Nebraska Coaches Track Rankings
Class A Boys
1. Lincoln High
3. Lincoln SW
4. Omaha Burke
5. Creighton Prep
Class A Girls
1. Lincoln SW
3. Millard West
4. Omaha North
5. Papillion-La Vista South
Class B Boys
3. Boys Town
Class B Girls
Class C Boys
2. Norfolk Catholic
4. Dundy County-Stratton
5. Shelby-Rising City
Class C Girls
2. Chase County
3. David City Aquinas
5. Lincoln Lutheran
Class D Boys
4. North Central
Class D Girls
3. Elm Creek
4. Humphrey St. Francis
Class A Boys
1. Lincoln High – It will likely be a 2 horse race for the Class A Boys State Championship between Lincoln High and Fremont as both seem to have 80+ State Meet point potential. As we discussed earlier in the season it may well come down to two great 4x4s to decide it, but right now we see Lincoln High as the favorite to raise the championship trophy Saturday evening. The Links have 3 studs leading their charge in Zion Perry (100/200) Leeaaron Berks (400/800) and Darius Luff (110H/300H) and Nebraska’s only sub 42sec (41.95) 400m Relay. Those events right there could equate to over 60 points. Assuming 60+ points there, it will come down to the Links ability to jump. If seniors Dauntavis Lawrence and Samuel Joseph can triple jump well on Friday with Lawrence coming back with points in the long jump on Saturday afternoon, you likely have our champions with a strong 4×4 finish. If not, the door is wide open for Fremont.
2. Fremont – The Tigers had some difficult decisions to make with their distance studs coming into districts and we will see if those decisions help lead them to a championship. Assuming their distance athletes come through with needed points, the road to a championship will likely be spearheaded by strong 200/400 performances in Lucas Arps and Fremont’s throws crew. Both groups have to be amazing on Friday and Saturday, especially their throwers. If Fremont can find points “up top” in the discus and shot put by mid-day Saturday, Fremont is right there to take it with a great 4×4 finish.
3. Lincoln SW – The Silverhawks continue to be one of the very best teams top to bottom in the State. The Silverhawks can score with in lots of different areas. They can throw with Anthony Banderas, jump with Blake Van Ert and Jesse Lewis, and run with a great group of middle distance athletes. Even with this great depth, they do not seemingly have enough to keep up with Fremont or Lincoln High. With our top 2 likely in the 70s-80s, LSW is probably in the 65-70 range – an amazing point total that would likely win it most years – but probably not in 2018 with all that Fremont and Lincoln High will bring in. That said, this group will bring home a truckload of medals and have tons to be proud of from the 2018 State Meet.
4. Omaha Burke – We see the Bulldogs in the 50 point range at State and they should send retiring coach Mike Mingo out with a lot of great final memories on their home track where they just celebrated a Metro Conference Championship for the first time since 1990. The Bulldogs are built on speed with Jayvon Vinson, tons of hurdle point potentials with Lyndon Harrison, Myles Thompson, and Malachi Carroll, and middle distance points in distance studs Aaron Rheiner and Isaac Lawrence.
5. Creighton Prep – Our defending State Champs continue to rise with runners like Ryan Eastman who looked strong at the Metro Conference meet winning both the 1600m and 3200m respectively. Eastman and his track teammates will carry the bulk of the point load this year as the Junior Jays do not have much field event points coming. Senior Noah Velinsky has rose up to strong competition in the sprints all year. Zion Perry, Miko Maessner, and Alex Nelson will give Velinsky difficult final exams in the 100m and 200m and we’ll see how he stacks up one last time in these deep sprint finals on Saturday.
Top 5 State Meet Contenders – Elkhorn South, Kearney
Class A Girls
1. Lincoln Southwest – Using the state leader charts one can best figure who is suppose to win the Class A Girls team race this year. The answers appear to show Lincoln Southwest defeats Kearney by about 10-13 points. So, it is now the Silverhawks championship to win or lose. Lincoln Southwest is set to score points in all but three events this weekend. The strength of this team is in the mid-distance events and the hurdle events. If they falter there that apparent lead could evaporate quickly Saturday morning.
2. Kearney – The Bearcats unfortunately caught the injury bug here late in the season, but they still have a solid chance at a state title. Ten to upwards of thirteen points can evaporate in a blink of an eye during a track meet and Kearney certainly has the ladies to take home the team title. This is going to be a two-team race that very well might come down to the 4×400 meter relay on Saturday afternoon. Just to set that final race up a bit more, Lincoln Southwest and Kearney sit #1 and #2 in that event that could be for the title.
