and then on our Twitter and Facebook accounts. Prepare to be pumped.


Rankings

We issued our final set of individual rankings on Tuesday and the coaches have issued their pre-State team rankings. Preparing the rankings is probably the hardest thing we do because we take it seriously. We collect and review every race result and try to reflect that data in our weekly rankings. Hopefully that attention to detail allows us to quickly identify athletes like Class D #3 Delanie Runnels, a freshman at Niobrara-Valley who (by our count) is undefeated this fall. Of course, the rankings are meaningless once the athletes toe the starting line on Friday.


The rankings bring attention to our great sport but can also bring pressure. Tennis great Billie Jean King once said that 'pressure is a privilege,' and sooner or later adults have to get comfortable having expectations placed upon them in their roles as employees, partners and parents. However, if you don't like the pressure of being ranked, just tell yourself this: "The rankings are created by a bunch of stupid nerds who don't know anything about running. Rankings mean nothing."


Results

The NSAA website has a nice summary all the State qualifiers if you click on the 'Districts' section at https://nsaahome.org/cross-country/. If you want to see the complete results for all 19 District meets, go to our results page at https://www.preprunningnerd.com/xcresults.


Parents supporting athletes

A few weeks ago our Nerdsletter included tips for former XC parents about the lessons they wanted to share with new XC parents. This weekend we received an e-mail from Kate Langford, a senior at Bennington who has competed in high school XC, softball and volleyball, but is best known as an accomplished sprinter and hurdler. She shared her perspective as an athlete who plans to compete in college:


"The greatest gift my parents have given me when it comes to track is that they don't care about it. Some people get confused about that statement so I want to be clear, they care about ME, and they love track, but only because I love track. My parents are passionate about supporting me but they aren't passionate about track. My mom routinely forgets my PRs but she always cheers for me no matter what and always celebrates with me when I'm excited. They give me a different perspective when I don't feel good about a race - they think I should simply be happy getting to do a thing I love regardless of my result.


My parents have allowed track to be something that is completely my own, and that is a gift in itself. I have been able to develop my own passion for, interest in and drive in the sport. I never have to worry about my parents being angry if I run a bad race, and I never have to worry that track results are how they define my worth. If I told them tomorrow that track was making me miserable and I wanted to quit, I know they would would support me. I wish that for every athlete."


A parent gave a similar message two weeks ago: your child has to want it more than you do. Thanks for sharing, Kate.


Sign of the times

It's hard to beat a little girl holding a sign, "Trample the weak, hurdle the dead," but we have high hopes for the fans who will attend this year's State meet. Creative and supportive signs are aplenty in Kearney, and we'll do our best to take photos of as many signs as we can find. We're still firming up which Nerds will be at the State meet, but rest assured we'll all be looking for the next big thing in signs. If your poster has a shout out to the Nerd team, all the better.


There has to be a number

About ten years ago I was at an event and met a collegiate crew coach who had an outdoor practice scheduled for the following morning. It was February and I was surprised that he would be have his team rowing in freezing temps. I asked him, "How cold does it have to be before you move indoors?" He responded that if the 4:00 a.m. wind chill was below 20 degrees, they would retreat to rowing machines. "What's so special about 20 degrees? Is that based on research?" He shook his head. "No research. There has to be a number, and my number is 20. Anything below that and I can't feel my hands while I wait for them to get done."


There has to be a number for State qualifiers, and the current numbers are three teams and fifteen individuals from each District. Class A teams can run up to seven athletes at Districts, and two strong teams in one District often means that the qualifying teams take up most of the 15 individual spots. For example, in boys A-2 and A-4, there were only two qualifiers outside the top three teams. Class B only allows six runners so the results were slightly better; on the girls side, three Districts had four qualifiers outside the top three teams while B-3 only had three such qualifiers. Class C had more 'at-large' qualifiers (C-3 had 8), presumably due to having less depth than Class B among six-deep squads, while Class D should have less of an issue since each team is limited to five athletes.


