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State days 1-2 Nerdsletter

Contributor: The Nerd

After two very long days, you might not get many brilliant things out of me at 5:30 in the morning, but I'll do my best in 60 minutes. Uncle Nerd isn't around to proofread so I apologize in advance for all the typos and errors.

First, the results

Here are the links to the final results

Boys: Kearney 78, Millard West 66, Lincoln Southeast 46.5

Girls: Westside 68, Papio South 66.5, LSW 55

The Class A boys title was clinched by Kearney prior to the 4x400 in which Millard West finished 4th (5 points) and Kearney finished 11th. It was Kearney's first win since their three-year run in 2012-2014. they also won in 2008-2009 and 1994-2004.

The Class A girls title was decided on the final event. Papio South led by 2.5 points over Omaha Westside, with both teams expected to field solid relay squads. Westside and Papio South were essentially tied for 4th place after the first two legs. Claire White ran her lap in 58.75 to put Westside in 2nd, roughly 30 meters behind the leader, and Stella Miner brought home the win in 55.79. While Westside's time of 3:55.08 won't get them the All-Class 4x400 gold, it was more than good enough to bring them their first-ever girls State championship.

Boys: Norris 103.33, Waverly 55, Skutt 53

Girls: Waverly 66, Elkhorn North 62, Sidney 57

Norris' boys title was driven by a mix of speed and endurance. The team had two medalists in the 100, 200, 110HH and 300IM, they won the 4x100 and 4x800, finished 2nd in the 4x400, Riley Boonstra swept the 1600 and 3200, Eli Holt finished 2nd in the two throws, and they had two medalists in the long jump.

It was expected to be a closer competition with Waverly but stud sprinter Braxton Smith was injured on Wednesday after qualifying for the 100 finals and winning the 400. He scratched from the late Friday night 200 prelims and then walked the 100 final, giving Waverly one point. Waverly's Aden Smith, who was ranked 5th in the Class B 200 headed into Districts, did not advance to the District final after finishing the Districts 100 with an apparent injury.

In the Class B girls race, Waverly led Elkhorn North 58 to 52 going into the final event, the 4x400. Team scores can get lost in the heat of the moment but, according to The Voice News reporter Nick Whyman, Waverly knew they needed to finish 4th or better to win the team title. While Elkhorn North's four girls crushed another Class B and All-Class record, running 3:51.63 to break Millard South's 2012 mark of 3:52.94, Waverly finished 2nd in 3:55.80 despite not having the services of their fastest 400 runner Alonna Depalma, who had already competed and medaled in four events.

A different perspective

Nerd Ricky Bobby's main role in the Nerd world has been to operate his drone during cross country season. On Thursday he put a microphone on Carolyn White (mother of Claire White) and Anna Miner (mother of Stella Miner) as they watched the 4x400 race that clinched Westside's first-ever team title. Carolyn has been one of my track favorite parents for the past four years but Ricky Bobby found her without my help. If you want to see the nerves of a parent, watch this video on our YouTube channel.

Hats off to the NSAA

Wednesday was a difficult day with one rain-free lightning delay and then a much longer thunderstorm delay which resulted in the final event, the 200 prelims, finishing around 9:30 p.m. In our opinion, the NSAA and its team did an outstanding job of communicating the delays and the return from the delays, allowing the athletes ample time to get warmed up for their post-delay events.

On a related note, I mentioned in Tuesday's Nerdsletter that the NSAA and photographers don't always see eye-to-eye on where photographers can sit during the long jump and triple jump. While this year's solution still isn't what it was in the pre-COVID era, it's better than the past three years, and the temperature in the room (er, stadium) has decreased dramatically. That's good for everyone, including the athletes.

Quick hits

If you follow our social media accounts you may have caught most of these items, but here's a recap of things we found interesting:

  • Sam Edmonds of Wahoo finished 3rd in the Class B pole vault competition, breaking the school record twice on Thursday before topping out with a final successful vault of 14-06. A senior, he had never vaulted before this season.

  • The expected brilliant races between Juan Gonzalez and Jack Witte might have been the highlight of the meet if you're a distance Nerd like me. Gonzalez (4:08.61, 8:56.34) pulled away late from Witte (4:11.05, 9:00.32) to win the 1600 and 3200, while Jack (1:52.65) edged Juan (1:53.50) to win the 800. In the 4x800, Jack split 1:52.66 to anchor Millard West's win while Juan led off Fremont's 6th-place finish with a 1:55.19. All 24 boys in the Class A 3200 race finished in under 10:00 on Wednesday night. Randy Speer of the Fremont Tribune reported that the top seven times in the 3200 were faster than 35 of the 43 All-Class gold performances since 1980. Remember, Juan is just a junior and 13 of the sub-10:00 guys from Wednesday are underclassmen.

  • We saw the same great matchups in Class B. While Riley Boonstra of Norris defended his 1600 (4:14.01) and 3200 (9:08.10) titles, it wasn't easy. Austin Carrera, a junior at Hastings, ran 4:15.28 to finish 2nd in the 1600 and 4th in the 3200 in 9:14.53. Skutt's Tommy Rice ran 9:10.09 for 2nd in the 3200, 2nd in the 800 in 1:52.74 and 4th in the 1600 in 4:19.14. Braden Lofquest won the All-Class gold in the 800 with his 1:51.67 and finished 3rd in the 3200 (9:13.00) and 5th in the 1600 (4:19.36). The best part? Lofquest, Rice and Carrera are only juniors.

  • The UNL distance program is getting quite the trio next fall with Jack Witte, Riley Boonstra and Prep's Denny Chapman (1:55.81, 4:16.38, 9:10.03 and 1:54.90 4x800 split in two days).

  • Papio LaVista's Jesse Malone repeated as the Class A 110HH champ, running 13.91. He hasn't lost a 110HH finals race in the last two seasons.

  • Ellie Thomas of Norris won the Class B 800 in 2:08.02 to set the Class B State and State meet record, surpassing the 2:08.84 ran by Alice Schmidt of Elkhorn in 1999. To put that record into context, Alice went on to run at the University of North Carolina before competing at one indoor Worlds, three outdoor Worlds and two Olympic games. So... Ellie ran faster than THAT Alice Schmidt.

  • If you ever wondered why there are four official starters at the State meet, it's because they all have important jobs at the start of each race. One such role is to call back a distance race if there's a fall on the first curve, which is exactly what happened in the 2nd heat of the Class A boys 800. Despite this big fall, Zander Carson-Koestner of Elkhorn South shook it off and, after just a few minutes to get settled, ran a 1:58.63, just off his PR of 1:58.01. I've fallen on training runs before; it is really hard to run, let alone race, after that happens.

  • Steve Doran's Class B State Meet record from 1981 finally fell on Thursday when Riley Boonstra won the 1600 in 4:14.01. Doran had the overall Class B record of 4:16.62 until this season when it was broken first by Braden Lofquest, then Tommy Rice, and then Riley.

  • Coaches lose a lot of sleep prior to Districts and State trying to figure out how to maximize team points, and that's particularly true when you have a generational talent like Stella Miner. Last week Jon Preister of Westside shared with me a Google spreadsheet that evaluated the different scenarios for how to use Stella's talents. He landed on the 400 (2nd place), 800 (1st), 1600 (1st) and 4x400 (1st), keeping her off the State-record 4x800 team that finished 5th. Stella (4:47) and Claire White (4:55) were the top two 1600 runners this season, and they seemed to be purposely sitting on the pace through 800 meters, leading a pack of thirteen girls who split 2:38-2:40. They turned up the screws after that, finishing in 2:20 and 2:22 to take 1st and 2nd. The early pace may have helped them run their best in the 4x400 a few hours later.

  • Reece Ewoldt of Blair didn't compete in the 1600 as a freshman or sophmore. Last year as a junior, she had a season-best of 5:34. On Thursday she captured the Class B title with 4:53.87, her second sub-5:00 of the season. She also finished second at State in the 3200, running a 23-second PR of 10:46. She had never raced the 3200 before April 4th.

  • Speaking of trying new things, sophomore Nathan Axmann of Waverly didn't go out for track as a freshman and had never long jumped in high school until April 12th. He was not on the top-15 list for Class B for results through Districts but he won the Class B title with a leap of 21-06.25, just 4 inches below the PR he set at Districts. This was his first high school victory of his very short career.

  • Ethan Baessler of Blair is really, really good. He repeated as the Class B 100/200 champ.

  • Asher Jenkins of Bellevue West was one of many State medalists who were active over the winter indoor season, and he showed out this week by winning the 100, 200, and 400. Each win was a PR for him. He told me in February that he was switching his commitment from North Dakota football to Air Force track, and it's pretty easy to see the love he has for running.

  • Sam Thomas of Elkhorn North won the Class B shot put and then put a bow on it by setting the Class B State Meet record with a 64-05.5 on his final throw. If you haven't seen Sam... he is a seriously big man.

  • Kat Beachler won the Class A shot put with her throw of 46-07. Her mom, Lisa Charles (Lisa Beachler), won the 1999 All-Class gold while aunt Becky Beachler won the 1996 and 1997 All-Class golds and holds the All-Class State record of 52-09.25.

Well done, seniors

Every now and then we get to follow the child of a high school friend.

Today was her last race at Burke, the last race of a career.

Well done, Natalie and all the rest of the seniors. Whether you won or lost, were healthy or injured, you always ran with your heart.

Time to shower

I could write for another two hours but I need to shower and get to Burke for Day 3. If I didn't write about you, it's not because I don't love you. I simply ran out of time.


It's no secret we take a lot of photos - you've probably seen us at one or more of the 115 meets we shot before this week.  We take so many photos that we don't plan to post them until four weeks after State.  Our Nerds needs a rest – and a lot of time to edit photos.  If you're still waiting on District photos, the State JH meet or somewhere else where you know we were, please be patient.  We're all volunteers, we have real jobs and we're really tired. 


First published at by Jay Slagle on May 17, 2024. If you find an error, shoot us an e-mail at and we'll get it fixed.

Like this coverage of the Nebraska track and field scene? There's more of this at Check out the Blog tab for our frequent stories and and the Results tab for every Nebraska high school race we can find. If you want to see meet photos or just need to kill a few hours on social media, follow us on Twitter and Instagram @PrepRunningNerd or on Facebook at

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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