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NE high school sprints preview

Updated: Mar 15

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 teamed with Patrick Grosserode, the owner of the Trackville training facility in Lincoln, to write previews of the field events and hurdles, while the Nerd team tackled the sprints and distance events. You can find more of our season preview articles on our blog at www.preprunningnerd.com/blog.


Class A Boys

100 returning medalists

· Lesley Richardson, Bellevue West – 10.88

· Dominic Sedlacek, Gretna – 10.91


200 returning medalists

· None


400 returning medalists

· Tyson Baker, Fremont – 50.36 (3rd)

· Asher Jenkins, Bellevue West – 50.57

· Micah Moore, Fremont – 51.58


Graduation decimated the ranks of returning medalists in Class A boys in the 100 and 200, more so than any other class, although the Class C girl returners are limited as well. Devon Jackson of Omaha Burke, an Oregon football commit, was expected to be back but graduated in December to begin preparing for football, so the title in the 100 and 200 is wide open. Lesley Richardson of Bellevue West was 5th in the 100 and 11th in the 200 in 2021, as well as 9th in the 4x100. Dominic Sedlacek was 6th in the 100 and 10th in the 200 last May. He has shown good form over the winter, running 7.07 in the 60 (0.06 behind Jack Gillogly’s winter’s best) and he had the second-fastest 200 in 23.03, which is no small feat given the tight curves of a 200-meter track.


Jack Gillogly of Creighton Prep has been the surprise of the winter. After focusing almost entirely on the 300H last spring, in which he finished 11th at State, he’s been tearing up the sprint events this winter. He’s had some tight races with Eli Alaga of Millard South in the College of St. Mary meets, running Nebraska’s fastest winter time of 7.01. Jack also has the winter’s fastest 200 in 22.60. Jack didn’t run the 60H this winter, so it will be interesting to see if he competes in the hurdles or sticks with the sprints. Alaga finished 13th at State in the 100, and was also on Millard South’s 3rd-place 4x100 and 14th-place 4x400 teams.


Ty Dingman of Westside has also had a strong winter, running 7.04 and 23.45, after finishing 14th last year. Beni Ngoyi of Lincoln High ran 7.05 this winter after finishing 7th in the TJ and 9th in the HJ last May. Other medal contenders in the 100 and/or 200 include Kaden Miller of Kearney, AJ Jones and TJ Nissen of Prep, multi-sport athlete Malachi Coleman of Lincoln East, Wesley Okafor of Westside, and Logan Stroup of LSW.


In contrast to other classes, there isn’t much crossover from the 200 to the 400 in Class A boys. The top three medalists from 2021 have graduated but 16 of 24 qualifiers return. Tyson Baker (UNK) of Fremont is the fastest returner, and his 2:01.98 over the winter suggests he’s already fit. Asher Jenkins of Bellevue West and Micah Moore of Fremont also return but do not have times from the winter. Gabe Miles of Lincoln East, who finished 19th at State last year in 52.86, had the winter’s best mark of 51.95 on a 200-meter track – which suggests he’ll go much faster in outdoors. Christian Lanphier of Prep finished 14th last year and ran 53.17 this winter. Nicholas Patzel of Pius was 9th last year, while teammate James Dalton ran 53.43 this winter. Other medal contenders include Caleb Mulder of Columbus, Tommy Eichman of Millard North, Wesley Okafor of Westside and Marquis Tolliver of Prep.


Class A Girls

100 returning medalists

· Dajaz DeFrand, Lincoln High – 11.73 (1st)

· Lademi Davies, Westside – 12.05

· Zakeirah Johnson, Omaha Burke – 12.29

· Neryah Hekl, Lincoln High – 12.36

· Alahna Davis, Omaha Central – 12.70


200 returning medalists

· Dajaz DeFrand, Lincoln High – 24.53 (1st)

· Zakeirah Johnson, Omaha Burke – 25.63

· Tania Gleason, Fremont – 25.88


400 returning medalists

· Sadie Millard, Millard West – 57.73

· Brooke Rose, Gretna – 59.81

· Jaeden Webb, Lincoln North Star – 1:00.82


No disrespect to the other competitors, but Dajaz DeFrand of Lincoln is the cream of the crop here. The Florida State commit won the State 100 by 0.32 and the 200 by .79, and she had the leading times over the winter in 7.48 (60) and 24.67 (200). She has an outdoor PR of 24.36, so the 24.67 on a 200-meter track suggests she’s improved since last year. Zakeirah Johnson of Burke was fantastic as a freshman, finishing 4th in the 100 and 3rd in the 200, and she had Nebraska’s second-fastest 60 and 200 times over the winter. Lademi Davies won the Metros 200 in 24.85 and is an elite long jumper; she plans to add the triple jump to her repertoire this spring and was a key part of Westside relays last year, so the Westside coaches may have a difficult time deciding what four events she’ll compete in at Districts.