In 2022 the Class A races had just under 100 finishers while the Class B races had less than 90 finishers. The State race sizes are relatively modest compared to other high-profile meets; for example, the UNK Class C boys race had 339 finishers.


There has to be a number for state qualifiers, but is there a reason that the field size has to be so restricted? What if the qualifying rule was the top three teams and top fifteen individuals, BUT if the the total number of top-15 individuals from non-qualifying teams was less than ten, we'd keep adding athletes until we got to ten? What kind of impact would that have on struggling teams attempting to build a program?


Be the first

We don't know the history of most XC programs so we have to rely on follower feedback for help. The Lincoln Northwest girls qualified for the State meet last week, and they represent the first LNW team to qualify for State in any sport. Our friend Tony Chapman at Flatwater Sports wrote an article about them that you can read here.


Coach Dave Licari of Columbus Lakeview let us know that the Lakeview girls, who finished 2nd at Districts behind #1 Scotus, are the first Lakeview girls XC team to qualify since the program was started in 1980. That's a big freakin' deal.


Since we're digging up our old stories, Be the First is something we wrote a few years ago. Click on the title if you want to read that short article.


Lead at your peril

The weather always seems to be a factor at State meets, and Friday's forecasted high temps may have some teams adjusting their race strategies. While there's always exceptions to every rule, the Kearney course can be punishing to runners who go out too quickly. In the past few years clear favorites like Carson Noecker and Keeli Green have had significant leads by 1600 meters, but letting someone else push the pace in the lead pack is often the best strategy in race filled with equally-talented competitors - especially on a hot day. Talk to your coach and go into the race with a strategy, and then don't let your adrenaline put you 50 meters ahead of the field by the bottom of the first hill.


State preview

We admit it. We're freaking tired. We started posting season previews two months ago and it's been non-stop action since then. In years past we've written huge State previews, but this year you just get a baby one. Nerd the Third previewed the Class A races while Nerd Senior tackled B through D.


Class A boys

Returning champion Juan Gonzalez of Fremont has quietly had one of the most impressive seasons in Nebraska history. He started off with a win at the Augustana Twilight meet, one of the biggest early-season meets in the region. He then ran 15:04 to win the Heartland Classic at Pella, another competitive regional meet, before winning UNK in 15:38. Despite this, we probably haven't seen his best yet: Juan typically peaks at State (he won in 15:36 last year). It is one thing to get it right on one day, but Juan hasn’t yet to get it wrong this fall. He will enter as the favorite.


If there is one thing that #2 ranked Denny Chapman (Creighton Prep) and #3 ranked Jack Witte (Millard West) have over Juan Gonzalez, it is foot speed. Denny is a 1:54 800 guy and Jack is 1:53. The kick will only come into play if those guys can hang with Juan until the last stretch, but both guys have the credentials to do so. Witte won the Platte River Rumble in 15:04 earlier in the season. Chapman has been running very well as of late, placing 2nd at the Rim Rock Classic and winning Metros. Add in #4 Isaac Ochoa (Norfolk) and #5 Max Myers (LSW), and it could be anyone’s game. Ochoa seems to be able to run 15:45 any day of the week and Myers was only two seconds back from Gonzalez at State last year. If anything, Ochoa and Myers may be underrated heading into Friday. Juan Gonzalez must be the favorite, but a great day could lift any of these five to the win.


Outside of the top-5 ranked runners, there are plenty who may be in the lead pack at 3000 meters and could make a splash. Fremont's Wes Pleskac (#6) arguably had his breakout race last year when he placed 6th, but it wouldn’t be a surprise this time. Millard South's Dalton Heller (#7) and Millard West's Porter Bickley (#8) have been at the front of most races. #9 Easton Zastrow of LNS has improved steadily, winning his district meet.


