A terrific day allowed many of the state’s best to post some terrific marks less than one month before the state meet.
With a negligible wind and temperatures in the 50s, the Nebraska Track and Field Festival at Papillion-La Vista’s Foundation Field produced a handful of state-leading times Thursday.
Elkhorn South senior Alex Nelson, who won the 200 meters and finished second in the 400, said this was the type of day every athlete has been hoping for since the start of preseason workouts in late February.
“This is one of those days you dream about in track and field,” Nelson said. “Not a big headwind, it’s really nice out and great competition here. It’s awesome to get to go against some of these people from other classes that I haven’t been able to run against before.”
The ideal conditions helped Loomis senior Skylar Hadley to a Class D state record in the 300-meter hurdles and her second gold medal of the meet.
Hadley won in 44.76 to top the previous class best of 44.92 by Catherine Mick of BDS in 2016. Hadley, who was the meet’s most outstanding female performer, also won the 100 hurdles in 15.09.
The top three in the 300 hurdles — Claire Cornell of Elm Creek (45.17) and Ralston’s Lauren Tamayo (46.06) — also own the three fastest times in the state this season. Hadley was one of five girls to win a pair of individual events.
There were two boys with two solo gold medal performances.
Jesse Lewis of Lincoln Southwest won the long jump (21-5) and triple jump (44-9 ¼). Fullerton junior Brent Wetovick, who was the meet’s most outstanding male performer, won the 400 (49.34) before posting the fastest time of the season by more than two seconds in the 800 (1:55.40).
Nelson was second to Wetovick in the 400 before defeating 100-meter champion Dylan Kautz of Norfolk Catholic to win the 200. Nelson, a Nebraska track recruit, and Kautz, a junior who is getting Division I football attention, were even coming off the curve.
That’s how Nelson hoped the race would begin.
“My start, I’ve struggled with that in the past,” Nelson said. “So I felt if I really got out hard, and I got close to him in the first 80 meters, that I could finish it.”
Nelson began to pull away on the straightaway and had plenty of closing speed to hold off Kautz. Nelson won in 21.57 with Kautz finishing in 21.79. Two of Nelson’s teammates, Mason Kenkel and Mason Suey, were third and fourth, respectively.
“My middle phase is where I feel the best,” Nelson said. “My top speed is really good, so when I get up there, I think that’s where I’m my strongest.
“Today wasn’t going for records. Today was about getting stronger for the end of the season.”
Boys event winners
100: Dylan Kautz, Norfolk Catholic, 10.85. 200: Alex Nelson, Elkhorn South, 21.57. 400: Brent Wetovick, Fullerton, 49.34. 800: Wetovick, 1:55.40. 110 hurdles: Marshall Chasek, Minden, 15.13. 300 hurdles: Paul Plowcha, Papillion-La Vista South, 39.84. 1,600: Jack Nolley, Lincoln Southwest, 4:27.24. 3,200: Luke Stuckey, York, 9:28.51. 400 relay: Norfolk Catholic (Ryan Vetter, Evan Smith, Kelby Schaefer, Kautz), 43.62. 1,600 relay: Elkhorn South (Mason Suey, Mason Kenkel, Rayan Kathol, Nelson), 3:30.42. 3,200 relay: Elkhorn (Jorge Atayde, Justin Karstetter, Kody Smallfoot, Jacob Basilevac), 8:15.28. Long jump: Jesse Lewis, Lincoln Southwest, 21-5. Triple jump: Lewis, 44-9¼. Shot put: Dylan Kucera, Fremont Bergan, 55-7. Discus: Anthony Banderas, Lincoln Southwest, 160-9. High jump: Conner McCracken, Scottsbluff, 6-4. Pole vault: Drake Burton, Milford, 15-0.
Girls event winners
100: Lexie Gilbert, Elkhorn, 12.51. 200: Gilbert, 25.86. 400: Carson Fischer, Lincoln Southwest, 58.17. 800: Fischer, 2:17.15. 1,600: Mazie Larsen, Gretna, 5:16.14. 3,200: Larsen, 11:14.80. 100 hurdles: Skylar Hadley, Loomis, 15.09. 300 hurdles: Hadley, 44.76. 400 relay: Papillion-La Vista South (Sekiya Simmons, Nina Cuevas, Olivia Sattlefield, Madalyn Allen), 49.23. 1,600 relay: Lincoln Southwest (Taytem Coleman, Kate Dilsaver, Caelyn Christiancy, Fischer), 4:07.86. 3,200 relay: Elkhorn (Taylor Kimnach, Abby Metschke, Hannah Pollan, Grace Lamski), 9:55.58. Long jump: Claire Cornell, Elm Creek, 18-0. Triple jump: Kylee Hammer, Wayne, 36-10½. Shot put: Marika Spencer, Columbus Scotus, 40-6. Discus: Spencer, 149-4. High jump: Norah Sis, Papillion-La Vista, 5-5. Pole vault: Hailee Mann, Burwell, 11-4.