3. Millard West – The Wildcats are set to clear the 60 point mark this weekend and are certainly going to put on a show for the crowd with some of their athletes, but don’t have the firepower across the events to challenge Southwest or Kearney. Gabby McGinn will try to win two gold medals in the 1600 and 3200 and Alyssa Schlaht will be part of a great high jump field competing for gold.
4. Omaha North – After their performance at their district championship meet, the Lady Vikings jump up to #4 in our final rankings. North is sitting in the same position as Millard West, great potential and lots of fire power, but just not enough depth as our top 2. Dariauna Lewis and Zereda Knox will make one last trip to Omaha Burke and try to take home a few more gold medals to add to their collections.
5. Papillion-LaVista South – The Titans will battle with Millard West, Omaha North and Lincoln East to see which of these four teams end up in the top five once the meet is over. Papio South could end up in third or fourth if their star underclassmen show up like they have the last couple of weeks. Sunday Thiyang put up a huge jump in the long jump at districts and if she could repeat that and win gold that could put Papio South on their way to a top five finish.
Top 5 State Meet Contender – Lincoln East
Class B Boys
1. Beatrice- The return of Cameron Jurgens has propelled the Orangemen of Beatrice to the top spot. Districts was his first completion this year, but with a shot put of 59’04” and a solid discus throw of 156’08 we know he will improve with another week of practice. Beatrice was still a contender without Jurgens so you know they have a solid team beyond just him. Sprinters Dillon Damme and Andrew Mahoney will rack up points from the 100 to 400. However, anyone of our top 4 teams could bring home the State Championship Title and it would not be a shock to see any of our top teams win the title come Championship Saturday. It will be a tight race.
2. York- The Dukes have moved up to our #2 spot. With a dominating performance by Luke Stuckey in the 3200 at TrackFest you have solid points in the 1600 and 3200, along with defending HJ Champion Mayson Conner, his brother Morgan in the long jump, Braxton Nunnenkamp in the 110HH, and now with the emergence of Masry Mapieu in the shot put, the York Dukes look up to the challenge to contend for a State Title. The wildcard that may help them secure that title is Garrett Snodgrass in the discus. One great throw could bring home the 3rd Boys State Title to York this school year.
3. Boys Town- We are uncertain on the Cowboys with Dashawn Bates not making the 200. He did not run in the 4×400 relay, which may be for cautionary reasons, but if Boys Town wants to compete for a team title they will need him at full strength to gain precious points in the 100m dash along with the 4×1 and 4×4. Tijaih Davis who ranks first in the 110HH and 300LH in Class B will be helped by Larry Graham, who will need to earn much needed points in the 100 and 200.
4 Scottsbluff- The Bearcats slide down another spot, but don’t count them out. Led by sprinter Christopher Busby, who just put up the top times in the 100 and 200, Scottsbluff may sprint by the competition at Burke. They will need more than just points from the 100 and 200 and with high jumper Conner McCracken and distance runner Jesse Jaramillo providing Scottsbluff much needed points to move up on the teams above them.
5. Sidney-The Red Raiders make their way onto the rankings in the final installment before State and there is no better time to be peaking. They have a solid sprint crew with their 4×1 putting up the fastest time in Districts at 43.02. With four of the five top teams all having at least one person in the 100 and 200 these two races will have major impact on the team race. Cade Lewis, Christian Balanran, Jonathan Smith, and others coming from Sidney may shock some teams. Top 5 State Meet Contenders- Minden, DC West, Holdrege, Hastings, Crete
Class B Girls
1. Syracuse- The Rockets on paper look like a lock for the State Title, but titles are not won on paper. Meredith Clark made her mark in the shot put at Districts uncorking a state leading throw of 45’05”. In total, this team has the capability to win six events. They have some strong fire power. Distance runner Ellie Wilkinson is running phenomenally and doesn’t look to be slowing down at all. She is ranked #1 in the 3200 and #4 in the 1600. Along with Ellie is Jesse Moss, Lauren Meyer, and Lauren Siefken just to name a few who will continue to be the fuel for this team.