Tania Gleason (UNO) of Fremont had a solid winter, running 8.09 in the 60 and 27.10 in the 200. She was 11th last May in the 100 and should be a medal contender in both the 100 and 200. Chloe Green of Westside has PRs of 12.48 and 26.37 and should be in the mix. Amari Lang, the superb jumper from Millard South, has a 12.52 PR but did not qualify for the 100 finals last May. There are a number of other athletes who could make noise in the 100/200, including Kate Campos of Pius (16th last year), Ella Cooper and Sydney Glause of Fremont, Kashae Harbour of Omaha North, Zainab Funnah of Lincoln High and Zaidah Lightener of Papio South.


Lauren Harris and Kate Dilsaver have graduated, but 14 of 24 2021 qualifiers return in the 400. Kate Campos of Pius didn’t run a 400 all of 2021 but had the fastest winter time in 59.70, quite a feat on a 200-meter track. Sadie Millard (Wichita State) of Millard West was the 2021 bronze medalist and should be considered the favorite. However, Lucy Dillon, who finished 10th at State, also has a PR of 57.73 and should be fit after swimming from Fremont all winter. Brooke Rose of Gretna and Jaedan Webb of Lincoln Northeast (previously LNS) will be medal contenders again. Other top returners include Elise Madden of Elkhorn South, Maddie Mactaggart of Millard West, Vivian Dalton of Pius, and Iowa basketball commit Taylor McCabe of Fremont.


Class B Boys

100 returning medalists

· Cooper Hausmann, Norris – 10.94 (2nd)

· Dylan Mostek, Bennington – 10.95 (3rd)

· Waylon Sherman, Wahoo – 11.03 (4th)


200 returning medalists

· Cooper Hausmann, Norris – 22.53 (4th)

· Tony Murray, Boys Town – 22.82

· Dylan Mostek, Bennington – 23.05


400 returning medalists

· Conner Wells, St. Paul – 49.25 (1st)

· Ezra Stewart, Platteview - 49.84

· AJ Heffelfinger, Waverly – 50.48

· Mitchell Rudie, Platteview – 50.50

· Rylan Birkby, St. Paul – 50.84


Will Armatys of Waverly swept the 100 and 200 titles, and seniors took 15 of the top 19 spots in the 100 last season. In the 200, only 9 of 23 qualifiers return. However, the returners still have their share of high-level talent. The separation in PRs between Hausmann (10.91/22.53), Mostek (10.87/22.55) and Sherman (Wayne State, 10.96/22.64) is exceptionally small, but Tony Murray of Boys Town has an even faster PR in the 200 (11.14/22.33/51.50). The top Class B boy over the winter season was Trevor Ozenbaugh of Norris, who ran 7.19 (60) and 23.92 (200). Hank Kroger of Elkhorn has PRs of 11.13/22.72 and finished 11th (100) and 10th (200) last May. The 100 and 200 races are wide open this year; while we like the guys listed above, we expect some boys who didn’t qualify in 2021 will be medalists in 2022.


The three-day schedule implemented in 2021 will continue to be followed in 2022, and it’s a huge challenge for athletes to sweep the 400 and 800. Conner Wells was able to do it, running 49.25 and 1:55.72. Conner had an up-and-down XC season before finishing 10th at State, and we expect him to be motivated this spring before he heads off to compete at UNK. Ezra Stewart has PRs of 23.17 and 49.83 but did not compete in the 200 at State. AJ Hefflelfinger has a PR of 50.28 and split 49.97 in the 4x400 at State, while Mitchell Rudie set his 50.50 PR in the State final. Rylan Birkby has PRs of 11.22/23.42 and 50.84, but his best event may be the 300 hurdles, in which he finished 3rd last May. Tony Murray of Boys Town, Cole Murray of Waverly, Chase Wiegert of Northwest (finished 15th as a freshman) and Devon Carel of Fairbury will also be in medal contention.


