In the boys race, Nebraska steadily opened a sizable gap, a la Usain Bolt (minus the chest-pounding, we trust).
In the girls race, both teams leaned at the wire and then waited for the hollow result: dead heat.
This is the eighth straight year The World-Herald has compiled its Nebraska-Iowa state track comparison, based on performances from last weekend in similar events.
The Nebraska boys dominated their counterparts to the east for a second straight year, recording the top performance in 10 of the 14 common events. Each state had the top overall effort in six of the 12 girls events.
We’ve always acknowledged that it’s a less-than-scientific endeavor. Several factors contribute to that: weather conditions (especially wind), track surface and an athlete’s fatigue level, based on where the event took place in the meet.
Of course, it’s also possible that the events in which one state is the strongest aren’t contested in the other state.
But when you have state meets simultaneously running 140 miles apart, it seems worthwhile to recognize the leaders and interesting to note the trends.
Nebraska again dominated the sprints, with Papillion-La Vista junior Kenzo Cotton and Bellevue West freshman Chloe Akin-Otiko each recording the top times in either state in the 100 and 200. They were the only double-individual winners in the comparison.
The boys 100 was the most startling comparison. All eight of the Nebraska Class A finalists and 17 in all were faster than Iowa’s all-class leader, Anthony Dreeszen of Sioux City East (11.11). Dreeszen, however, ran into a headwind of 2.6 meters per second. Three of the four Iowa boys 100 finals had headwinds of at least 2.0.
It’s also clear that both states had some remarkable boys 1,600 runners this year. West Des Moines Dowling’s Jason Thomas set a state-meet record and Iowa all-time best in that event with a 4:10.14. Runner-up Josh Evans of Linn-Mar (4:12.03) also broke the 34-year-old state-meet record of 4:13.65 set by Waterloo East’s Todd Peverill. Evans had run 4:10.86 to win at the Drake Relays, so Thomas and Evans are now 1-2 on the state’s all-time list.
Nebraska fans saw two of the seven fastest times in state history in the same event. Mohamed Hamdan of Lincoln North Star now ranks fourth with his 4:13.59 and Joe Harter of Millard West is seventh at 4:14.81.
Another interesting tidbit is that tiny Manson-Northwest Webster, a Class 1-A school, produced Iowa’s top girls and boys times in the 400, and nearly swept the event in the comparisons as well. Ellie Herzberg (55.75) had the top girls time in the comparison, while Brody Eischeid (48.33) was edged by Garrett Teel of Lincoln Pius X (48.19).
Iowa had six girls run faster in the 400 than Nebraska’s all-class gold medalist. Nebraska’s top four finishers in the Class A boys 110 high hurdles were faster than Iowa’s all-class leader.
But those pockets of dominance are the exception rather than the norm. In most of the events, one state doesn’t have a clear edge over the other when you look several spots down the list.
So take a minute and enjoy. Be proud if your school is represented. Given the number of hours the athletes undoubtedly spent training indoors this spring, they deserve a final salute.
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