In the team competition, Creighton Prep looks to capture a title for the first time since 2014. All seven boys are seniors. Dennis Chapman leads the team but #10 Eli Jones and #12 Jacob Finney are also ranked, followed by Aidan McGarry, Andrew Sauer, Michael Sauer and Owen Jensen. Though most of the boys were not stars in their first few years, they have made incremental improvements each year and the timing might just be perfect for Prep this year. They enter as the slight favorites according to the coaches' poll but Fremont lurks in the shadows. Fans of various schools can remember vividly those years when their team entered State as favorites only to have Fremont crush their dreams. Fremont has won the last three State titles and will have a solid shot this year. Gonzalez is joined by #6 Wes Pleskac, Noah Miller, Michael Nichols, Jase LaDay, Mason Nau, and Gabe Read. Papio South lacks a true low stick but is lifted by their depth. John Fiedler, Caden Miser, and Xaiver Mallow all could threaten a top 20 position. They are followed by Mason Langabee, Noah Ryan, and Cole Boyer. Were Papio South to falter, look for Lincoln Pius X or Millard West to nab the third spot.


Class A girls

Mia Murray, ranked #1 in the last six Nerd rankings, has been putting on quite the show this fall. She has gone undefeated despite running high profile races at Platte River Rumble, UNK, and HAC against the best competition in the state. She seems to have only gained strength since her dominant season last fall which culminated in a State title. At the State meet last year, she took the lead before the mile mark and was never passed. She enters Friday as the favorite to become a two-time State champion. Westside teammates #2 Claire White and #3 Stella Miner have traded places a handful of times this season. White and Miner joined Murray in sub-18:00 times at the distance-disputed PRR. They have run side-by-side for the past two years, but this Friday may be their last cross-country race together. If anyone has a shot of dethroning Murray, it is one of these two. In fact, excluding out of state competition, White and Miner have only lost to each other and Mia Murray this fall. White and Miner have a habit of starting slow and finishing fast, but they need to match Murray's strategy of going out hard to have a chance at the title.


Kaitlyn Swartz of Papio South is also building quite the resume from this fall. The Nerds have had her ranked fourth the whole season. She followed closely behind the previously mentioned trio at the Platte River Rumble and ran especially well at Districts this past Wednesday. #5 Kate Ebmeier of Millard West has come on strong late in the season, running arguably her best races at Metros and Districts. #6 Peyton Svehla, yet another senior, will be one of the keys to another Lincoln East victory. She has dipped under 19:00 twice this season and will look to nab her fourth state medal. Other runners that could be in the top 5 mix are #7 Abigail Burger (Kearney), #8 Gracie Suppes (Papio LaVista) and #9 Hope Riedel (Lincoln North Star).


In the team race, Lincoln East seems to have done everything this season except carry the State trophy back to their team bus. Mia Murray is a perfect low stick for the team, followed by medal contenders in Peyton Svehla, #12 Sadie Yager, and Ella Herzberg. Kadence Hurley has been getting faster all season and multiple State medalist Jordyn Wissing is always a threat to sneak into the top 20. Millard West came close to Lincoln East at the UNK meet in September. As mentioned earlier, Ebmeier is in contention for a top-5 finish, and #14 Libby Frazier, Olivia KcKlen, Brianna Hernandez, and Katelyn Sanne have all put down quick times this fall. Litzey Fredette particularly seems ready to run well after placing 6th at districts. Omaha Westside could threaten a second-place finish if their 4-5 runners have a great day. White and Miner should both be in the top 5 and sophomore #15 Mia Urosevich will be near the front pack. Eliana Wittmann, Violet Collins, Caitlin Steliga and Lanee Connell were Westside’s 4-7 at the Platte River Rumble.


