Nebraska Track & Field Coaching Rankings
Class A Boys
1. Lincoln High
2. Lincoln Southwest
4. Omaha North
Class A Girls
1. Lincoln Southwest
2. Millard West
4. Papillion South
5. Omaha North
Class B Boys
Class B Girls
Class C Boys
3. Shelby-Rising City
4. Thayer Central
5. Norfolk Catholic
Class C Girls
1. Lincoln Lutheran
4. Johnson County Central
5. Fillmore Central
Class D Boys
3. Boyd County
Class D Girls
3. Elm Creek
Class A Boys
1. Lincoln High – They may have finished runner-up at the Whitehouse Invite this week in Omaha, but look closer and you will see this: Darius Luff hurdles in 14.5 and 40.5, Zion Perry sprints to 10.94 and 22.28, LeeAaron Burks runs a 1:57.3 in the 800, 3 triple jumpers get out to nearly 44 feet or better, and they run strong, State Meet projected 4x1s and 4x4s. That closer look makes this Links squad the early team to beat in Class A. They may not take home many invite plaques now, but the 1st boys State Track Title in a glass case in Lincoln High since 1960 is possible in 2018.
2. Lincoln Southwest – The Silverhawks are looking for their first state boys track and field title and have a strong and deep group led by Jesse Lewis and Blake Van Ert in the jumps, Anthony Banderas in the throws, and the Nolley’s in the distance events. The Silverhawks dominated a large field at the Concordia Indoor earlier this season. We shall see how they look as they move outdoors. This may be one of the few teams able to keep up with the Links at State this year.
3. Fremont – After a disappointing State finish in 2017, the Tigers are poised for a championship run led by vaulter Jake Sellon, distance runner Jose Gonzalez and company, and sprinter Lucas Arps. Knowing they will have strong relays, the Tigers will undoubtedly be a very dangerous contender come May.
4. Omaha North – Though not as deep in State Meet scoring as #1, #2, or #3, Omaha North has great talent in 9th grade thrower Tristan Gray, jumper D’Juan Jones, and sprinter D’Shaun Samuels. Expected strong 4×1, 4x4s, and other talent with potential make the Vikings a team you want to keep an eye on.
5. Kearney- We initially had the Bearcats outside of our top 5, but their strong performance in Columbus showed us they have a path to a top finish and it’s a path that will surprise no one in Class A. Under new Head Coach Broc Howard, the Bearcats have their old formula working. They can throw, sprint with Miko Maessner, sprinkle in hurdle points, and with expected strong relays the Bearcats should be moving back up again near the top come May. Kearney beat #3 Fremont in Columbus on Thursday with their amazing invitational depth, but Fremont has more quality State Meet point possibilities than Kearney right now.
Contenders – Grand Island, Creighton Prep
Class A Girls 1. Lincoln Southwest – The Concordia University Indoor on the opening weekend gave us a preview of what could be the battle for the state championship trophy in May. The Silverhawks showed that they were without a doubt the clear frontrunner. They easily overwhelmed their competition including
#2 rated Millard West, placing two girls in the top 10 of all but three events in this 14-team mini indoor state championship. Led in the sprints and hurdles by Caelyn Christiancy and Taytem Coleman and the distance events by Carson Fischer and Danielle Rinn they might have too much fire power for anyone to catch them. If they can get solid performances in the field events in May there might not be a team that can compete with them at Burke Stadium.
2. Millard West – The strength of the Wildcats team lies in their distant events. Gabby McGinn, the returning state runner-up in the 3200m, and Abby Heffner both put up great opening performances at Concordia and Doane. The question is can they find enough depth to take down the clear frontrunner Lincoln Southwest. Millard West does have some quality athletes who could score some big points at the state meet such as Alyssa Schlaht, in the high jump and Page 2 of 6 April 1st, 2018 Rankings hurdles, and freshman phenom, Lindsay Adams, in the hurdles and long jump. If they are going to defend their 2017 state championship they are going to have to have these athletes put up some points in the sprints and field events. They should be able to put up enough points to make it interesting, but only time will tel if it will be enough to derail the Silverhawks.
3. Kearney – The Bearcats sport one of the top athletes in Class A with Daisy Maessner, returning state runner-up in the 100-meter dash, and will be looking to crash the dual that might ensue between Southwest and Millard West. It appears from the results at the Buffalo Bill Invitational that Kearney might have one of the elite sprint crews in the state and this could carry them to the top of the podium if they can find a little more depth in the other events on the track. They will without a doubt put up a sizeable amount of points in the field events in May with Ella Godfrey back in the throws and a fleet of jumpers led by Maessner and Bailee Sterling, but will it be enough? If they can find a couple of athletes that can make some noise in the distance events, which we saw some solid early performances they could vault into the #1 or #2 spot. They are not far behind the Silverhawks and Wildcats.
