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12/11/22 Nerdsletter

Contributor: The Nerd

We're technically in our dormant season as we recover from a hectic XC season, but we wanted to share a collection of tidbits for those of you who don't follow us closely on Twitter or Facebook.

Lots of great racing to watch on TV/streaming

The Nerd household does its best to watch running events live - which explains our early wake-up call this morning to watch the Euro XC meet - but watching replays of great races is still enjoyable. Here's a few that you may find interesting, starting with the most recent:

European XC championships - Jakob Ingebritsen is the headliner here but there were four great races among the seniors and U23.

Champs/Footlocker High School Nationals -

NCAA D2 Nationals - UNK and Augustana qualified both men's and women's teams for the D2 meet on 12/2/22.

NCAA D1 Nationals - We believe Seth Hirsch (Millard West, Colorado) was the only Nebraska competing at this meet, but both the men's and women's races were incredible.

NCAA D3 Nationals - Nebraska Wesleyan is Nebraska's only D3 program, and Wesleyan's Gabby Thomas competed at this meet.

NAIA Nationals - The race videos appear to be stuck behind a paywall at the NAIA website.

Results for local high school competitors

The largest contingent of Nebraska runners in recent races was at Nike Regionals in Sioux Falls. It's a fast course, a crazy competitive field and it's usually quite cold. Full results at Here are some of the top Nebraska performers:

Jack Witte, Millard West, 15:07 (9th overall)

Juan Gonzalez, Fremont, 15:12, 15th

Isaac Ochoa 15:13, 17th

Isaac Graff, Lincoln East, 15:31

Max Myers, LSW, 15:38

Luke Johnson, Elkhorn South, 15:44

Grant Dixon, Elkhorn South, 15:49

Zack Shultz, Millard North, 15:52

Easton Zastrow, LNS, 16:06, (3rd in Rising stars)

Mia Murray, Lincoln East, 18:08, 32nd

Jaci Sievers, Elkhorn South, 18:17, 43rd

Maddie Seiler, Gering, 18:20

Isabelle Hartnett, Millard West, 18:55

Kaitlyn Swartz, Papio South, 18:58

Kassidy Stuckey, York, 19:01

Kennedy Bartee, Lincoln High, 19:26

Kendall Zavala, Norris, 19:39

Hope Riedel, LNS, 19:40

In addition to these results, UNL commit Ali Bainbridge of Sioux Falls finished 6th in 17:20.

Significantly fewer Nebraska athletes made the long drive to Wisconsin for the Champs (previously Eastbay and Footlocker) regional, which is quite a bit smaller than the Nike meet. Notable results:

Champ races: 16th Juan Gonzalez 15:35 18th Jaci Sievers 18:20

Jr/Sr races: 1st Wes Pleskac 16:44 5th Caleb Sund 17:12 6th Maris Dahl 21:32 6th Chloe Hemmer 21:31 8th Madison Grosse 21:45

Fr/So race 16th Noah Miller 17:43


Nerd HD (Jaden Gebeke) made the trip to NXR and came back with photos of the championship race. Here are the links:

National results for Nebraska collegians

Two athletes with Nebraska ties competed at the D1 nationals. Seth Hirsch is a grad transfer at Colorado who finished 68th and was the third scorer in the Buff's 8th-place finish. Ryan Martins, who ran for and graduated from UNL before moving to Loyola Chicago for law school, earned All-American honors after finishing 29th. Eight days prior, Ryan led much of the second half of the Midwest region before getting nipped at the wire. On December 3, Ryan ran a 13:33 indoor 5000 at the Boston University meet.

The UNK men finished 2nd and the UNK women were 4th at D2 regionals on 11/19 to advance to Nationals on 12/2. At regionals, the men were led by Myles Bach (5th), Luke Stuckey (6th, York) and Ben Arens (14th, Ainsworth), while the women were led by Hannah Pollan (24th, Elkhorn South), Mara Hemmer (27th, Fremont) and Grace Bonsall (28th, Kearney). Both UNK teams finished 22nd at Nationals, with Luke Stuckey (36th) earning All-American honors. Myles Bach did not score in this meet; the Lopes likely would have been in the top-15 if he had his typical performance.

