Nice weather for the first day of the Nebraska Association USA Track and Field Junior Olympics championships Saturday helped athletes put up a handful of record performances.
After rain, wind and temperatures below 60 degrees for the June 1 association youth athletics meet, the sunshine and pleasant breeze early in the day were warmly greeted by athletes, fans and officials at Burke Stadium.
Records fell in a diverse set of events — the javelin, race walk and 3,000-meter run — in the three oldest age groups. More records are expected to fall in the final day of competition Sunday as athletes vie for berths in the July 4 through 7 Region 8 USATF Junior Olympics in Aberdeen, S.D.
Kylie Gokie of Lincoln started things in the age 17-18 girls javelin with a throw of 136 feet, 7 inches. That’s just over seven feet farther than the previous record of 129-6 set by Abby Emsick of Council Bluffs in 2002.
The two record performances on the track topped times posted in the mid-1980s. Andy Vasquez of Omaha set a new standard in the 15-16 boys 3,000 race walk by finishing in 14:27.29, nearly 10 seconds faster than the mark turned in by Rick Smith in 1986.
Then Seth Hirsch, who two years ago set a national age group record in the 3,000-meter run, trimmed 22 seconds off the 13-14 boys association record. The freshman-to-be at Millard West toured the 7½ laps in 9:04.38, replacing Nate Nielsen of Lincoln in the record books.
Among Sunday’s featured events will be finals in the three sprints — the 100, 200 and 400. Kenzo Cotton of Papillion-La Vista, who competes for the Bellevue Breeze Track Club in the summer, is scheduled to compete in the 200 and 400.
Cotton ran the anchor leg for the Breeze’s 17-18 400 relay team that won Saturday in 41.94. Devin Barfield, Nick Bartels and David Chambers were the other three team members. Bartels, a Nebraska recruit, also won the 110 hurdles in 15.10.
Contact the writer: