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NE high school hurdles preview

Updated: Mar 14

The past few years the Prep Running Nerd team has devoted its coverage primarily to distance running, but we intend to give more love to field events, sprints and hurdles this spring. To get a jump start on coverage, we asked for help for the field events and the hurdles races from Patrick Grosserode, the owner of the Trackville training facility in Lincoln. Patrick is uniquely qualified to opine on the current state of field events, and we'll thrilled to work with him. This hurdles article is his final preview of the pre-season, he starts with an overall impression of the hurdle competition from 2021.


In my opinion the hurdle races took the biggest hit with the cancellation of the 2020 season. Seniors in 2021 were sophomores the last time they really trained for a hurdle race. There were fewer seniors in these races in 2021. Hurdles success is based on gradual progression, taking years of training and increased speed to master, and we typically see the podiums filled with juniors and seniors. However, due to the COVID gap, hurdles times in 2021 were a little slower than prior years, and we saw a large increase in freshman and sophomores scoring in these races at the State meet. Expect 2022 to be faster and more competitive with everyone returning to regular training. The following is a list of the returning medalists from 2021:


Class A Boys– 110 Hurdles

· D'Andre Ndugwa, Kearney - 15.08

· Jack Dahlgren, Kearney - 15.09

· Connor Plahn, Lincoln North Star - 15.23

· Javon Leuty, Lincoln - 15.32

· Noah Smith, Gretna - 15.48


Class A Boys – 300 Hurdles

· Jack Dahlgren, Kearney - 41.46

· Ashton Sagehorn, Fremont - 41.63

· Andrew Brown, Omaha Central - 42.44


The Kearney hurdle squad including now-graduated Alex Schall was dominant at the 2021 State meet, going 1-2-3 in the 110’s. Ndugwa ran 14.34/40.55 mid-season and was favored to win both events until he hurt his hamstring at the HAC meet. Dahlgren finished 3rd in both events last year and has PRs of 14.98 and 41.19. Noah Smith (Wesleyan) of Gretna has looked great this indoor season with a time of 8.65, followed closely by Connor Plahn’s 8.71 and Grant Hunsaker of Millard North in 8.73. Pius junior JP Mattern ran 41.56 for 300m hurdles last season but was slowed with a hamstring injury. He ran a solid indoor season (8.85 in 60H and 54.64 in the 400) and is one to watch for during the outdoor season. Jack Gillogly of Prep was 11th in the 300 (41.99) at 2021 State and had Nebraska’s fastest 60/200 times during the indoor season, so it will be interesting to see if he keeps competing in the 300H. Dash Bauman of Lincoln East finished 10th in the 300 as a freshman, and we would expect him to be faster and stronger as a sophomore.


Class A Girls – 100 Hurdles

· Jaida Rowe, Lincoln Southwest - 15.16

· Kate Campos, Lincoln Pius X - 15.22

· Laney Songster, Lincoln Northeast - 15.26

· Addison Webster, Gretna - 15.52

· Josie Garrett, Columbus - 15.63


Class A Girls – 300 Hurdles

· Kate Campos, Lincoln Pius X - 44.85

· Makayla Thompson, Omaha Burke - 46.24

· Jaida Rowe, Lincoln Southwest - 47.39

· Hailey Whitmarsh, Millard North - 48.23


The hurdles seem to be the breeding ground for college greatness. Last May, Lindsay Adams of Millard West won the 110H and finished 2nd in the 300H; a few weeks ago Lindsay placed 3rd in the pentathlon at the NAIA nationals. Similarly, Ralston High's Lauren Tamayo was 3rd and 2nd, respectively, in the 100H and 300H at the 2018 State meet, and she placed 2nd in last week's NAIA pentathlon.