4. Papillion South – The Titans look to be a very strong team and have a lot of depth. Early on this season they have been led by Olivia Sattlefied, Nina Cuevas and a solid distance crew. While Sattlefield could score big at the state meet in May as she is one of the early state leaders in the hurdle events, they will have to find some other athletes capable of doing the same in other events if they are going to have any hope of jumping the top three above them. It may be realistic as they will be in the mix for the gold in all three relays and there is a lot of talent in Papillion if they can make some major strides here in April.
5. Omaha North – The Lady Vikings get the fifth-place spot based upon their track record over the last 4-5 years. They have dominated the sprints and hurdle events over this time and will be looking to continue that dominance. Zerada Knox, Artavia Bosan, and Dariauna Lewis all return and put up big points at State in 2017. They have very little room for error as they rely so heavily on the sprints and don’t seem to have any points coming their way in the distance or many of the field events.
Contenders – Omaha Benson, Omaha Westside, Lincoln Pius X Class B Boys
1. Scottsbluff – The Bearcats have raced up the charts early on in the season with some fast times. Lead by Junior, Chris Busby, who put up a 10.97 in the 100m dash on March 23rd at the Binfield Invite. They have a well-rounded team and if they can find some points in the mid- distance and distance races they will make some major noise come this May.
2. York – The Dukes look to continue their winning ways as they look for that 3rd Boys State Title this school year. Football, basketball, and now Track and Field is in sight. Led by New Balance National Champion High Jumper Mayson Conner and one of the best distance runners in the state in Luke Stuckey, the Dukes are looking for the trifecta.
3. Beatrice – A mystery at this point, but still worthy of the number three spot, the Orangemen of Beatrice are led by Husker Football recruit Cameron Jurgens. Jurgens has not thrown yet this year, however with some top performances in the sprints and hurdles this will be a team to look out for.
4. Gering – There is some fight in these Bulldogs. Led by distance standouts, Xavier Arellano and Logan Moravec, the Gering Bulldogs will have quality points back from both the track and the field. Early on this season senior, Wade Blue, launched the Shot Put 54’3 1/2”. It will be the progression of Blue’s discus that may provide the points to keep Gering in the top 5.
5. McCook – Maybe the biggest question in the top five are the Bison of McCook. They may move up these charts fast as they have a team built on speed. The loss of Sam Smith from their 6th place team at State last year may affect them early on, but as the season progresses look for the Bison to run free.
Contenders -Elkhorn, Boys Town
Class B Girls 1. Aurora – They are the defending Class B State T&F Champions for a reason and it’s a group you don’t want to bet against. You won’t meet a nicer group of young ladies, but don’t let that fool you, they are driven by a greater purpose. Led by Kennedy Krejdl, Kyla Carlson, Maya Nachtigal, and Riley Griffith this is another solid squad.
2. Waverly – The Vikings finished 3rd last year and are working to improve on that. The biggest key will be able to find field points to go with their sprinters and hurdlers. Junior, Alex Danson, looks to gain points in the 800 as she has already ran 2:29 indoor this season on a 160m flat track.
3. Holdrege – After finishing runner-up last year, the Dusters look to move up one spot. Losing two high placers in the pole vault, one of them being the 400m Champ as well, may keep them from climbing to the top, but Junior Sierra Schemper looks to continue the excellence of pole vault for the Dusters. The Dusters may have the most complete team with scoring in multiple events.
4. Syracuse – The Rockets may be the highest flyers as they return almost their entire squad from last year’s team. If we had to pick a Class B Girls dark horse it would be Syracuse. Ellie Wilkinson, Meredith Clark, Jesse Moss, and Lauren Meyer just to name a few will be the fuel for these Rockets.
5. Elkhorn – This may be a team that has some growing pains along the way, but the Antlers return most of their team from last year that helped them place 4th at State. For them to move up it will have to be a team effort as 20 of their points came from the 4×100 and 100m dash. The Antlers will be led by sprinter Lexie Gilbert, hurdler Lauren Franzen and Brynn Ferguson in the throws.
Contenders – GI Northwest, Platteview
Class C Boys 1. Sutton – The Mustangs have a very solid group back for 2018 in hurdler/sprinter Trevor Leach and runners Kyle Baumert and Nathan Hohensee. A never-before-champion, Sutton has had some very strong team performances early in the season and we shall see if they can stay strong as we turn the calendar to April.