Augustana has traditionally been a destination for Nebraska distance runners, and Norolk's Megan Means made her mark this fall. The Augustana women won the Central region and Megan was Augustana's second scorer in 7th place. She finished a mind-blowing 11th at Nationals to lead Augustana to a 5th-place finish. On 12/10, just eight days after Nationals, Megan ran 17:00 in an indoor 5k at Northwest Missouri State; the time meets the provisional qualifying standard for D2 indoor Nationals.

Nebraska had two teams and several individuals competing at the NAIA national meet. The Concordia University women finished 27th, led by Kylahn Freiberg (69th, Nampa, ID), Hannah Beintema (151st, Bettendorf, IA) and Julie McIntyre (161st, Chicago). The Hastings College women finished 29th, led by Veronica Pinkerton (98th, Beatrice), Shania Santos (121st, Marana, AZ) and Madison Gerken (136th, McCool Junction). There were three individual competitors from Nebraska colleges on the women's side: Madison Nelson (Bellevue University, Plattsmouth) earned All-American honors after placing 31st, Chloe Inhelder (College of St. Mary, Aurora, CO) was 141st and Myia Johnson (Midland University, Fremont) finished 201st. Camden Sesna (Concordia, Kearney High) was the only male from Nebraska who qualified for this highly-competitive meet; he finished 138th.

While this didn't happen in a national meet, we also wanted to note that Daniel Romary (Iowa State, LNE) ran a 1:53 800 and 4:10 indoor mile this weekend at a small meet in Ames. We believe these are Daniel's first race since NXR in November 2021.

Also at Ames, post-grad and LRC runner Andy Vasquez ran 4:14.93 in the same heat with Romary. Iowa State freshman Kailynn Gubbels, an Arlington high graduate, was the top collegiate finisher in her debut pentathlon with 3575 points.

Sara Vaughn interview

Sara Ensrud Vaughn is a Nebraska native who is on the Nebraska high school all-time top-15 list for the 800 (2:11.7) and 1600 (4:58). She graduated in 2004 and briefly competed at Virginia before finishing her collegiate career at Colorado. She's was a professional mid-distance runner from 2008 until December 2021, when her debut marathon was the 5th fastest US marathon of 2021. She had a major sponsor within 24 hours and is a confirmed distance runner. Did we mention she has four kids and works full time? We snagged an interview with her because of her Nebraska connections, and we spent considerable time collecting advice from her about how to be a successful female high school runner. Here's the interview:

Open indoor high school meets

Sure, it's wrestling, swimming and basketball season, but that doesn't mean you have to stop running, right? In the last five years we've witnessed the emergence of a legitimate winter indoor season in Nebraska, and it's a great opportunity for high school kids to earn a little racing experience before the official high school season begins. We've compiled a list of local meets here:

New Nerds

We're still growing! We're bringing on three new volunteer photographers in Spring 2023 - Adrienne Harris, Guy Bitz and Keaton Burgess. If you've got a solid sports camera/lens combo, basic photo editing skills and a love of T&F and XC, we'd love to have you be part of the team. We continue to be underrepresented in Lincoln, Kearney and North Platte, so we'd love to find a few more running-crazy parents out there. Shoot us an e-mail at and we'll start a discussion.

College commitments

We expect that only half of the athletes in the Class of 2023 have made a college selection by now, but we're tracking them as well as we can. If we're missing an athlete, shoot an e-mail to or send us a DM on social media. Here's the updated list:

Christmas gift ideas

If you're struggling to find some meaningless Christmas gifts for your loved ones, here are a few suggestions:

Nerd gear - we've still got a good selection Nerd t-shirts and hats at

Headlamp - If you've got a runner who frequently runs in the dark, I'm a big fan of the BioLite rechargeable headlamps. My headlamp even went through a full washer cycle by mistake and it still charges well.

Kid's chapter books - If you're shopping for a child age 6 to 12, I've written two books that have an ample supply of faith, fun and adventure. Jack and Noah's Big Day and Jack and Noah's Big Election are available at Amazon. If you've got a reluctant reader with a good sense of humor, these books may be the ticket.

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Originally written for and posted in December 2022 at by Jay Slagle.

Like this coverage of Nebraska high school distance running? There's more of this at 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 could find this year, and the Rankings tab for team and individual rankings. If you want to see meet photos or just need to kill a few hours on social media, follow us on Twitter @PrepRunningNerd or on Facebook at

Finally, if you think runners and jumpers are the best thing 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 who became a quadrapalegic after a swimming accident.

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