Lindsay has moved on, but there is still plenty of high-level talent left in Class A, particularly in the 100 hurdles. Kate Campos had a dominant indoor season with times of 8.93 for 60H and 59.70 for the open 400m. Her goal is to run sub 43 for 300H this season and with the new 400m training focus, we think this time is in range. Jaida Rowe had a great indoor season running 9.09 for 60MH. Jaida gets stronger throughout the race and could easily run 14.50 or faster this year. Laney Songster and Addison Webster also ran sub 9.60 for 60H this indoor season. The 100H race will be a great one this year!


The OPS schools didn’t fare particularly well last May, possibly due to the cancellation of all sporting activities in Fall 2020. Makayla Thompson of Burke was a bright spot, finishing 3rd in the 300H in 46.24, so we expect she will be even better since she’s been able to access off-season coaching guidance this year. There were three freshmen who finished 8th, 9th and 10th at State last year – Hailey Whitmarsh (Millard North), Morgan Glaser (Papio LaVsita) and Nyasia Thomas (Omaha North). If they progress this year, their sub-48.00 times could easy become sub-47:00 times.


Class B Boys – 110 Hurdles

· Gage Fries, Minden - 14.75

· Tyler Carroll, Central City - 15.02

· Jacob Horner, Elkhorn North - 15.36

· Evan Shepard, Ashland-Greenwood - 16.27

· Keaton Wattier, O'Neill


Class B Boys – 300 Hurdles

· Jacob Horner, Elkhorn North - 40.73

· Rylan Birkby, St. Paul - 41.46

· Jackson Roberts, Boone Central - 41.85

· Gage Fries, Minden - 42.34


Gage Fries (Concordia) returns as State Champion in the 110H and had a solid indoor time of 8.57. Gage worked hard during indoor (best of 8.57 in 60H) and looks to be in good form headed into the outdoor season. Evan Shepard ran 8.55 in the 60H this winter, the fastest Class B time. Keaton Wattier (Wayne State) was DQ’d in the State final (a not uncommon occurrence high-stakes hurdle races) after qualifying 3rd in 14.91, so look for him to be motivated this year.


Jacob Horner is the fastest returner in the 300m at State at 40.73. Horner has been working on his hurdle technique since August and is looking very good headed into outdoor. His indoor season was brief as he focuses his time on swimming in the winter. Jackson Roberts displayed new-found speed in indoor training this season and looks to improve on his 40.86 PR. If he can stay healthy, he will be in the mix for a state title. Gage Fries actually has the best lifetime PR of any returner, at 40.67, and he seems to be stronger this year based on indoor results. Rylan Kirkby peaked at the right time in 2021, running 41.21 in State prelims and 41.46 in the finals – and also hitting 50.85 and 50.84 (8th place at State) in the open 400. Evan Shephard placed 11th at State in the 300H but his winter times suggest he’ll improve on his 41.59 PR. Wattier of O’Neill had a 42.54 PR last spring, so he could also be a factor.


One final note – if you’re looking for someone on a hot streak, it could be Evan Shepherd. On Saturday afternoon he nailed a 3-pointer at the buzzer to help Ashland-Greenwood win the C-1 basketball title. Here's the video of the clutch shot.


Class B Girls – 100 Hurdles

· Kailynn Gubbels, Arlington - 14.59

· Grace Mustard, Columbus Scotus - 14.88

· Chloe Ahrens, Sidney - 15.48

· Paige Horne, Scottsbluff - 15.51

· Aizlynn Krafka, Northwest - 15.67

· Allyson Dutoit, Elkhorn North - 15.86


Class B Girls – 300 Hurdles

· Kailynn Gubbels, Arlington - 45.53

· Chloe Ahrens, Sidney - 46.74

· Paige Horne, Scottsbluff - 47.69

· Aubrey O'Hare, Gothenburg - 47.69

· Kaitlyn Mousel, Adams Central - 47.99

· Erika Roehrs, Blair - 48.16


Kailynn Gubbels (Iowa State) was dominant in Class B in 2021 and has a 14.52 PR. An injury slowed her a bit after volleyball season but she had a solid training camp this winter. She had the fastest time in Nebraska in the 100H last season and the second fastest time in the 300H. She will be tough to beat this season if she stays healthy. However, Grace Mustard of Scotus was consistent last year, breaking 15.00 in her last three meets and setting a PR of 14.68. Chloe Ahrens had PRs of 15.30 and 46.08 as a freshman last year and should be in the mix for a top-3 finish.


