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2023 hurdles preview

Updated: Mar 15, 2023

Just as we did in 2022, we asked Patrick Grosserode, the owner of the Trackville training facility in Lincoln, to provide a preview of field and sprint events. And just like last year, Patrick wrote an entire article for each discipline. Patrick is uniquely qualified to opine on the current state of field events, and we're thrilled to work with him. Here is Patrick's recap of the hurdles:


Class A Boys

110HH Returning State Medalists (2022 State mark listed)

o Javon Leuty, 14.60 (1st) - Lincoln High

o Dash Bauman, 14.71 (2nd) - Lincoln East

o Jesse Malone, 15.04 (5th) - Papio-La Vista

o Caden Joneson, 15.15 (6th) - North Platte


Outlook:

The hurdles races, and particularly the 110HH, have a strong argument for being the events where risk and reward have a fraught relationship. As we sorted through our 2022 State photos to find images of top returners, about half of the finishes included at least hurdler down on the track. Case in point about living on the edge: Kearney's Jack Dahlgren had the fifth-fastest 110 mark heading into State at 14.81, but he didn't advance out of prelims due a fall. The tough breaks didn't stop there: Connor Plahn of LNS had the 6th-fastest PR (14.86) heading into State, but freshman Caden Joneson edged him by 0.02 seconds for the final spot in the finals.


With four of the top six medalists returning this year - and 13 of the top 18 fastest boys in 2022 - this will be a tight competition. Returning 110HH state champion Jevon Luety has been sidelined this offseason due to a broken ankle which he suffered late in the football season. Our sources tell us he is back to running and may be ready late in the season. Several returners were active over the winter in the 60H, led by Nick Kieny (8.38) of Prep, Jesse Malone (8.39) of Papio, Connor Plahn (8.58), Ian Young (8.58) of Omaha Central and Grant Hunsaker (8.64) of Millard North. Dash Bauman raced at least once over the winter, notching a 8.73 in mid-February. Caden Joneson made quite a bit of progress last year as a freshmn, dipping below 15.4 for the first time on April 22 and then running sub 15.20 three times during Districts and State races. Leuty, Bauman, Dahlgren, Plahn and Hunsaker all have PRs below 15.00, so look for a tight race at State.

300 Hurdles Returning State Medalists

o Andrew Brown, 39.17 (1st) - Omaha Central

o JP Mattern, 39.28 (2nd) - Lincoln Pius

o Dash Bauman, 39.39 (3rd) - Lincoln East

o Ian Young, 40.44 (4th) - Omaha Central

o Cole Dobberstein, 40.61 (5th) - Gretna

o Grant Barrett, 40.68 (6th) - Millard West

o Grant Hunsaker, 40.94 (7th) - Millard North (UN Naval Academy commit)


The 300mH was one of the best races of the State Meet with the top three coming through within a step (0.22 seconds) of each other. Each of these athletes has been working hard this winter and we should see fast times right out of the gate. Andrew Brown gave us one of the better redemption stories in 2022; after falling on the final hurdle while leading at the Metro meet, he returned to the Burke track two weeks later to win the title. Indoor meets don't have an equivalent race for the 300H but we have seen about half of the returning medalists competing over the winter in the 60H, 200 and/or 400.


Of the top 10 fastest times in the 300H in 2022, nine return in 2023. The top three returners set their PRs in the State finals, but Ian Young (39.52), Grant Hunsaker (40.09), Jack Dahlgren (40.27) and Grant Barrett (40.33) of Millard West are close behind. Cole Dobberstein is one of the few top Class A 300H competitors who also runs the 4x800 and runs cross country (29th in 2022). Ezra Vedral of Prep had the ninth fastest returning PR (40.65), and the KU football commit certainly has the talent to make noise this spring. Looking at other top boys who didn't medal in 2022, look for Blake McLain (Lincoln East), Declan Buss (Prep) and Dylan Hallet (LNS) to among the best.

Class A Girls

100 Hurdles Returning State Medalists

o Kate Campos, 14.52 (1st) - Lincoln Pius (Wichita State commit)

o Laney Songster, 14.95 (3rd) - Lincoln Northeast

o Taylor Schuster, 15.18 (4th) - Lincoln Southwest

o Emma Rauch-Word, 15.54 (8th) - Grand Island


300 Hurdles Returning State Medalists

o Kate Campos, 43.65 (1st) - Lincoln Pius

o Makayla Thompson, 45.04 (2nd) - Omaha Burke

o Morgan Glaser, 46.46 (4th) - Papio-La Vista

o Taylor Schuster, 46.92 (5th) - Lincoln Southwest

o Rachel Smith, 48.15 (7th) - Lincoln East

o Nyasia Thomas, 47.47 prelim time - Omaha North


Outlook: *** Double State Record Alert*** Kate Campos has leveled up this off season. She has the 40th fastest time in the US this year for the 60H. Her 8.75 with a 1.57 multiplier for 100H conversion puts her target time at 13.73, below the All-State record of 13.87 set by LaQue Moen-Davis of Omaha North in 2011. Kate missed the All-Class state record for 300 hurdles (43.04, Kianna Elahi, Millard Norht, 2007) by just 0.05 last season. Kate's entire offseason program was built to run a faster 400, which paid off when she ran 58.59 at Texas Tech in January, a 1.3 second PR. We would not be surprised to see Kate run under 41 seconds this season.


In addition to Campos, we've also seen Laney Songster, Emma Rauch-Word, MaKayla Thompson and Nyasia Thomas competing over the winter. Rauch-Word has the fastest 60H (9.36) after Campos, while Songster (9.41), freshman Celia McCoy (9.46) of GI, Thomas (9.64), and Rome Bridger (9.72) of Papio South also posted strong marks. Rauch-Word (15.25 PR) improved her 60H time significantly over the off season and should be part of the sub-15.00 club this season. MaKayla Thompson’s indoor marks in the 60 (8.06), 200 (26.44) and 400 (1:03.48) suggest she’ll be in good form for the 300H. Nyasia Thomas has been a road warrior this winter, competing at Arkansas, Kansas and Omaha with winter bests of 9.64, 27.52 and 1:03.37.


Last year's freshmen could play bigger roles in 2023 with another year of experience. Taylor Schuster of LSW grabbed two State medals and has PRs of 14.91 and 45.90 while her teammate Alynna Henderson of LSW cut her 300 time by about 2.5 seconds between mid-April and the State meet.


With thirteen of the sixteen fastest 300 meter girls returning in 2023, the fight for a podium spot will be intense.


Class B Boys

110HH Returning State Medalists (State mark listed)

o Xander Provance, 14.46 (1st) - Chadron

o Jackson Roberts, 14.82 (2nd) - Boone Central

o Tyler Carroll, 14.92 (3rd) - Central City

o Benjamin Brahmer, 15.21 (5th) - Pierce

o Rhett Cullers, 15.61 (6th) - Chadron

o Zach Fox, 15.72 (7th) - Wahoo (Doane commit)

o Jacob Horner, 16.71 (8th) - Elkhorn North (USD)


Keaton Wattier (4th) of O'Neill has graduated but the seven other 110HH medalists return. Perhaps because so many boys are returning, we saw a number of them working on their skills at winter meets. Tyler Carroll was among the busiest and posted the fastest all-class mark in the 60H, blazing to a 8.19. Horner had a bad break at State (see picture above) and has been looking for redemption all summer and fall. He brought his 60H time down by half a second from last year with a 8.28. Roberts is also ready to go, posting big marks in long jump (21-04.75) and doing a good amount of hurdle work (8.65) this winter. Zach Fox of Wahoo had the third-fastest Class B time this winter at 8.56.


Returning non-medalists include Rhett Cullers (14.98 PR) of Chadron, Cameron Shriver (15.35) of Auburn and Braxton Borer (15.50) of Columbus Lakeview. Finally, watch out for Bennet Turman from Omaha Skutt. He has a PR of 15.72 but we think he'll factor into the medals in a big way this season.

300 Hurdles Returning State Medalists

o Jackson Roberts, 38.46 (1st) - Boone Central

o Wyatt Archer, 39.44 (2nd) - Omaha Skutt

o Malachi Swallow, 39.57 (3rd) - Chadron

o Zach Fox, 40.74 (7th) - Wahoo

o Benjamin Brahmer, 40.84 (8th) - Pierce


Two fewer medalists return in the 300H but the top-flight talent is still here, with 15 of 24 State qualifiers returning. The top three medalists all set their PRs in the State finals, and the 0.98 margin of victory by Jack Roberts is a huge number in the 300H. However, neither Jacob Horner nor Tyler Carroll made the 300H finals at State, and their winter seasons suggest that is unlikely to happen again in 2023. We're not being lazy when we say this; the key players we mentioned for the 100HH should also be fighting for top three spots in the 300H.


A wild card this year is Tanner Gibb of Minden, who PR'd with a 41.46 at his conference meet before a DNF at Districts. Freshman boys typically get faster as sophomores, particularly in a technical event like the hurdles. He competed in the 4x100 and 4x400 at State in 2022, but look for him to earn his own ticket in 2023.

Class B Girls

100 Hurdles Returning State Medalists

o Paige Horne, 15.10 (2nd) - Scottsbluff

o Allyson Dutoit, 15.57 (4th) - Elkhorn North

o Aubrey O'Hare, 15.65 (5th) - Gothenburg

o Chloe Ahrens, 15.77 (6th) - Sidney

o Aizlynn Krafka, 15.93 (7th) - Northwest


300 Hurdles Returning State Medalists

o Karyn Burkholder, 46.75 (3rd) - Cozad

o Kate Langford, 46.84 (4th) - Bennington

o Kaitlyn Mousel, 47.14 (5th) - Adams Central

o Mia Hunke, 47.47 (6th) - West Point Beemer

o Paige Horne, 48.73 (8th) - Scottsbluff


Outlook:

The 2022 100H/300H champ Kailynn Gubbels is now excelling as multi-event athlete at Iowa State. Paige Horne of Scottsbluff ran sub-15.00 and sub-47.00 last season and she will certainly be in the mix for both titles this season. Chloe Arens of Sidney returns with the second-best 100H PR of 15.18 behind Horne, and her two State times were the slowest she'd ran in a month. Aubrey O'Hare of Gothenburg didn't compete in any 2022 track meets in until May 3rd due to an early-season injury, but in her four District/State 100H races she finished between 15.46 and 15.77. Aubrey had finished her 2021 season with four consecutive sub-48:00 races including 5th at State, so we presume she'll be a big factor if she's healthy all season. Allyson Dutoit had some good races and vaults this winter. She was a member of the Elkhorn North Basketball team that clinched a third consecutive State title last Saturday, so look for her to put down her fastest times down later in the season.


A sophomore now, Aizlynn Krafka of Northwest had a great winter season with a monster PR of 9.06 in the 60H, the second fastest time among all classes behind Campos. She wasn't the only youngster who performed well last year. Out of the 14-fastest 100H marks for the 2022 season, eight were set by freshman or sophomores. That includes Mattie Kamery (15.61) of Minden and Kelsey Miller (15.92) of Seward. Lauren Maly of Crete has the eight-fastest returning PR of 16.00, cutting over a second from her freshman best in 2021, so she'll be a huge factor if she continues to improve. However, we're hoping that Lauren misses the first few meets of the season while she follows her sister Morgan and the Creighton women to another Elite Eight berth.


Stop us if you've heard this one, because we're not sure we have: Karyn Burkholder of Cozad is a 4-time State qualifier in cross country and she's also the top returning (and only senior) medalist in the 300H. Kaitlyn Mousel of Adams Central has the best PR of the returners based on her 46.55 from 2022 Districts. Kate Langford (46.61 PR) of Bennington has been active over the winter, posting 200/400 times of 27.07 and 1:01.35, and she looks fit. Three sophomores have the 6th, 7th and 8th best returning PRs this season; as freshmen, Mia Hunke of West Point-Beemer ran 47.17 in the State prelims, Kelsey Miller ran 47.31 at her conference meet, and Josie Sanders of Alliance ran 47.35 at Districts.


Ten returners have PRs between 46.55 and 47.90, and eight of the ten are sophomores or juniors. This event is going to be a dogfight for at least the next two years.


Class C Boys

110HH Returning State Medalists (State mark listed)

o Easton Fries, 15.39 (5th) - Chase County

o Lance Brester, 15.49 (6th) - Howells-Dodge

o Riley Wilson, 15.50 (7th) - Elmwood-Murdock

o Daniel Puppe, 18.14 (8th) Laurel-Concord-Coleridge (Mount Marty commit)

o Will Moats, 15.56 (3rd in Class C) - N Platte St Pats


300 Hurdles Returning State Medalists

o Riley Wilson, 40.68 (4th) - Elmwood-Murdock

o Easton Fries, 41.91 (7th) - Chase County

o Will Moats, 41.34 (4th in Class C) - N Platte St Pats


Outlook: Seniors dominated the top medals in 2022, with champs Deagan Puppe (Mount Marty) and Beau Ruskamp now graduated. Dan Puppe, Deagan's little brother, ran 15.56 and 41.68 last season prior to State. His indoor times (3rd best 60H at 8.35) reflect an athlete who is ready to improve upon 2022. Fries has PRs of 15.09 and 41.18 and should be one of the favorites this season. Wilson almost went sub-40.0 in the State Prelim last season and based on his 400m progression should be in the 39’s this year.


Lance Brester's PR of 15.49 was set in the State finals, and his 2022 results show a nice progression from the start of the season. Jackson Ricchio of Battle Creek has the 5th-fastest returning 110HH PR at 15.64 and the 2nd-fastest 300H PR at 41.14, so he's a medal favorite despite not placing last year. Adyon McDonald of Gordon-Rushville appears to have fallen in the State 110HH prelims, but his PRs of 15.97 (6th best) and 41.32 (4th) put him among the top returners. Calvin Sassaman of Bishop Numann and Carter Werner of Elkhorn Valley also return with sub-42:00 300's, while Jensen Olsen of Chase County is tied with Aydon McDonald for the 6th-best returning PR in the 110H at 15.97.


This isn't always the case when a school moves up in classification, but North Platte St. Pat's shift to Class C will be a major factor for the boys' hurdles. Will Moats of NPSP medaled in both Class D hurdle events last year, and he returns for his senior season with PRs of 15.32 and 41.32. In addition, his teammate Jaxon Knisely ran 15.66 in 2022, and Will and Jaxon were members of the Class D 4x100 championship team that didn't include any seniors. Jaxon's primary events in 2022 were the 110HH and 4x100, so it will be interesting to see if he embraces a third event in his sophomore season.


Last year's senior class may have been stacked, but we expect to see great racing among the boys who return.


Class C Girls

100 Hurdles Returning State Medalists

o Liberty Baker, 15.19 (2nd) - Shelby-Rising City

o Ellie Tramp. 15.66 (4th) - Crofton

o Chloe Hanel, 15.66 (5th) – Clarkson Leigh


300 Hurdles Returning State Medalists

o Hadley Cheatum, 45.79 (2nd) - Summerland

o Kailee Potts, 48.53 (5th) - Perkins County

o Kinslee Bosak, 51.04 (7th) - Bishop Neumann (USD commit)

o Ellie Tramp, 51.68 (8th) - Crofton


Outlook:

Adrianna Rodencal of Lincoln Lutheran swept the hurdle titles in 2022; her dominance continues at Concordia where she was just named the GPAC Indoor Women’s Athlete of the Year.


Unlike some of the other hurdle fields, the three returning medalists in the 100H ran near their PRs in the State finals. Liberty Baker (15.05), Ellie Tramp (15.46) and Chloe Hanel (15.62) all established their PRs in the State prelims. Mya Zohner of Battle Creek is tied with Hanel for the third-fastest returning PR at 15.62. In addition to the prelims of the 100H (19th, 16.89) and 300H (14th, 49.87), Zohner was busy finishing second in the pole vault (11-00) and sixth in the triple jump (34-10). Look for the Mount Marty commit to be more of a factor in the State hurdles races this year.


Kaitlyn Emanuel of North Bend has been one of the more consistent performers in the 100H the past two years, racking up ten sub-16.00 efforts in 2021 and four in 2022. She had a 2022 season best of 15.66 (5th best among returners) but was DQ'd at State - a relatively common occurrence once a hurdle is hit.


Three freshman girls had top-25 times in the 100H during 2022: Eva Hartzell (16.02) of Norfolk Catholic, Sophie Humphrey (16.61) of Battle Creek and AJ Bosak (16.68) of Bishop Neuman.


We expect Kinslee Bosak of Bishop Neuman to make some noise this season. She ran 46.09 last year before a mishap on the final hurdle at State (photo above). Hadley Cheatham of Summerland runs the 400/800 and both hurdle events, and she collected three medals and a 9th-place finished (100H) at 2022 State. She has the range and the technique to be in the mix as a state champ in at least two events, but she's going to very tired by the end of Day 2.


Kailee Potts of Perkins County should be a huge factor in the 300H. She had the third fastest 2022 time among returners at 46.71, and she had gone sub-48.00 in the four races before her 48.53 in the State finals.


Miriam Frasher of David City Aquinas has the 5th-fastest returning PR in the 300H with her 47.92. She finished 10th at State and also qualified in the 400 and 4x400. Fun fact: she also finished 8th (2022) and 9th (2021) in the Class D State cross country meet, so she's got some serious range (and stamina). There are four other girls who also posted top-25 marks in 2022 as freshmen, and several of them have sparse athletic.net profiles which could mean they have ran faster than the times we see.

Class D Boys

110HH Returning State Medalists (State mark listed)

o Clayton Moore, 15.21 (2nd) - Mullen

o Will Moats, 15.56 (3rd) - N Platte St Pats (moves to Class C)


300 Hurdles Returning State Medalists

o Clayton Moore, 40.56 (1st) - Mullen

o Will Moats, 41.34 (4th) - N Platte St Pats (moves to Class C)


Outlook: (Tyler Hanson, a distance runner at Axtell, is helping us with the Class D previews.) Sorry, the Class D boys only get one picture for their preview because there's only one returning medalist. Graduation took most of the field, including 110H champ Tony Berger of Riverside, who also won the 2022 long jump and triple jump. Will Moats of NPSP moves up to Class C this year.


Ten of the 18 fastest 110HH times and 10 of the 14 fastest 300H times in 2022 were by seniors. Even if more medalists were returning, Clayton Moore would still be the favorite in both events due to the PRs (15.21 and 40.56) he set in the State finals. In the 110H, the fastest returners include Gunnar Hadley (16.10) of Loomis, Brady Cook (16.10) of Fullerton, Joe Simon (16.10) of Falls City Sacred Heart, Jake Halvorsen (16.11) of Axtell and Hayden Kramer (16.12) of Medicine Valley. Consider that - besides Moore, the next five fastest returners are separated by 0.02 seconds.


In the 300H, Spencer Hillie of Plainview has the 2nd-fastest returning PR of 41.50, followed by Johnny Vargas (41.74) of Garden County, Andrew Harms (42.63) of Sterling and Kyler Flaming (42.87) of Wallace. Hillie is our radar after finishing 2nd in the 2022 State high jump (6-04) and long jumping 20-04 at Districts, so he has no shortage of talent. Jake Halverson of Axtell ran 16.11 and 42.92 in 2022 as a freshman, so we'd expect him to make big gains with a year of experience under his belt.


Of all the events we've previewed so far this year, the Class D hurdles event feature a clear favorite and then an absolutely wide-open race for the remainder of the medals.


Class D Girls

100 Hurdles Returning State Medalists

o Macy Richardson, 15.17 (1st) - Sterling

o Dayle Haake, 16.05 (3rd) - SandhillsThedford

o Kendyl Flaming, 16.58 (6th) - Wallace

o Madison Abbenhaus, 16.60 (7th) - Bloomfield


300 Hurdles Returning State Medalists

o Macy Richardson, 47.89 (2nd) - Sterling

o Georgi tenBensel, 49.66 (3rd) - Silver Lake

o Teagan Gonsior, 50.48 (5th) - Fullerton

o Dayle Haake, 50.73 (6th) - SandhillsThedford

o Abbie Kromarek, 51.25 (7th) - Plainview

o Addy Sweeney, 53.16 (8th) - Cedar Bluffs


Outlook: (Tyler Hanson) The 2022 300H/400 champ Carlie Bailey of Ainsley-Litchfield has graduated but a lot of great talent has returned. Macy Richardson enters 2023 as the undisputed favorite in both hurdles events. She has nearly a one-second gap on all other returners in the 100 hurdles, and nearly a 2 second gap over all returning competition in the 300 hurdles. Macy is the two-time defending champ in the 100H, and it was a minor upset when Carli Bailey won the 300Hs last year.


The battle for the remaining medal positions is much tighter. Dayle Haake of Sandhills-Thedford had strong performances of 16.05 and 50.73 at last year’s state meet, and among returners she has the second fastest 100H (16.03) and sixth fastest 300H (48.63). Kendyl Flaming of Wallace has PRs of 16.22 and 49.08, which should put her in the mix for two medals. Madison Abbenhaus of Bloomfield also has stout credentials with PRs of 16.28 and 48.20. Sydney Biltoft of Lawrence-Nelson PR'd at 2022 Districts with a 16.13, but her 16.58 at State prelims was one spot away from qualifying for the finals. She's the third-fastest returner (by PR) in the 100H.


In the 300H, Fullerton's Teagan Gonsior, the 2022 long jump champ, placed 5th in 2022 with a 50.48, but she has dipped below 48.0 in each of the last two seasons. As freshmen, Zaili Benish of Leyton and Addy Sweeney of Cedar Bluffs posted the fourth fastest times of the 2022 season with a 48.08. Georgi tenBensel (a last name with a ton of Nebraska track history) of Silver Lake finished 3rd last year and established her PR of 48.10 in the State prelims. Abbie Kromarek of Plainview (48.78 PR) and Jalen Ken (48.67 PR) of Cambridge are also expected to be in the medal hunt.


Macy Richardson may be as close to a lock for repeating as you can get, but watch out for the drama behind her.


*********


Originally written for and posted at www.preprunningnerd.com by Patrick Grosserode, Tyler Hanson and Jay Slagle in March 2023. If you find an error, please DM or e-mail us at jayslagle@hotmail.com and we'll get it fixed.


Patrick Grosserode is the owner of Trackville, an indoor training facility devoted to developing youth, high school and collegiate athletes. He's also the Director of the Lincoln Community Track Club, the jump coach at Lincoln Pius X, and a USATF level 2 jump and sprint/hurdle coach. Lean more about Trackville at https://thetrackville.com/.


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 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 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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