Class B Girls

100 returning medalists

· RaeAnn Thompson, Falls City – 12.16 (1st)

· Reese Beemer, Blair – 12.42

· Avyn Urbanski, Northwest – 12.56

· Samantha Roby, Northwest – 12.57

· Morgan Mahoney, Beatrice – 12.59

· Ella Dalton, Elkhorn – 12.65

· Makaia Baker, Cozad – 12.71


200 returning medalists

· RaeAnn Thompson, Falls City - 25.36 (1st)

· Samantha Roby, Northwest – 25.59

· Reese Beemer, Blair – 25.67

· Zelie Sorenson, O’Neill – 25.72

· Taylor Bredthauer, Norris – 25.75

· Avyn Urbanski, Northwest – 25.95

· Shawna Wilkinson, McCook – 26.14


400 returning medalists

· Shawna Wilkinson, McCook – 57.59 (1st)

· Sydney Stodden, Elkhorn North – 58.30

· Rebecca Mader, Northwest – 58.41

· Makaia Baker, Cozad – 58.41

· Payton Burda, Scottsbluff - 59.99

· Talissa Tanquary, Sidney – 1:00.00


The Nerd has a soft spot for RaeAnn Thompson of Falls City, the defending champion in the 100/200; he was a HS classmate of RaeAnn’s father, who was an outstanding triple jumper. Brittney Aitken of Cozad was Thompson’s closest competition in both races, and she’s also the only medalist in either race to graduate. Nineteen qualifiers return in the 100 and twenty return in the 200. While Thompson remains the favorite, the gap to the rest of the field is exceptionally small. Look for Reese Beemer, Avyn Urbanski and Samantha Roby to lead a talented group of girls who aim to dethrone Thompson. Taylor Bredthauer could earn the most medals of these competitors in 2022: in 2021 she was 2nd in the long jump, 6th in the 200 and 14th in the 100.


The 400 field is almost as deep, with six medalists and 17 qualifiers returning. Shawna Wilkinson is a 200/400 specialist, while Sydney Stodden finished 2nd in the 400 and 3rd in the 800 during her freshman campaign. Talissa Tanquary also medaled in both the 400/800 during her freshman year, and followed that up with an impressive 4th place finish at State XC. Makaia Baker of Cozad, Blake Barcel of Columbus Lakeview and Reece Ewoldt of Blair were also freshmen in the top 10, so look for their growth this year. Rebecca Mader is one of our four returners with sub-59:00 races (twice), and Payton Burda broke the one-minute barrier for the first time during the 2021 finals.


Class C Boys

100 returning medalists

· Connor Bradley, Southern – 10.73 (1st)

· Koa McIntyre, Fremont Bergan – 10.95

· Gage Steinke, GICC – 11.01

· Josh Jessen, Yutan, 11.04

· Logan Bokemper, Wakefield – 11.22

· Cade Hosier, Elmwood-Murdock - 11.24 (3rd in Class D)


200 returning medalists

· Connor Bradley, Southern – 22.10 (1st)

· Caden Denker, David City – 22.40

· Josh Jessen, Yutan – 22.70

· Koa McIntyre, Fremont Bergan – 22.71

· Brayton Johnson, GICC – 22.90

· Gage Steinke, GICC – 23.11

· Cade Hosier, Elmwood- Murdock – 23.06 (6th in Class D)


400 returning medalists

· Connor Bradley, Southern – 49.67 (1st)

· Brayton Johnson, GICC – 50.06

· Logan Lebo, Lincoln Lutheran – 50.87

· Caden Denker, David City – 50.95

· Dane Miller, Superior – 51.38


Twelve qualifiers return in the 100 and eleven in the 200, but most of Class C’s best talent is back. Connor Bradley of Southern was a triple winner, squeaking out 100 and 200 titles over now-graduated Jackson Clausen of Norfolk Catholic, winning by 0.05 and 0.01, and winning the 400 by 0.20 over 800 gold medalist Holden Ruse. The gap to the 3rd place finisher in each race was much larger, so Connor is the favorite to repeat in 2022. Koa McIntyre has PRs of 10.90/22.14, while Gage Steinke has gone 10.98/22.43 and earned four medals last year in the 100, 200 and two sprint relays. Josh Jessen seems to be a contender for at least one a bronze with his PRs of 11.04 and 22.35. Cade Hosier found great success in Class D last year – 3rd in the 100 (11.24), 6th in the 200 (23.06), and in the triple jump and long jump. Elmwood-Murdock has been reclassified to Class C this year, so he’ll have some new challenges this year.