2. Platteview- What a performance at District from these Trojans. They finished second to Syracuse. They have a determined group of young ladies who love to have fun and love to compete. Led by a top sprinter and long jumper in State, Carrie Simonson and Phenom high jumper Anna Koehler the Trojans look poised to make a run at a championship. With points at a premium to close the gap to catch Syracuse, Trojan Teri Zanker will factor big in the 300LH and high jump. Zanker has continued to improve each week and is ready for great things at State along with all her teammates.
3. Elkhorn- Elkhorn slides down to the #3 spot in our final rankings. Elkhorn is led by star sprinter Lexie Gilbert. Phenom freshman Taylor Kimnach and Grace Lamski provide a strong middle distance nucleus as they both went 2:24 in the 800 at Districts. The 4×1 along with both hurdle races will loom large for the Antlers as they can make up some ground on Platteview with solid performances in these three events.
4. Lexington- The Minutemaids are led by Madison Smith. She went 19’ 01” in the long jump at Districts, which is just half an inch from the #15 spot all time in the State. She would go on to win the 100 and 200 as well and come in second in the 400, which she has the fastest time in Class B with a 58.08. She has the ability to score 40 points herself and that may be enough to finish #3 overall as Elkhorn is predicted to score 36 points.
5. Scottsbluff- The Bearcats re-enter our top five behind the strength of the dynamic distance duo of Kaylee Bentley and Brooke Holzworth. They are so much more than just these two as 100HH Rosa Garcia, pole vaulter Beretta Coats, and sprinter Yara Garcia will provide the opportunity for the Bearcats to finish in the top 3. Scottsbluff is the only team to have both the girls and boys teams ranked in the top 5 for Class B. This is a testament of their coaches, past and present.
Top 5 State Meet Contenders-Aurora, Waverly
Class C Boys
1. Hartington-Newcastle – From contender to potential state champion, Hartington-Newcastle is our new #1 in what will be an extremely tight Class C boys race with our champion likely needing 45-50 points. They may not look like much with only 4 boys getting off the van, but Head Coach Blair Kalin is bringing quite a group of young men from NE Nebraska. Lincoln McPhillips will contend in the high jump in the 6-7 range and score in the triple jump. He’ll be joined in the triple jump by teammate Cole Schmidt who will carry the biggest load running the 100, 200, long jump and triple jump. He should score big in the jumps and score solid points in the both the 100 and 200. Finally, the Wildcats will bring Brian Santiago who has strong times in the 800, 1600, and 3200. With no point chances in the throws, hurdles, or relays, it would be an interesting path to a championship, but if these 3 boys are on their game, they could bring a championship back home with them.
2. Norfolk Catholic – The Knights are in familiar territory again and continue to creep up in Class C at the right time of the year. We have them right near Hartington-Newcastle in the 45 point range. Unlike their 2017 championship, this will be a power packed punch of points in 5 events – Dylan Kautz in the 100, 200, and leading his 400 Relay team and thrower Ethan Piper doing the work in the shot and discus. Piper likely wins neither if Bergan’s Dylan Kucera is on, but if Piper is 2nd in both, Catholic could bring the championship back to Norfolk again this year.
3. Mitchell – Mitchell falls to 3rd in our rankings projected in the 40 point range. Mitchell continues to have speed points coming from Drake Gilliand, Rylan Aguallo, and Kadin Perez and their superb 400 Relay on the track, but stiff competition is out there in Kautz and Catholic’s 400 Relay and others around Nebraska. Aguallo and Perez are also just 9th graders experiencing State Track for the first time and it will be a lot to ask of them against much more experienced sprinters. Justin Spencer winning the vault may get them close to 40 points, but unless our top two fall back it may just not be enough in 2018.
4. Dundy-County Stratton – As we’ve said before, Phalen Sanford leads the charge for this group and what a charge it will be. We see 4 golds for Sanford in the hurdles, 400, and 1600 Relay. The wildcard for DC-S is Wyatt Lemon joining Sanford in the finals for the 400. If he can get to the finals and score some points, these Tigers could claw their way higher than #4.
5. Shelby-Rising City – We had S-RC in our initial rankings, but they fell out mid-season and now they are back at #5 as we head to State. Though they won’t win any golds, they may score in more events than any other team in Class C and we have them right under 40 total points. Austin Coffin, Lincoln Schoenrock, Grant Lindsley and Mason Schleis are becoming the team we expected them to be back in March and we have them in a tight race in the mid-30s just above all our contenders.
