More Records Should Fall with This Outstanding Bunch
The 2011 season of Nebraska high school track & field features a bounty of returning stars that are all capable of at least posting new all-time top ten marks. In fact several of the returnees have already turned in top ten performances and/or have established Nebraska state records. Yet whether or not 2011 will bring the same pace of record breaking performances that we have been accustomed to seeing over the past several years will ultimately be decided by the Midwest’s unpredictable springtime weather conditions. But there is no doubt that that this year’s field is loaded with the type of athletic talent that could produce a banner year for Nebraska high school track—especially in the girls division.
Here is a look at the top Nebraska girls track and field athletes that will be returning for the 2011 season:
Cream of the Crop
2011 Nebraska High School Girls Track & Field
LaQue Moen-Davis, Omaha North, Senior— it’s hard to believe but this is the last season that we will see Moen-Davis grace the oval and field to showcase her remarkable state record breaking talents. The senior holds all-class state records in the: triple jump (42’ 1 ½”); long jump (20’ 2 ¾”) and 100 meter high hurdles (13.99). At last year’s state meet she came within 6 thousands of a second in making history by claiming 4 all-class gold medals in a single meet (see Kalyn Brannagan below). After the season concludes, LaQue will be headed off to Texas A&M where we may one day see her blossom into a future Olympian.
Aubree Worden, Scottsbluff, Senior—she won both the 1600 and 3200 meter all-class gold in 2010 and 2009. To say that she owns these distance runs (also a state champion cross country runner) is definitely an understatement. The question now becomes can she lower her times enough in 2011 to entrench herself among Nebraska’s all-time great girl distance runners? However, no matter what she manages to accomplish this season there is no doubt that she has all the tools necessary to develop into an outstanding distance runner at the college level. Worden will be doing just that when she heads to Florida State University to continue her career.
Maia Reynolds, Omaha North, Senior—last year the two-time all-class gold 100 meter medalist barely missed setting a state meet record (12.02) when she stopped the ticks at 12.08. The all-class state record is 11.94—Maia is in range of owning both marks. It will be interesting to see how much juice Maia has left in her legs. If she stays healthy and continues to improve–like she has in each of the previous two years–we could be in for a real treat in 2011.
Morgan Woitzel, Millard South, Junior—as a freshmen she tied former Central alum Jasmine Johnson for the state meet 400 meter record (55.76). She has also recorded the 6th best all-time 400 meter mark (55.67). An apparent false start hampered her performance in last year’s 400 meter. But Morgan found a new race last season: the 800 meter where she won the Class A crown. The junior is more than capable of establishing new marks in either event.
Clara Nichols, Millard South, Junior—the talented sprinter comes off a workmanlike sophomore season that saw her capture the Class A 400 meter championship in an epic finals photo finish against Amanda Brown of Lincoln Southwest. Nichols won the All-Class 400 as a freshman and she holds the event’s 10th best time (56.06). Nichols is also a very strong contender in the 200 and 100 meter races, winning all-class silver in both events last season, while posting very nice PR times of 25.046 and 12.174 respectively. Can she finally bust the 400 meter state record set by Bellevue West’s Angee Henry in 1993? Certainly! Will she? Stay tuned.
Kristie Mullen, Omaha Roncalli, Senior—the reining All-Class 800 meter champion also captured the Class B crown in the event as a sophomore. Will this gutsy senior be able to capture her third consecutive Class B title and hold off all others to capture another all-class gold? And if so, is she up to the task of posting a top ten clocking? Mullen will continue her career at the University of South Dakota.
Brianna McGhee, Omaha North, Junior—as a sophomore, Brianna won All-Class gold in the 200 meter with a time of 21.796. Still raw in her overall form, she possesses the kind effortless natural stride that if she brings everything together—records will fall! Also, look for her to provide a serious challenge to LaQue’s dominance in the 100 meter HH. McGhee won all-class silver in the event last year.
Amber Ewers, Columbus Scotus, Senior—this Class B starlet may have pulled off the biggest surprise of the 2010 state meet. Ewers posted the best all-class 400 meter finals time to beat out reigning all-class 400 gold medalists Clara Nichols. Oh, and she looked exceptionally strong in doing it. We shall see if the senior can improve upon last season’s time. She will have to in order to repeat in 2011.
Kalyn Brannagan, Shelton, Sophomore— in my book this Class C hurdler is the 2010 Nebraska High School Track and Field Freshman of the Year. The budding star won all-class gold in the grueling 300 meter low hurdles, and her winning time of 45.128 was the only thing that stood in the way of LaQue Moen-Davis making state meet track history by claiming 4 all-class gold medals. Her Class C race time was a mere .005 seconds faster than Moen-Davis’ Class A win. With three more season left in her high school career, Brannagan’s outstanding freshman time in the event places her well within range of challenging the 2007 state record time of 43.07 set by Kianna Elahi of Millard North. Brannagan also won the 2010 Class C 100 meter high hurdles.
Michelle Wallerstedt, Omaha Burke, Junior—she won all-class gold in the discus with a throw of 144’-4”. The state record (164’ 9”) lies a little more than 20 feet away. That 2004 record is held by Michaela Wallerstedt, also from Omaha Burke. Can Michelle manage to package a perfect throw in 2011 and etch her name atop the record books?
OK. That’s a lot of talent! But there are several other proven performers that will be giving this bunch all they can handle in their respective events. And there is always the real possibility of a freshman emerging to upset the best-laid plans and expectations. We shall soon see how it all plays out.
Next: The Boys Track and Field Preview on Monday, March 21: “Will the Beatrice Bullet Daniel Davie and the Central Comet Ted Lampkin come out to play in 2011 or will they choose to get ready for the college gridiron?”