|Clara Nichols||LaQue Moen-Davis||Aubree Worden|
LaQue Moen-Davis—to be the best ever at one event is outstanding. To establish state records in multi-events on both the track and the field makes you uniquely special—it makes you Nebraska’s greatest high school girl track and field athlete to date.
Moen-Davis has set the standard high for all those that follow and attempt to break her Nebraska high school times and marks:100 HH 13.99; triple jump 42-4; and long jump 20-23/4. But like the adage says “records are made to be broken” and several athletes are already in the pipeline looking to do just that.
In fact, If Moen-Davis does not bring her A-game to this state meet—there is a real possibility that the Texas A&M bound track star could leave her last visit to Burke Stadium without a single all-class gold medal (ACG).
100 Meter HH—still chasing her down is teammate Brianna McGhee. Although Moen-Davis recently reestablished herself as the better of the two at districts, hurdle races are highly precarious and one bad step or banged barrier could spell disaster.
Long Jump—look out! A sophomore from Auburn has emerged as a serious contender. Tierra Williams jumped 19-2 ½ at the B-2 District to move into 9th place on the all-time chart. Her jump was no fluke either! Williams has been hovering around the 19 foot mark all season long.
High Jump—Moen-Davis chose to compete for that 4th ACG here—a surprise considering that last year she barely missed out on her 4th ACG in the 300 LH by less than one hundredth of a second. LaQue is still stuck at the height of 5-7: season leader Katie Smith (Kearney) has jumped 5-8. Most likely, LaQue will need a PR to win this event. The good news: watching her jump, she has the power and coordination to easily clear 5-10 with ease. Bad news: she still hasn’t gained confidence in her approach to the bar.
Triple Jump—this event should be a lock for LaQue. Unfortunately, all field events are iffy affairs—full of “on” and “off” days. If she is off and another athlete has a big PR, there goes the medal!
Hopefully, LaQue will be “on” this weekend and she will thrill us with more record performances. But no matter what happens at Burke Stadium:
” Thanks LaQue for all the great performances you provided during
your remarkable high school career.”
Clara Nichols—this is not “the” last shot the junior will have at running down the 55.36-seconds all-time best 400 meter record, set by Bellevue West’s Angee Henry in 1993. But it is the last shot she will have this year.
A couple of weeks ago, at the Metro meet, I struck up a conversation with Nichols. She had just returned to the stands after receiving her NSAA academic achievement honors, which also happened to be right before she had to run her 200 meter finals.
Nichols is not only a great athlete and an outstanding student, she is also a very charming, engaging and light-hearted young lady who is confident and appears to be completely at ease with herself.
I asked her what schools were looking at her. “UNL, Baylor and a couple of others,” she said with a big smile.
“It’s a lot of pressure, everyone wanting me to break the record. I met Angee Henry. She is such a nice sweet lady. She came up to me and said she had been following me, and she is rooting for me to break her record, and she wished me luck. She was just so kind.”
When I asked Clara how she thought she would do in the 200: “You never know with this wind, but I’m good in big meets,” she said—still sporting that big easy smile.”
And so she is: Nichols hustled down to the track and ran a season’s best 22.11. That’s after running a PR and 4th all-time best 55.64 400m the day before.
400 Meter—well, there is no bigger meet than state, where Nichols will have two more shots this season to move up the charts (prelims and finals). With teammate Morgan Woitzel still healing from her injured hip and questionable for this meet, Nichols’ main comp for ACG will be 2010 ACG 400m champ Amber Ewers.
The Class B senior from Columbus Scotus has been recovering from a nagging foot injury all-season, thus her times have suffered. However, she posted her best time of the season last week at districts (58.00), so she might be ready to make another successful run at ACG this year.
200 Meter—Omaha North’s Brianna McGhee beat Nichols soundly last year to claim ACG. Nichols has improved her speed this year, while McGhee—on paper— has regressed. Will the big stage bring out the best for McGhee?
Nichols and McGhee had better bring their best to this event because another very dangerous challenger lurks in Class B: Abby Niederklein.
The Adams Central senior is fast! The 2010 Class B state meet 100m and 200m champ has the season’s second fastest times in both the 100m (12.10) and 200m (25.20). Ewers—ran a No. 4 all-time chart 24.5 as a freshman—could also be in the mix.
100 Meter—the quality that makes a good 200m and 400m sprinter is also what makes them vulnerable in the 100m: they are slower to build up speed, but they can hold their speed longer. Nichols will need to improve her start and shorten the distance it takes for her to hit top speed in order to beat the likes of Omaha North’s Breunna McCarty (11.96), Abby Niederklein or Amber Ewers (12.2).
1600 Meter Relay—the Patriots will need a pretty close to fully recovered Morgan Woitzel to win all class here.
Aubree Worden—the soon to be Florida State Seminole got off to a slow start this season with a stress fracture in her foot. Two weeks ago, she picked up the pace, posting a No. 4 all-time chart 4:55.65 1600m. However, to lessen the load on her injured foot, Worden did not run the 1600m and 3200m in the same meet until last week at districts. Her district times week were not impressive—1600m (5:29.2): 3200m (11:47.40), hopefully, her effort was by design and not the result of further problems with the foot.
1600 Meter—this event should be a lock for a healthy Worden, as no one else is in the same neighborhood.
3200 Meter—she can expect to see a strong ACG challenge from Class A Millard West junior Sidney Hirsch. Her 11:02.41 3200m trails Worden by less than 8 seconds on the 2011 season best list.
Kristie Mullen, Sr, Omaha Roncalli Catholic/Duchense Academy—the two-time Class B 800 meter champion ran a season’s best 2:16.40 800m last week at district. The South Dakota track recruit ran a PR of 2:14.95 last year at state—just .22 away from making the all-time chart. Weather permitting, it looks like the senior may finally put her name on the list before heading up North to begin her college career.
Mullen will also be hunting for gold in the 400m sprint and the 1600m and 3200m realys.