Thirteen qualifiers return in the 400. Brayton Johnson and Caden Denker will both be tough competitors in the 200 and 400, while Logan Lebo will likely compete in the 400 and 800. Logan was 5th in the 400 and 3rd in the 800 last May as a freshman, and also finished 13th at the State XC meet last fall.


Class C Girls

100 returning medalists

· Adrianna Rodencal, Lincoln Lutheran – 12.36 (1st)

· Avery Couch, David City – 12.77

· Savannah Home, Centennial – 12.81


200 returning medalists

· Ella Gardner, Superior – 26.41 (5th)

· Jenna Rauert, Wood River 26.68 (7th)


400 returning medalists

· Bryn McNair, Chase County – 57.16 (1st)

· Jordan Metzler, Wakefield – 58.59

· Lane Kathol, Cedar Catholic – 58.99

· Hadley Cheatum, Summerland – 1:00.64

· Kali Jurgensmeier, Wahoo Neumann – 1:00.82

· Jill Parr, Hastings St. Cecilia – 1:01.58



Fourteen of 24 qualifiers return in the 100, but seniors took 2nd through 6th place in 2021. Adrienna Rodencal (Concordia), who also swept the 2021 hurdles races and the 4x100, is a huge favorite in the 100 after her strong winter season. Seniors took six of eight medals in the 200, so the medal fight in that race is wide open. Among the athletes who didn’t medal in the 100/200 last year, look for Jordyn Carr of TriCounty to be in the mix: she places 9th in the 100, 15th in the 200, 3rd in the long jump and 7th in the 4x400. Josie Noble (Concordia) qualified for the 200,400, 300 hurdles and triple jump in 2021 and should be a factor in 2022. Kate Leimbach of Lincoln Lutheran was 14th in the 200 and 15th in the 100. Eight through 14th place in the 100 was separated by 0.08 seconds, so expect a tight finish this year as well.


Unlike the 100 and 200, the 400 field comes back strong with 17 qualifiers returning, including 10 of the top 12. The top three finishers from 2021 are back and are the only returnees to break the minute barrier. In 2021, McNair won the 400, was 2nd in the 800, 3rd in the high jump and 1st in the 4x400. As a freshman, Metzler was 2nd in the 400, 4th in the 300 hurdles, and also qualified in the long jump and triple jump. Kathol was 3rd in the 400, 4th in the 800 and competed in the 4x400 and 4x800. In a previous article, we already called out Jurgensmeier as a future collegiate pentathlete after she earned medals in the 400, 300 hurdles and triple jump last year, and was one spot from a medal in the high jump. We expect it will take at least a sub-1:01 to medal, and possibly below 1:00.5.


Class D Boys

100 returning medalists

· Isaiah Zelasney, Osceola – 11.02 (1st, soph)

· Brody Krusemark, Pender – 11.42

· Jackson Waldo, Chambers – 11.48

· Caleb Busch, Burwell – 11.16 (7th in Class C)


200 returning medalists

· Isaiah Zelasney, Osceola – 22.19 (1st)

· Jaden Emerson, Mullen – 22.97

· Gabe Escalante, Winside – 22.99

· Dillon Miller, Brady – 23.44

· William Kulhanek, Overton – 23.49


400 returning medalists

· Isaiah Zelasney, Osceola – 50.69

· Charlie Scroeder, Wynot – 52.01

· Gabe Escalante, Winside – 52.03

· Alex Pierce, East Butler – 52.89

· Lance Vasa, Arthur County – 53.03


At least 13 of 24 qualifiers return in all three sprint events. As a sophomore, Isaiah Zelasney was a beast at the 2021 State meet, sweeping the 100, 200 and 400, and running on the 4x400 title team. Cade Hosier of Elmwood-Murdock would have been his closest competition this year in the 100, but Elmwood-Murdock has been moved to Class C this year. It’s a bit difficult to evaluate returners because so many of them have incomplete results; for example, Krusemark’s athletic.net profile has only his State results. Top returners include Krusemark (11.39 PR), Waldo (11.34), Dillon Miller of Brady (11.32/22.95), Gabe Escalante of Winside (11.52/22.99/51.92 with very limited data), Jaden Emerson of Mullen (22.97) and Grant Walker of Wauneta-Palisade (11.35/23.33). The wild card is William Kulhanek of Overton (11.4/23.46), who placed 8th in the 200 as a freshman and also had top-4 finishes in the long jump and triple jump. Another year of maturity may make him dangerous.


