Contributor: The Nerd
Warning: This may be a one-day venture if exhaustion gets the best of me, but it's 5:00 a.m. and I'll do my best to recap events from Day 1 for those of you not following closely on Twitter. Between taking pictures, talking to folks and tweeting, it's fairly impossible for us to post to Facebook and Instagram during the day.
Results from Day 1 can be found here.
We post limited photos on Twitter throughout the meet day but the payoff for all of you will be sometime later when we post a lot of photos on Facebook. The Nerd family has some commitments immediately after State that may delay these uploads, but be patient; we take cool pics. Also note that we don't discriminate; our pics of Class D athletes will be just as cool as the Class A ones.
A big shout out to our man Jaden Gebeke, an Elkhorn High alum who has been helping us cover meets the last two weeks. His key role last week was to post live updates from Kearney's A-1 District, and this week he's shooting primarily the shot put on the upper level of Burke so that the weight specialists aren't overlooked. If you're looking for a ton of discus photos, we may disappoint you; that's just a really tough event in which to capture good pictures. We're trying.
The marquee matchup
Due to established meet calendars followed by Omaha Central and Lincoln Pius, we didn't see many head-to-head matchups of Jaylen Lloyd (Central junior) and Reece Grosserode (Pius soph) during the year. Wednesday did not disappoint. Grosserode popped off right away, going a wind-legal 49-00.50 to set a 14" PR on his first jump, go to 4th on the all-time Nebraska chart and set a new Class A State meet record. Lloyd went 48-01.50 on his 2nd jump and then won the title with a 3rd jump of 50-03.50. The wind was 2.7 during that jump, which is above the legal limit, so while Jaylen was 1.25" above Todd Brown's (Holdrege) record of 50-02.25 from 1978, Jaylen was not credited with the all-time or State meet record. With two such incredible jumpers, maybe it's fitting that one gets the State title and the other gets the State meet record.
Other jump news
Carsen Staehr of Aurora was arguably the Class B favorite after jumping 47-05 at Districts, but we expected a tight competition with Adam Dugger of McCook. It was. Both boys jumped 46-06 but Staehr got the gold with a better 2nd jump. McCook came in ranked 3, 4 and 6 in the event, and walked out with 2nd, 3rd and 6th place medals.
Lademi Davies of Westside has been picking up wins all season, and she captured the Class A long jump with a 19-06.25. She came into the meet sitting 6th on the all-time list at 19-07.25. We're told that her jump coach cried. We don't blame him.
Taylor Bredthauer of Norris is a sprint and jump specialist, and she showed her skills on Wednesday, going 17-09.75 to win. That's off her season-best of 18-09, but it was good enough to edge Keeli Green of Arlington by half an inch. Keeli was ranked second coming into State, and Karsyn Leeling of Sidney matched her #3 ranking with a 17-06 bronze medal.
We expected a monster match-up in the Class A shot between Sam Cappos (2nd) of Lincoln East and Nic Davis (3rd) of North Platte, but Matt Rink of LSW stole the show with a 58-05 win. Cappos tweeted afterwards that he had an injury during his 2nd throw of the day, and that may have kept him four feet below his PR.
Gage Griffith of Aurora has been dominating Class B shot, so his win at 57-04.50 wasn't unexpected. Jay Ballard of Boys Town's silver medal was; while he had thrown over 57-00 earlier in the year, the 57-02.25 was three feet more than his best effort in the last four weeks.
Madison Smith of Gothenburg had this season's best mark in Class B of 146-04, and she won the Class B title. Great marks in discus are often set on windy days, and Wednesday was not very windy. The Piper twins from Pierce took 2nd and 3rd, with Jozy topping Elly by 13".
Kat Beachler of Millard North has the season-best mark in Class A at 136-03, and she picked up the win at 133-10, nearly eight feet better than 2nd place Madison Adams of Lincoln East (who was also ranked 2nd this season). Kinsley Ragland of Lincoln North Star was the biggest surprise, moving from 10th on the season list to 4th at the meet. Sidney Reimer of Gretna also improved from 13th during the season to 7th at State.
Maria Kimpson is mortal... sort of
After setting PRs the last two weeks at Metros (12-05) and Districts (13-00), Maria Kimpson had to settle for a Class A State meet record of 12-06 and a gold medal on Wednesday. She's gone over 12-00 four of the last five meets and is headed to Colorado State.
Kennedy Stanley of Syracuse won the Class B title over Madeline Swanson of Beatrice; both had jumps at 11-06 but Stanley had fewer misses. Madeline has committed to UNO and plans to compete in... wait for it... mid-distance and distance. She competed in the PV, 4x800 and 400 on Wednesday and has the open 800 on Thursday.
The 3200 was a killer
At 12:00 we were told that Gabe Hinrichs would be shooting for Seth Hirsch's State record in the 3200, but it was significantly warmer when the race started around 5:15. He went out in 65/67 but noticeably backed off on the third lap, and then cruised to a 9:16.31. He won't get that record, but there's always a chance in the 800 or 1600 today. Carter Waters of Fremont lived up to his #2 ranking with a 9:22.01, and UNL-bound Grant Wasserman of North Star ran the race of his life to finish 3rd in 9:23. Fellow UNL commits Colby Erdkamp of Gretna and Sam Kirchner of MWest were the next two finishers.