Class B boys

Riley Boonstra's only loss this season was a split-second runner-up finish to Millard West's Jack Witte at the PRR. The Norris athlete and Nebraska commit's slowest time this season is 16:32 at Blair. His chief competition should be Gretna East's Braden Lofquest, whose only Class B losses have been to Boonstra. The gap between these two has gotten smaller throughout the season, and perhaps only Lofquest (the Class A 800-meter champ last spring) has a kick as strong as Boonstra's. Austin Carrera of Hastings has run exceptionally well the past five weeks and finished 3rd behind these two guys at UNK. We also expect boys from Skutt and Lexington boy to make a run at the top three, but we expect Boonstra and Lofquest to go 1-2.


In the team race, Norris defeated a Tommy-Rice-less Skutt earlier this season, but we fully expect Skutt and Lexington to take the top two spots. While Skutt has been ranked first for much of the season, Lexington's top five seems to have gelled in the last three weeks. Rice, Wade and Haussler need to perform well for Skutt, and their fourth runner needs to be in the top 20. Lexington already has four boys ranked in the top 15, and freshman Isac Portillo-Munoz has been its top finisher in most races. Skutt defeated Lexington at the UNK meet in their only head-to-head match-up BUT Lexington had raced at Rim Rock two days prior. This is a toss-up and I don't expect the winning margin to be more than 15 points.


Class B girls

Kendall Zavala of Norris was ranked #1 for a few weeks after finishing ahead of Kassidy Stuckey at Waverly, but Stuckey regained the top spot after a convincing UNK win. Class B has considerable talent in all four grades but thus far the most consistent performers have been Stuckey, Zavala, Ella Ford of Elkhorn North and Ellie Thomas of Norris. We could see at least one freshman in the top five based on late-season performances by Annah Perdue (York), Leah Robinson (Elkhorn North) and Sophia Reynolds (Hastings). Suffice it to say that earning a medal in this race will be a remarkable feat.


Norris has held the top ranking all season although Elkhorn North edged them at one meet. Unfortunately, Elkhorn North lost their #3 runner, Jenna Polking, to a season-ending injury, and that may give Norris some breathing room. Norris had five girls ranked in the top 15 in our final rankings while Elkhorn has three ranked girls and two watch-list girls. The coaches have York 3rd and Bennington 4th in the post-District poll, and both teams seemed to have their best race of the season at Districts. I'll give the edge to York for third place because they're likely to have two top-10 finishers.


Class C boys

This may be the most competitive boys' race of the day. Gus Lampe of Roncalli is ranked #1 after his UNK win but he'll face a stiff test from #2 AJ Razler (Platteview), #3 Tyler Hetz (Gothenburg freshman), #4 Carter Hohlen (Lincoln Christian) and #5 Luke Woockman (Bloomfield-Wausa sophomore). The first four boys faced off at UNK but Woockman doesn't appear to have raced any of them. Just like at UNK, we expect a lead group of at least four boys at 3000 meters. I'll say it's a toss-up between Lampe and Raszler but I wouldn't be surprised if any of those five boys take the win. Hetz is the wild-card here; freshmen often have so little experience that they naively think can accomplish anything, and on a good day that kind of thinking could be the difference.


Gothenburg has been the top-ranked team all year and for good reason. They're the defending champs and are undefeated among Class C teams this season. The Swedes edged Lincoln Christian by six points at UNK when most of the LC boys arguably ran their best meet of the season. If they repeat the feat on Friday and Gothenburg's top boys are just a little off... well... maybe there's a chance. Mount Michael is ranked 3rd and was surprisingly led by junior Jackson Teetor at Districts. Unless something unusual happens, I don't seem them breaking into the top two... but unusual things happen on hot days. As long as Mount Michael delivers a consistent performance, they should finish third ahead of Milford and Fort Calhoun.