Top 5 State Meet Contenders – Fremont Bergan, Chase County, Sutton, Thayer Central
Class C Girls
1. Heartland – Heartland stays as our #1 heading into the State Track Meet as the only team we feel strong about projecting above 50 points. The heart of this team continues to be 4 exceptional all-around athletes who will paint points on the track and in the field events in Olivia Casper, Sadie Carr and cousins Taylor and Brittany Quiring. Heartland could score in as many as 10 events and with big point possibilities in events like the middle distance and vault, Heartland has a nice chance at a championship in 2018.
2. Chase County – Sprinter Mallie McNair and hurdler Peyton Fiedler continue to lead a group that could also score in as many as 10-11 events at State. Unlike Heartland who we see contending for a lot of 1st-3rds we see a lot of 4th-5ths right now for this great western Nebraska group. We have Chase County around the 50 point range and if Heartland stumbles a bit, Chase County knows how to bring home the championship as the defending Class C Champion.
3. David City Aquinas – The Monarchs continue to have a host of point possibilities at the State Meet and we project them in the 40s at the State Meet. This is a squad that has some seniors, but a large group of Monarchs return next year in a host of events that really makes these ladies a team that could do great things in 2018, but watch out for them in 2019.
4. Ainsworth – The multi-talented Rice could take as many as 4 golds home to Ainsworth. If they can find a couple more points from Erin Kuchera in the throws, this is a team that could get over the 40 point barrier and be in this top 5 range.
5. Lincoln Lutheran – The Warriors stay at #5 in our final rankings. Junior Josie Puelz has All-Class Gold potential in the pole vault and point potentials in the hurdles. Hope Leimbach also has point possibilities and senior Mackenzie Koepke could win the girls high jump. Coupled with some strong relays and the Warriors could be higher than this spot come Saturday.
Top 5 State Meet Contenders – Kearney Catholic, Mitchell, Johnson County Central
Class D Boys
1. Axtell- A very tough injury at Districts leaves the Wildcats still on top but without any cushion. It looks like the first team to 46 points will take home the team title. As we said, it looks tighter for the boys from Axtell, but it still looks like they can get there despite their injuries and mishaps at Districts this year.
2. Mullen- Where Axtell faltered some at Districts, the Broncos are bucking their way to the top. Mullen had an amazing District performance that could lead them to a state championship. Lead by all around athlete sprinter/jumper Lane Edis, thrower Tell Spies, and distance runner Luke Christen, Mullen could be taking home a championship to the Sandhills.
3. Fullerton- Fullerton elected to have returning gold medalists Brent Wetovick run in all individual events to give Fullerton their best chance at a championship. Wetovick will run the 200, 400, 800, and 1600 at the State Meet. He appears a strong chance to win the 400 and 800 and is the returning state champion in the 1600. The 200 will be interesting to see if this middle distance stud has the foot speed to stay with Class D’s best sprinters. If he can be near the top, Fullerton could be close Saturday afternoon.
4. North Central- They continue to score in several events especially the hurdles with Colton Munger and Kolton Needham and Walker Shaw in the throws. They may not have a champion but these boys could score a lot of points and take home a lot of medals.
5. Giltner- All season they have been on the outside looking in, but we think they could finally land in the Top 5. Led by Brodi Hansen and Alex Groeke they could put up some serious points at State.
Top 5 State Meet Contenders- Paxton, West Boyd
Class D Girls
1. Giltner- Top to bottom this is as dominate a team as we will see at state and may be our strongest bet to take home a 2018 team title. Reagan and Sydney Janzen will put up a ton of points and all of their relays look to take home titles.
2. Riverside- Alix Bloom and Maddie Walkowiak leads a very tight group of state runner-up contenders. Bloom will score in the sprints and could win multiple events while Walkowiak expects to have strong jump performances to supplement the Riverside scoring.
3. Elm Creek- Claire Cornell and Taylor Moes have something to say about who will take that runner up trophy home. Cornell will be tough all over the track and field this weekend, while Moes will be helping with needed triple jump points.
4. Humphrey St Francis- Allison Weidner, with her Class D best 400m mark at 59.36, and her teammates will be in contention as she leads strong middle distance points and the Flyers relays.
5. Pleasanton- The health of Keri Bauer will play a huge role in how the Bulldogs finish. Isabelle Paitz, Natalie Siegel and strong relays will also help Pleasanton. With a healthy and strong Bauer, Pleasanton can be here or higher, otherwise look to our contenders to round out the top 5.
Top 5 State Meet Contenders- Loomis, Mullen