In the 300H, look for Mustard to make a statement. She has a PR of 47.44 but did not qualify in 2021. Another freshman, Paige Horne of Scottsbluff, ran 15.20 and 47.69 last year, and should continue to improve. Krafka, Dutoit, O’Hare and Mousel were also freshmen last year, so Class B has no shortage of young talent.


Class C Boys – 110 Hurdles

· Deagan Puppe, Laurel - 15.18

· Kamdyn Swartz, Bishop Neumann - 15.22

· Hayden Kluthe, Ord - 15.63

· Baron Buckendahl, Battle Creek - 15.74

· Dane Miller, Superior - 16.30


Class C Boys – 300 Hurdles

· Beau Ruskamp, Wisner-Pilger - 41.25

· Jackson Ricchio, Battle Creek - 41.36


Deagan Puppe (Mount Marty) is the returning State Champion and has the fastest lifetime best of all Class C returners (15.05); he ran 8.63 in the 60H this winter at Mount Marty. Kamdyn Swartz had the top indoor time in the state this season with an 8.51 at Concordia.


The top 5 finishers in the 300 hurdles last season have graduated, leaving this event wide open in Class C. Puppe only has two 300H times posted to his athletic.net profile for 2021, so it’s tough to evaluate if he’s a 300H title contender in 2022 despite his 110H success. Swartz has a PR of 41.72, just behind the PRs that Ruskamp and Ricchio set at the State meet. With 14 returning State qualifiers, the 300H will be extremely competitive.


Class C Girls – 100 Hurdles

· Adrianna Rodencal, Lincoln Lutheran - 15.03

· Kayla Svoboda, Wisner-Pilger - 15.31

· Becca McGinley, Valentine - 15.84

· Kate Griess, Sutton - 16.16

· Jerzee Milner, Chase County- 16.55

· Chloe Hanel, Clarkson/Leigh


Class C Girls – 300 Hurdles

· Adrianna Rodencal, Lincoln Lutheran - 45.73

· Kayla Svoboda, Wisner-Pilger - 46.19

· Kali Jurgensmeier, Bishop Neumann - 46.29

· Jordan Metzler, Wakefield - 46.36

· Ellie Tramp, Crofton - 47.47

· Chloe Hanel, Clarkson/Leigh - 47.83

· Laney Frahm, Elmwood-Murdock - 48.30 (4th Class D)


Adrianna Rodencal has been on a tear this indoor season. She has lifetime bests in the 60H (8.93 – tied with Kate Campos for the winter’s fastest time) and 60m (7.91). Adrianna is the returning state Champion in both hurdle races and the 100m. Kayla Svoboda returns for her senior season as the 2021 State runner-up in both hurdle races. Becca McGinley ran 15.61 and 15.84 at State, two of her 7 sub-17:00 races during 2021. Kate Griess of Sutton ran 15.69 during State prelims and finished in 9th in the 300H in 48.11. Chloe Hanel had the 2nd fastest qualifying time at State in 15.27 (a PR) but fell in the finals; her 8th place finish in both races is impressive for a freshman. As a freshman, Laney Frahm of Elmwood-Murdock qualified for 2021 State in the Class D 300H, 4x400 and 4x800, but her 100H and 300H improvements over the season suggests she may be a bigger factor in 2022.


Kali Jurgensmeier, now a senior at Wahoo Neumann, seems to be well suited for the collegiate pentathlon after medaling at 2021 State in the 400, 300H and triple jump, and finishing 9th in the high jump. She didn’t compete over the winter season but was probably busy at the Olympics or some other equally impressive endeavor, so look for her to perform well in May. Jordan Metzler of Wakefield placed 4th as a freshman, running a PR of 46.36, and should only get better.