2. Mitchell – The Tigers have a bevy of talented athletes back from 2017 to be among the highest in our initial rankings. Mitchell should be led by runners Hunter Lemley, Drake Gilliland, Abraham Hernandez and valuter Justin Spencer. Not all competed in Ogallala this past week, but the Tigers looked very strong at the Morrill Early Bird Invite earlier this year.
3. Shelby-Rising City – Despite not being near the top in 2017, the Huskies have a loads of potential points coming in the Class C boys race. Shelby-RC will go as far as talented sprinter/ jumper Austin Coffin and sprinter/hurdler Lincoln Schoenrock will take them and grooming additional talent should move the Huskies up considerably from last year’s 12 points at State.
4. Thayer Central – After a strong finish to 2017, this perennial Class C power returns a number of potential state meet scorers fronted by their 1-2 punch in distance runners Aubrey Fangmeier and Zach Koss. We shall see if Thayer Central can add some additional points in relays and field events to move up this year.
5. Norfolk Catholic – The defending champions lost some great seniors after 2017, but return sprint stud Dylan Kautz and Ethan Piper in the throws. They will need to build additional talent behind Kautz and Piper to move up in a highly competition Class C Boys season.
Contenders – Chase County, Bridgeport, Dundy-County-Stratton, Ainsworth
Girls 1. Lincoln Lutheran – Few of these Warriors were alive the last time Lincoln Lutheran won their last championship in 2001, but this group is posed for a strong 2018 season and start this year atop our charts after numerous strong showings including great performances against A/B competition at Norris this past week. Led by hurdler and vaulter Josie Puelz, Hannah Leimbach, and Mackenzie Koepke, this is a group that could score in many places at State.
2. Heartland – Heartland is led by vaulters/sprinters Olivia Casper and Sadie Carr and jumpers/ runners Taylor and Brittany Quiring. If things fall right, Heartland has an opportunity to bring a first-ever championship back to their school in May.
3. Ainsworth – Ainsworth has all around athlete Rylee Rice that will score points across the board, but will need help from thrower Erin Painter and other Lady Bulldogs to turn out relays to help increase their scoring. Some early invite success shows that some nice additional state points may be blooming in Ainsworth.
4. Johnson County Central – The Thunderbirds hope to move up from their 5th place finish in 2017 with a talented group of girls in sprinter Maddie Moran and vaulter and distance runner Aleisha McDonald leading the way. 5. Fillmore Central – Led by sprinter Jamey Broman, distance runner Grace Jacobson, and thrower Alexis Schmidt, Fillmore Central has the ability to get back near the top of Class C in 2018.
Contenders – Mitchell, Chase County, Superior
Class D Boys 1. Axtell – The Wildcats return all their scorers from last year’s 4th place team including 100m state champion and 200m state runner-up Braiden Gomez. Add in returning state runner-up in the triple jump Creighton Kring and hurdler Lane Bertrand and you have all the ingredients for a championship team.
2. Fullerton – Also coming off a 4th place finish at state, the Warriors are led by three event champion Brentyn Wetovick. If they can find a 4th event for Brentyn or have someone step up they could push for a state championship in Fullerton.
3. Boyd County – Led by 3200m state champion Blake Ahlers, the Spartans will be an interesting team to follow. Freshman Chase Snyder could be a state contributor to increase Boyd’s point total.
4. Giltner – Giltner is a solid team with two returning state medalists in thrower Alex Goracke and Brodi Hansen in the pole vault.
5. Shelton – A bit of a surprise, but Shelton is a young team that has some distance pieces in Jesus Sauceda, high jumper Marcus Lauber, and sprinters to make some noise at State.
Contenders- Nebraska Lutheran, Pawnee City
Class D Girls
1. Giltner – The returning State Champions with 11 State Meet Qualifiers back, are looking to add to the trophy case this year with the most returning points and returners from last year’s State Meet.
2. Riverside – After a 3rd place finish last year, Riverside looks to move up to the podium this year on the back of all-around athlete Alixzandra Bloom and fellow returner Madison Walkowiak.
3. Elm Creek – Class D long jump record holder Claire Cornell may lead this team to a top 3 finish at state, but they are missing the pieces to compete with Giltner and Riverside to bring home a team trophy.
4. Loomis – Nebraska Track and Field Festival hurdle champion and sprinter Skylar Hadley could lead Loomis to a top 5 finish at the State Meet all by herself.
5. Pleasanton – With a 5th place finish at State last year and depth to score a lot of points in the relays, Pleasanton is a team that could sneak up the chart this season. Contenders- Axtell, Elwood, Sterling