While Elmwood-Murdock moves up to C, Burwell is moving down to D, and that will have an impact on medals. Caleb Busch, now a senior at Burwell, has PRs of 11.16 and 22.77. We’re not sure if he’ll challenge Zelasney, but he has the second fastest PRs of the returnees.


Charlie Schroeder (Wesleyan) of Wynot is the second fastest returner in the 400, and he qualified in 2021 in the 200, 400 and 4x400. Alex Pierce of East Butler ran 52.89 in the State prelims and finals, and looks like he could qualify in the 100 and 200 if he improves a bit this year. Lance Vasa of Arthur County ran 52.65 in prelims and ran sub-54:00 in the five meets that are listed on athletic.net. Alexx Winklemann of Osceola just missed the 400 finals last year with a 52.91, and he placed 7th in the 800 with a 2:05.41.


Class D Girls

100 returning medalists

· Camryn Kocian, East Butler – 12.73 (2nd)

· Alexandra Eisenhauer, Bloomfield – 12.73

· Neleigh Poss, Central Valley – 12.75

· Dakotah Ludemann, Sterling – 12.85

· Kiarra Fennell, Friend – 12.91


200 returning medalists

· Neliegh Poss, Central Valley – 26.27 (2nd)

· Alexandra Eisenhauer, Bloomfield – 26.56

· Emma Blum, Omaha Christian Academy – 26.61

· Camryn Kocian, East Butler – 26.68

· Krystal Sudbeck, Wynot – 27.17

· Dakotah Ludemann, Sterling – 27.81

· Kiarri Fennell, Friend – 28.47


400 returning medalists

· Carli Bailey, Ansley-Litchfield – 58.61 (2nd)

· Kiarra Fennell, Friend – 1:00.78

· Maeli Meier, Overton – 1:01.39

· Kendar Pinkelman, Wynot – 1:01.41

· Paige Beller, Humphrey-Lindsay Holy Family – 1:02.15


Last year’s champions have gone on to bigger and better things. Ashley Ostrand of Pender, who won the 100 and 200, now runs for Nebraska Omaha. Allison Weidner of Humphrey St. Francis won the 400 and 800, and now she’s a huge part of the Nebraska women’s basketball success this season. However, at least 16 qualifiers return in each race, including 2nd through 6th in the 100, all but Ostrand in the 200, and 5 of the medalists in the 400.


Camryn Kocian of East Butler is now a junior and has PRs of 12.73/26.41, both at State, while Alexandra Eisenhauer (Concordia) of Bloomfield has PRs of 12.73/25.89 (and a medal-contending 16.41 in the hurdles). Neleigh Poss (Concordia) of Central Valley earned 2021 medals in the 100 (4th), 200 (2nd), high jump (2nd) and 4x100 (7th), and her PRs of 12.75 and 26.27 make her a co-favorite for both titles. Dakotah Lundemann of Sterling has limited athletic.net data but has the best returning PR of 12.65, and her 27.24 prelim mark is also solid. Kiarra Fennell of Friend medaled in all three events, earning a 6th, 8th and 5th. Emma Blum of OCA dropped her times from the 28’s in late April to sub-27.00 at State, so she may continue to improve. Krystal Sudbeck was on the state champion 4x100 team for Wynot, but that’s about all the information we have for her.


In the 400, Carli Bailey was the runner-up last year, and she also placed 2nd in the 300 hurdles and 7th in the 100 hurdles. Bailey is also appears to be the only returner who has a PR under 60 seconds. Maeli Meier was 6th in the 400, 2nd in the 800, and also qualified in the 4x400 and 4x800. Kendar Pinkleman of Wynot was 7th in the 400, first in the 4x100 and 4x400, and 7th in the 4x800.


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 Jay Slagle.


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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