Class C girls

Lindee Henning of Ogallala and Lilly Kenning of Milford have held the #1 and #2 spots all season. UNK appeared to be the only head-to-head match-up we'd see between them before State, but then Henning opted into the Class A race while Kenning ran in Class B. Henning has dipped under 19:00 multiple times this fall while Kenning has routinely finished below 19:30. I think they'll both be clear of the field by the 3200-meter mark, and Henning is our pick to win the gold after three runner-up finishes. The UNK meet provided a preview of the girls ranked behind the 'ennings'. The top 5 in that race were Talissa Tanquary (Sidney), Liston Crotty (Auburn), Lydia Stewart (Platteview), Emilyn Kavan (Scotus) and Emma Cappel (McCook). Freshmen could also be a factor in this race given that we have four of them ranked in the top 15. Beyond Lindee and Lilly, we don't have any clear picks for third; they're all evenly matched and anything can happen at State.


Columbus Scotus is the clear favorite heading into State. They put three girls in the top 10 at UNK when they registered a comfortable win over Auburn, Platteview and Lincoln Christian. Tony Chapman wrote a great article about the Scotus team at this link. I think Auburn may have reduced the gap over the last four weeks as its squad has gotten healthier, but the Bulldogs seem likely to repeat their second-place finish from 2022. They could be challenged if Platteview has strong performances from Lydia Stewart, Olivia Lawrence and freshman Brooklyn Kermmoade, while Lincoln Christian has a habit of performing well at State.


Class D boys

Mason McGreer of Perkins County has an unblemished record this year - the #1 spot in all eight rankings and no losses on the course. If our data is correct, he's faced every ranked runner in Class D except #6 Jobjosiah Muthiani (Freeman), #7 Drew Martin (West Holt) and #9 Dominic Liess (Norfolk Catholic). The race for second place should be far more interesting, with no clear favorite between Jarrett Miles (NP St. Pat's), Jacob Swanson (Nebraska Christian) and Elijah Goodell (Perkins County). Swanson finished behind Goodell and ahead of Miles at UNK after running the last 2300 meters with just one shoe. Keyton Cole of Axtell has been sitting in 5th behind these four boys for the last four weeks, and that's where he finished in the UNK meet. Dawson Meyer of Oakland Craig is ranked 8th but has been running well since his 7th-place finish at UNK. We think McGreer will take the win while Miles, Swanson and Goodell will grab the next three spots - but we're not sure in which order.


North Platte St. Pat's is the heavy favorite in the team race after scoring just 24 points at UNK to win by 40 over Axtell. Paradoxically, the best way for NPSP to solidify a win may be for Miles to run conservatively, but he'd likely do that anyway given the forecasted temps on race day. The coaches' poll has Freeman, Doniphan Trumbull, Norfolk Catholic and Axtell in the next four spots. Among those teams, DT should have best-placing pair of runners in freshman Kaser Johnson (ranked 12th) and junior Tice Yost (13th). Unless I'm mistaken, Freeman and Norfolk Catholic haven't competed head-to-head with the other top three teams, so we're shooting in the dark as to how they'll finish. We had Axtell as a dark horse in our season preview but we'll give the runner-up nod to Doniphan Trumbull.


Class D girls

Northeast Nebraska teams are often in a competitive silo until State and that can complicate our predictions. However, we're confident that Jordyn Arens of Crofton is expected to win her fourth State title on Friday. Behind Jordyn, Hannah Swanson of Nebraska Christian earned runner-up finishes in 2020 and 2021, and she is ranked #2 heading into State. She'll face tough competition from #4 Anna Fitzgerald of Doniphan Trumbull, one of the few girls to beat Hannah this year. Third-ranked Delani Runnels of Niobrara-Verdigre has raced #5 Katherine Kerrigan (Ainsworth), #9 Angela Frick (North Central) and watch-list Maddie Davis (West Holt), but State will be the first time she's competed again the other ranked runners. There are so many top runners in this race - Peyton Paxton, the Frasher sisters, freshman studs Leah Dawson (McCool Junction) and Megan Breitbarth (Pender), and seventh-ranked Dakota Horstman of defending champ Hemingford. After Arens, I'll go with Runnels, Fitzgerald and Swanson but... and this is a big but... every medal except the gold is up for grabs for a girl who runs well.