The race of the day was the Class A girls 3200. Jaci Sievers and Elli Dahl both ran legs on their teams 4x800 about three hours earlier, and Sievers established a hard pace from the gun. Reminiscent of last year's Kaylie Crews/Dahl duel, Dahl was tucked in behind Sievers at what seemed an impossibly close distance for 2800 meters, leaving Sievers solely responsible for the pace. Sievers' mile split was 5:13,which might win the 1600 in some years, but the race was still tight at the bell lap. Sievers split a 76 in the last 400 compared to Dahl's 89, with Sievers winning in 10:27.74, good for #4 all time. Sievers is just a junior, while Dahl is headed to UNL in the fall.
The second best race of the day may have been the Class B boys 3200. Luke Bonifas of Adams Central, defending champ Mesuidi Ejerso of South Sioux and Ian Salazar-Molina of Lexington were the top three ranked runners coming into the meet, and they went hard from the gun. The 1600 split was around 4:52 and the three were together at the bell lap. Ejerso and Salazar-Molina had a great fight over the last 200 meters, with Ian winning by two seconds in 9:36.81.
But wait... the Class B girls 3200 was also awesome. Julia Karmazin of Elkhorn North won the title last year as a freshman, while York's Kassidy Stuckey was 5th in her debut season. The two girls took it out hard, splitting the 1600 at 5:37, with Stuckey on Karmazin's shoulder for much of the race. Stuckey is a 5:21 1600 runner, and that speed showed in the last 400. She won in 11:22 with a 81-second last lap; Karmazin ran an 86 to finish in 11:27. Madison Seiler of Gering outlasted Lindee Henning of Ogallala to earn the bronze; both girls also had exceptional XC seasons. The top four Class B girls are underclassmen.
We knew that the Fremont boys 4x800 team wouldn't include all four boys from the State record team, but weren't sure what the roster would be. Paulo Murrieta Torres ended up replacing Carter Waters, and they won the title with a 7:48.81. Millard West had a chance to close the gap on the last leg, but Braden Taylor hammered a 1:54.43 to hold off Jack Witte, who closed in 1:56.39 for a team time of 7:53.69.
Sidney's all senior 4x800 team captured the boys title in 7:56.63, Sidney's first-ever 4x800 title. Two of the boys had won State titles as freshman but the other two had not won titles, so this was especially sweet for that band of brothers. Of the four, only Mitch Deer plans to compete in college.
Fremont looked vulnerable in the girls 4x800 but they closed with Elli Dahl's 2:17 and Lucy Dillon's 2:12 to win in 9:17.34. Westside threw their four distance studs at the race and finished second in 9:18.66. Westside was in 6th place before Stella Miner started the last leg; she split an amazing 2:08.62 to give the Warriors the silver medal.
Elkhorn North defended their 2021 title in the Class B girls 4x800. Britt Prince and Sydney Stodden both went sub-2:20, and all four girls were under 2:28. That's how you win a title.
Things I heard and saw
We ran into San Jose State basketball coach Tim Miles on our way out of the stadium. Tim's son Gabe runs for Lincoln East and has a busy Thursday; he's in the 200 and 400 finals as well as the 4x400 relay.
Kate Campos of Lincoln Pius appeared to be making a hard run at the 300H State record in prelims. She was nearly a hurdle ahead of her heat but pushing it to the end; she might have gotten it if not for a hard hit of a hurdle in the middle of the race.
Keatyn Musiel of Lincoln East qualified for State in the long jump last Tuesday while battling a 102 temp and a stomach ache. The issues continued through Friday, and Friday night she had her appendix removed. She jumped 16-04 at State, less than five days post-op. Her dad is LNS coach Matt Musiel, and I caught him later in the day: "I'm proud of her. She could have quit. She loves the team and the sport too much to do that. By Monday she was ready to jump. Today she was ready to fight for a medal." Just a sophomore, Keatyn will be back for two more years.
The State meet needs hundreds of volunteers, so I asked someone who was the most interesting volunteer at the meet. He pointed me to Larry Rutar, one of the five starters. Larry became a track meet starter in 1973 when his AD told him that anyone could do it. Now retired, he previously taught and coached in Grand Island, and on Wednesday he had two former Walnut Junior High students among the five starters: Sara Sinani and Scott Beckler.
I found this cute fellar, Milo Driver, watching the Class A pole vault. Big sis Libby Driver of LSE was competing. Milo loves his sister but isn't sold on track and field; he's thinking he wants to play football at Nebraska. However, he's got vaulting in his genes; his dad, uncle, brother and quite a few other family members have had solid vault careers.
Jackson Kessler of Pius had a 6-02 high jump PR nine days ago and was just focused on hitting the auto-qualifier mark of 6-03 at Districts. Instead, he jumped 6-06 and won the District title, and then cleared 6-08 to win the Class A State title. His dad Jake also won a high jump title while at Pius, and he went on to jump at UNL.
It's late on the schedule on Thursday, but we still think the race of the meet may be the Class A girls 1600. Jaci Sievers, Elli Dahl, Brianna Rinn and Stella Miner have all run sub-5:00, and they all looked great on Wednesday.
The past two years I have a routine with Claire White's mom at key races. She tells me that Claire isn't going to do well, I reassure her, and then Claire pops off a great race. We didn't have that interaction on Wednesday, but Claire ran a beautifully strategic 3200, starting back in the pack but kicking for a 4th place finish.
Brianna Travis of LNS has been injured much of the year so she was pleased to qualify for the State 3200 after not racing until mid-April. She didn't medal on Wednesday but she did have an incredibly cute cheering section.
That's all, folks
I've got to get to a 7:30 work meeting, so I apologize for the typos and errors. Nerd Junior and Nerd the Third will fix them when they get up.
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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 on 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 and Instagram, or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/preprunningnerd.