Class D Boys – 110 Hurdles

· Tony Berger, Riverside - 15.22

· Will Moats, NP St Patrick - 15.56

· Clayton Moore, Mullen - 15.65

· Tyler Baue, Wausau - 16.03

· Carson McCleary, Red Cloud - 16.13

· Bradyn Hutto, Hitchcock County - 16.34


Class D Boys – 300 Hurdles

· Carson McCleary, Red Cloud - 41.12

· Clayton Moore, Mullen - 41.33

· Tyler Baue, Wausau - 41.66

· Will Moats, NP St Patrick - 41.72

· Quinn Bertrand, Axtell - 41.90


Tony Berger won the 2021 State title in the 110H dominant fashion with season bests in both prelims and finals, winning by 0.34 in the final. The senior will be looking for a repeat performance in 2022. Will Moats didn’t break the 16.00 barrier until April 21st, but then did it 7 more times in May. Clayton Moore of Mullen has a 15.44 PR and his second-place finish in the 300H was his 7th 300H PR of the season. Tyler Baue only has results for two meets on athletic.net, but his times suggest he’ll be a contender in both races.


Carson McCleary is the defending champion in the 300H, which returns 5 of the top 6 finishers. McCleary ran sub-16.00 and sub-42:00 three times each in 2021, but he doesn’t have much separation from the other returners. Moats has a PR of 41.51 and Bertrand has run 41.67.


Class D Girls – 100 Hurdles

· Macy Richardson, Sterling - 15.36

· Reagan Nordhausen, Axtell - 15.60

· Emma Epley, Lawrence-Nelson - 16.12

· Madison Abbenhaus, Bloomfield - 16.63

· Rylee Legg, Kenesaw - 16.65

· Carli Bailey, Ansley-Litchfield - 16.71

· Abrielle Nelson, Wausa - 17.08


Class D Girls – 300 Hurdles

· Macy Richardson, Sterling - 46.18

· Carli Bailey, Ansley-Litchfield - 47.21

· Abrielle Nelson, Wausa - 48.95

· Teya Boyer, Plainview - 49.26

· Sydney Biltoft, Lawrence-Nelson - 49.56


Youth was well served in 2021 for the Class D hurdle events, with seniors grabbing one medal in the 100H and two in the 300H.


Macy Richardson was dominant in both races last season. She is returning with a 300H that is over a second faster than the second-best mark in 2021, and .20 faster in the 100H. She is also the defending champ in the triple jump. Carli Bailey of Ansley-Litchfield has a lifetime best of 46.52 from her freshman year in 2019, and she was a three-time medalist in 2021 with 7th in the 100H, 2nd in 300H and 2nd in the 400 (58.61).


A freshman last year, Madson Abbenhaus returns with PRs of 16.43 and 49.32. Abrielle Nelson, like her Wausau teammate Tyler Baue, only has athletic.net times from two 2021 meets, so we’re not quite sure how high her ceiling is in 2022.


Did you find any errors in this article? We know there are likely a few, so shoot us a DM on Twitter or Facebook, or e-mail us at jayslagle@hotmail.com. In addition, we have surprisingly few college commitments for throwers at our list at https://www.preprunningnerd.com/post/class-of-2022-commitment-list, so let us know if we've missed someone.


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Originally written for and posted at www.preprunningnerd.com by Patrick Grosserode and Jay Slagle.


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/.


Jay Slagle has none of those credentials. He’s kind of over-the-hill, was never that good at running in high school, and never considered competing in college. However, he loves running and has a very patient wife, and she lets him spend way too much time covering Nebraska high school T&F and cross country.

Did you love reading about Nebraska high school running? Visit www.preprunningnerd.com for rankings, results, photos, long-form articles, frequent updates 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, Instagram and TikTok, or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/preprunningnerd.

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