Crofton comes into State as the newly-minted #1 team after edging Pender by two points at District. Crofton finished 1-2-11-13 in a field of 57 runners while Pender's top four finished 3-6-7-8. Only the top three finishers score in Class D but the placement shows that Pender is a bit deeper than Crofton. In a more crowded (~120 runners) and competitive field at the State meet, I think the 37-second gap at Districts between Pender's third runner and Crofton's third runner could be significant for team scores. Nebraska Christian, Aquinas and Hemingford are ranked #3 through #5 in the final coaches' poll. Aquinas edged #7 Tri County and #8 Centennial at Districts while Hemingford is the defending champ with all three 2022 scorers returning. Consequently, my top three picks are Pender, Hemingford and Crofton.


Photos

The Nerds were out in full force last week. In addition hitting eight different District sites (11 of 19 District meets), we also squeezed in the OPS middle school meet, the Millard West JV meet (photos in process), and the Platte River Rumble collegiate meet. You can see a complete list of the 79 XC meets we've attended this season at https://www.preprunningnerd.com/2022, and you go directly to the albums on our FB page at https://www.facebook.com/PrepRunningNerd/photos_albums to find your favorite athlete. Here are photos from the 11 meets we added last week:


A-2 and A-4 in Lincoln (Joyful Nerd)

B-1 and B-2 in Plattsmouth (Nerd Senior)

B-3 and B-4 in Overton (Nerd Convert and guest Nerd Tim Brayton)

C-3 in Wayne (Bloomin' Nerd)

C-4 in Hastings (Broken Nerd and Speedwalker)

C-5 in Ogallala (Word Nerd)

D-2 in Pender (Bloomin' Nerd)

D-4 in Hastings (Speedwalker and Broken Nerd)

D6 in Grant (High Mileage Nerd)

OPS JH meet (Nerd Dawg)

Platte River Rumble (Nerd HD and Nerd Senior)

Metro JV (Nerd Dawg)

Advice from photo pros?

As you probably know, we post all of our photos for free on our Facebook account and, for internal purposes, upload the originals to a DropBox account. At some point we expect Facebook to object to us uploading 25,000 photos in an eight-week span, so we're trying to be proactive in finding a better place to store and share so many photos. Facebook compresses our file size to as little as 1/20th of the original file size, so you're not seeing our photos at their best. If you're a photo pro who has figured out a better way to store AND share photos with the volume that we generate, drop me a note at jayslagle@hotmail.com. Keep in mind that our goal is to keep sharing photos for free, so we're not looking for an expensive option.


PRR and Blazing Tiger

The Blazing Tiger NAIA meet will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, October 21 at Mahoney State Park. The women's field will include the #1, #3, #4, #6, #7, #8 and #21 ranked teams in the NAIA. On the men's side the field will include #4, #6, #9, #15, #1 and #23 ranked teams. Southern Oregon, College of Idaho, and Taylor (IN) will be making the trip. Because the GPAC is such a great conference, there has been muted criticism that Nebraska teams don't race against strong teams from other regions prior to the national meet. The Blazing Tiger meet certainly addresses that issue.


Live the Nerd lifestyle

We introduced the Nerd clothing line in Spring 2022 as a joke, and then ordered a ton of t-shirts last fall that are still cluttering up Fashion Nerd's old bedroom. She can't visit until we sell all of the t-shirts, so do the Nerd a solid and take a look at our store at https://www.preprunningnerd.com/shop.


******


First published at www.preprunningnerd.com by Henry Slagle and Jay Slagle on October 18, 2023. If you find an error, shoot us an e-mail at jayslagle@hotmail.com and we'll get it fixed.


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 and and the Results tab for every Nebraska high school race we can find. Once the season starts, we'll also rank the top 15 athletes in each Class at the Rankings tab. 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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