2012 Nebraska High School State Track and Field Meet Preview Pt. 1:
A Look at the Top Seniors
|Clara Nichols, Millard South—she set a new Nebraska high school standard for the girls 400 meter when she ran 55.05 seconds at last year’s state meet to smash the 19-year-old 55.36 state record held by Bellevue West great Angee Henry (1993), who went on to become a two-time NCAA long jump champion and an All-American at Nebraska. Currently, Nichols holds 3 individual event all-class gold medals (2 in 400 and 1 in the 200) and 5 individual silver medals (2 each in the 100 and 200 and 1 in the 400). She also has won 2 all-class gold medals as the anchor leg of the Patriot’s 1600 relay team which recently set the state record in the event at 3:52.75. Next weekend the Oklahoma State recruit will have final opportunities to add to her medal collection and to lower her all-time best 400 meter and 1600 relay team times, thus making those marks even more difficult to break in the future. In addition—if Nichols manages to get her start right—she will put herself in the position to pull off an all-class gold medal sweep of the sprints. Decent to good starts by Nichols will no doubt enable her to break into the all-time charts in 200 plus pose a strong challenge to the 11.90 100 meter state meet record set by Breunna McCarty at last year’s meet. Regardless of what happens at state, Nichols has rightfully earned the recognition as “one of Nebraska’s all-time great high school girl sprinters”—certainly its best-ever 400 meter competitor.|
|Brianna McGhee, Omaha North—Nebraska’s most talented high school girl track and field athlete won all-class gold in the 200 meter as a sophomore (24.80) and for the past three season she has been a member of the Viking’s all-time chart and all-class gold 400 relay teams (her 2010 team owns Nebraska’s No.1 all-time mark at 46.84). A two-time all-class silver medalist in the 100 hurdles, she currently ranks No. 3 on the all-time chart in the event (14.23). This spring McGhee added to her repertoire by leaping 19-4.75 to crack the all-time chart with the 8th best long jump. Unfortunately, the University of Texas at El Paso recruit has suffered from leg problems ever since last season’s Metro Conference meet. Will the talented Viking track star be healthy enough at the state meet to earn some all class gold?
|Sean Pille, Oakland-Craig—the Class C hurdler shook up the state last season by capturing all-class gold medal in the 110HH and setting a new Class C state record. His performance was the biggest surprise of the state meet. However, the feat was—definitely—no fluke! Oh no—this kid has the goods! Pille demonstrates some the best hurdling form that you will ever see from a high school barrier jumper. And the Nebraska recruit keeps getting better—verified by his 14.00 district meet time that etched his name on the all-time chart at No. 10. It’s a place Pille deservedly belongs: alongside the rest of the Nebraska high school best-ever hurdlers. Next up: will Pille run a sub-14 at state—maybe even run up on Mashona Marsh’s 13.8 state record (Benson—1975)?|
|Cody Rush, Grand Island Northwest—Last year’s boys 400 meter all-class gold champion recently busted through the 48 second barrier to establish the state’s third all-time best mark in the event. His 47.70 sprint, recorded at the Central Conference meet last week, was a Class B state record and leaves him less than a second away from breaking the 46.98 all-class state record mark set by Lukas Hulett (Bellevue East— 2006). Cody is headed to Nebraska University this fall. Before he arrive at NU will Cody own the 400 meter state record and/or the state meet record (47.43, currently held by P.J. Grosseroad, Lincoln Pius X—1997)?|
|Morgan Woitzel, Millard South—as a freshman she tied the Class A state meet record in her preliminary heat of the 400 meter, winning the all-class silver in the finals. Her freshman 400 time still stands at No. 7 on the all-time chart. In her sophomore season Woitzel won the Class A 800 meter and she has been a fixture on the Patriot’s two-time all-class gold and state record 1600 relay team. A hip injury slowed Morgan down in 2011 but she is back this year with a state-leading time of 2:16.98 in the 800 meter. She will need to shave a little more than another two seconds off her 2012 season best time to make it onto the all-time chart in the 800m. Maybe she should make her best effort to run for the chart, because history shows that this is an event where any girl in the top half-dozen or so can drastically improve their PR at state and win the all-class gold. Will the Nebraska recruit summon the magic and inner-will to delight the crowd with an all-time chart run at state?|
|Mach Dojiok, Omaha Benson—in 2011 the exciting little distance runner with a big heart won all-class gold in the 800 meter; on May 9, he finally broke into the all-time chart at No. 9 with a 1:53.24 run at the A-4 District meet. This very impressive runner is on a real roll. Facing tough competition on almost every occasion, Dojiok has won every 800m race he entered this year—including the prestigious 2012 Kansas Relays. With several tough, hungry and very capable opponents still to face at the state meet, will Mach Dojiok continue his streak and in the process move further up on the all-time chart?|
|Mike Shoff, Cambridge—Nebraska high schools’ top all-around boys athlete in the class of 2012 won the 2011 Class D state meet championship in the shot put and discus. He currently leads the state in the shot with a near all-time chart throw of 61-11.75. This past winter the multi-sport star athlete captured his third consecutive Class D 285 lbs. state wrestling title (he was a runner-up as a freshman). Shoff was also a consensus first team all-state football lineman selection in 2011. The 6-6, 280 lbs stud—with a listed 420 pound bench and 4.80 40 yard speed—turned down several D-1A football offers (Iowa, Kansas, Florida International) and instead chose D-1AA South Dakota State as the place where he will continue his academic and athletic career. Will Shoff cap his outstanding high school athletic career with an all-class gold medal performance at Burke—maybe even launching an all-time chart throw?
|Steven Cahoy, Grand Island—from out of nowhere the gymnast turned pole vaulter is now tied at 16-feet-even with several others for the 5thall-time best vault in Nebraska high school history. Will Cahoy better former Kearny great Bret Maher’s 2008, state meet record (16-2)?|
|Tess, Merrill, Grand Island Northwest—she currently is the state leader in the pole vault with a No.5 all-time chart vault of 12’2.25”. Merrill was a Class B state champion as a sophomore and a runner-up in the event last season. She is also good at leaping into the sand pit: In 2011, she placed 4th in the triple jump at the state meet. Will the high-flying senior be “on” at the 2012 state meet? You just never know with performances in field events and the pole vault may just be the most erratic event of them all.|
|Michelle Wallerstedt, Omaha Burke—a 2010 all-class gold medalist in the discus as sophomore, the George Mason University bound senior has struggled with her consistency ever since. Last season at state she finished a disappointing 2nd in Class A. Will Wallerstedt recapture the glory of 2010 in 2012?|
|Kayla Johnson, Bellevue West—the 2011 Class A state shot put champion currently leads the state with a PR throw of 45-2. Kayla was just a few inches shy of capturing the all-class gold medal in 2011. So will she rise to the challenge and bring home the gold in 2012?|