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NE high school high jump preview

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 from Patrick Grosserode, the owner of the Trackville training facility in Lincoln. We expected a paragraph on each event; instead, Patrick wrote an entire article for each discipline. Patrick is uniquely qualified to opine on the current state of field events, and we'll thrilled to work with him. Here is Patrick's preview of the high jump:


The high jump and discus are perhaps the two most difficult events to prevent, primarily because the winter indoor season sheds little light on the progress made since last spring. Many of the best high jumpers devote their winters to basketball, and the Nerd team couldn’t find 10 jumpers who cleared 5’ over the winter.


Class A Boys

Returning Medalists

· Matthew Dunaski, 6-04.00 - Lincoln North Star

· Will Vanderbeek, 6-04.00 - Kearney


Reid Nelson has moved on to the University of Nebraska after a long reign as champion in the high jump. This field is wide open for the taking. Matthew Dunaski (US Naval Academy) has been working hard this winter and has looked consistent; he’s also a middle-distance runner who ran a 1:58.9 800 last year and placed 27th at State cross country. North Star teammate Max Koebernick could also factor into the medal picture this season with an indoor clearance of 6-04. Will Vanderbeek of Kearney has been scoring in double-digits for the Bearcats basketball team for much of the season, so the start of his track season may be delayed. Also keep an eye on Lincoln High Junior Beni Ngoyi, who placed 9th at State and had a 6’3” PR last season. Jessie Cauble has transferred from Skutt to Millard West, so he could make an impact.


Class A Girls

Returning Medalists

· Bianca Martinez – 5-06.00, Omaha Central

· Alyssa Peoples, 5-04.00 - Omaha Burke

· Tasia Sadler, 5-04.00 - Lincoln Northeast

· Ali Jacobs, 5-02.00 - Lincoln North Star

· Morgan Glaser, 5-02.00 - Papillion-La Vista


Martinez placed second behind Creighton volleyball phenom Norah Sis at 2021 Metros, Districts and State despite jumping 5’6” in two of those three meets, so she enters 2022 as the favorite. Alyssa Peoples had a strong summer season and an indoor PR of 5-04.25. Sadler, Jacobs and Glaser all medaled as freshman in 2021, and Sadler and Jacobs have PRS of 5’4”. In addition, Carly Ries (Norfolk) and Rachael Chambers (Millard North) are two more freshmen who were in the top 12 at 2021 State, so the next few years could feature some strong performances.


Class B Boys

Returning Medalists

· Jacob Dowse, 6-08.00 - Sidney

· Cooper Hausmann, 6-04.00 - Norris


After missing his freshman season due to the pandemic, Jacob Dowse had a PR of 6’2” last spring before jumping 6’5”, 6’4”, 6’6” and 6’8” over his last four meets. He will be the man to beat this season with a PR far above the rest of the field. Cooper Hausmann, 8th last year and a Nebraska football commit, is a contender in the 100/200 and has the athletic ability to clear a big bar. Breck Samuelson of Adams Central has a PR of 6’3” and was just outside the medals at State, while Brad Agostino (UNK) from Skutt is looking to make gains.


Class B Girls

Returning Medalists

· Kailynn Gubbels, 5-08.00 - Arlington

· Karsyn Leeling, 5-06.00 - Sidney

· Tatum Bailey, 5-04.00 - Chadron

· Sarah Spahr, 5-04.00 - Milford

· Brooke Meyer, 5-02.00 - Seward


Kailynn Gubbles (Iowa State) comes in a with a PR of 5’10” and will be tough to beat this year. She had a small injury during volleyball but has been working hard this winter and will be looking for all-class golds in the hurdle events. Karsyn Leeling had a PR of 5’8” in the high jump at 17’7.5” in the long jump during her freshman year. Tatum Bailey has a PR of 5’5” and also finished 4th in the Class B triple jump.


Class C Boys

Returning Medalists

· Carter Nelson, 6-08.00 - Ainsworth

· Micah Biltoft, 6-04.00 - Sandy Creek

· Myles Sadd, 6-04.00 - Doniphan-Trumbull

· Trajan Arbuck, 6-04.00 - Heartland Community

· Jake Bargen, 6-02.00 - Centennial

· Isaac Herbek, 6-02.00 - Grand Island Central Cath


Carter Nelson is the returning state champion and owned the high jump last season as a freshman. He had 3 meets at 6-08 and a PR of 6-08.25. Biltoft and Sadd both have PRs 6’5” while Herbek and 9th place finisher Mason Combs of Wilber-Clatonia have both jumped 6’3”. Look for a tight competition beyond Nelson.


Class C Girls

Returning Medalists

· Bryn McNair, 5-04.00 - Chase County

· Brianna Russell, 5-04.00 - Southern Valley

· Sydney Davis, 5-02.00 - Centura

· Chloe Hanel, 5-02.00 - Clarkson/Leigh

· Nikia Williams, 5-02.00 - Burwell


This is a wide-open field with four girls (McNair, Russell, Davis, Jurgensmeier) with lifetime bests of 5-04. McNair was the most consistent of that group, clearing 5’4” at five different meets last spring. She also placed 1st in the 400 and 4x400 and 2nd in the 800, helping Chase County capture the girls’ team title. Kali Jurgensmeier of Wahoo Neumann may be the most decorated athlete in the field. While she finished 9th in the high jump at State, she was 3rd in the 300 hurdles, 4th in the triple jump and 6th in the 400. Only six of the 25 State qualifiers in 2021 were seniors, so a lot of talent returns.


Class D Boys

Returning Medalists

· Tanner Pfeifer, 5-11.00 - St Francis

· Hayden Kramer, 5-09.00 - Medicine Valley

· Jackson Kerchal, 5-09.00 - Dundy County Stratton

· Trey Kennedy, 5-09.0 - Kenesaw

· Caleb Munson, 5-09.00 – NP St Patrick


If we recall correctly, the Class D boys high jump was contested during a rainy morning session on Day 1, and that certainly impacted the results. Tanner Pfeifer has a lifetime best of 6-03 and should set the pace in the class D race this season. Hayden Kramer (junior this season) and Jackson Kerchal (sophomore) both had PRs of 6’1” last season. With only 12 State qualifiers returning this year, the race for a medal is wide open.


Class D Girls

Returning Medalists

· Andrea Sucha, 5-01.00 - Niobrara/Verdigre 5-01.00

· Paige Klumpe, 4-11.00 - Cambridge

· Neliegh Poss, 4-11.00 - Central Valley

· Joslynn Donahey, 4-11.00 - Palmer

· Zoey Walker, 4-11.00 - Osceola

· Reagan Nordhausen, 4-11.00 - Axtell

· McKenna Yates, 4-11.00 - McCool Junction


Seven out of eight medalists are back this season, and last year’s State event had plenty of parity: the 2nd through 9th places all cleared 4’11”, and the next six cleared 4’9”. Out of the 20 girls who qualified for State in 2021, a whopping 17 are returning. McKenna Yates has the highest PR of any returner at 5’2”, while Sucha, Klumpe, Poss and Donahey have all cleared 5’1”. Flip a coin on this one – there are at least eight girls in the running for the gold medal.


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.

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/.

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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