The competition portion of Brianna McGhee's day ended earlier than usual Saturday, but the responsibilities for the Omaha North senior were far from over after she won the all-class gold medal in the 100-meter hurdles.
McGhee wasn't part of the 200-meter dash field because she injured her hamstring competing in that event at the District A-4 meet. Turns out McGhee was just fine with the way that worked out.
“I did really good early, but now I'm feeling it,” McGhee said. “It hurts, but I'm glad I'm not doing it. The way my legs are feeling, it's for the best.”
If McGhee — who also won the all-class gold Friday in the long jump — had injured her hamstring during the state meet, it would have been tougher to take, she said.
“I would have been angry,” McGhee said.
McGhee was supporting her teammates in their quest for the Class A team title. Like the members of the Vikings' winning 400 relay team, McGhee was wearing eye black.
“We're going for the championship,' McGhee said. “It's just to feel a little more beasty.”
The Vikings lost the team race by one point, 71-70, to Millard West.
Timing problems solved
The issues from Friday's morning session that caused delays and forced several races to be restarted were resolved by Saturday.
It turned out that the problem Friday was unusually strong winds affecting the timing sensor on the starter's gun.
At one point Friday, events were starting more than 40 minutes behind schedule and the wind was gusting close to 40 mph. Once the sensor was moved up the starter's arm and closer to the gun, the problem was solved.
Not his best, but it's a win
Establishing a state and meet record in Class C's 110-meter hurdles left Oakland-Craig senior Sean Pille with mixed feelings.
The Nebraska recruit was happy about the records and that he won the all-class gold medal in a time of 14.37. But the time was just a bit short of his season best hand-held time of 14.0.
“I'm not in it to win it. I'm in it to do my best. And that wasn't my best,” Pille said. “I knew I had to stay focused and do everything the best over every hurdle.”
Pille had to wait for the Class A and B races to end before he knew he had the all-class gold. After watching Lincoln Southwest's Josh Banderas and Bellevue West's Enrique Alvarez duel for the Class A title, Pille said it would have been fun to go head-to-head.
“We were talking before the race, and they're both nice kids,” Pille said. “I wish I could have raced against them.”
Pille also won the Class C 300 hurdles title by holding off a strong charge from Johnson-Brock senior Kale Wolken to win in 39.21.
Shoff not short for points
Mike Shoff just missed his goal of 175 feet in the Class D discus, but still emerged as the winner Saturday to go with the shot put title he won on Friday.
The South Dakota State football recruit had a winning throw of 170-8, and those 10 points helped Cambridge win the Class D team title 62-49 over runner-up Twin Loup.
You've got to arrive pretty early to get the best seats at the state track meet — a strategy employed Saturday by Roxann Olson of Kearney.
She was sitting in the grandstand near the finish line to watch her grandson Jacob compete in three events for Class A Kearney. She and her family were in their seats at 7:20 a.m., more than two hours before the first track event.
“I think we've got the best seats in the house,'' she said. “It's great to be right on top of the action.''
It was the fifth state meet attended by Olson — four to watch Jacob and one to watch her son Jon — Jacob's dad — compete in the pole vault in 1987.
“If someone offered me money for these seats, I'd tell them they didn't have enough,'' she said. “They can come back tomorrow and sit here for free.''
The singing of the national anthem before the meet by a group of singers from Omaha Burke kept cutting out on the loudspeakers.
Fans at times could hear every other word and at times could hear nothing at all.
The problem seemed to be fixed when Omaha Public Schools officials addressed the crowd shortly after.
Four Things to remember
Sitting on the grassy hill before the meet were the four members of the Laurel-Concord 400 relay team — each wearing a red T-shirt that paid homage to children's author Dr. Seuss.
They were Mitch Heikes (Thing 1), Kyle Kardell (Thing 2), Brett Haisch (Thing 3) and Justin Saunders (Thing 4).
“We bought them at the mall yesterday,'' Heikes said. “We thought they'd be kind of fun.''
Heikes was the voice of experience. It was his third state meet and the first for the other three Things.
“We'll need to get some good handoffs today,'' he said. “Hopefully we do OK.''
The team didn't do as well as it had hoped, finishing seventh in the Class C race won by Tekamah-Herman.
Son scores hat trick
Blake Micek of Hastings St. Cecilia made it three Class C titles in a row Saturday in the 100.
The red-haired speedster won the event in 10.97. He also won as a junior (10.86) and as a sophomore (10.83).
“It never gets old,'' he said. “It's a blast to be able to win this race again, even though timewise it wasn't my best.''
Micek is a chip off the old block. His father, Tom, ran track for the Bluehawks and held the school record in the 100 until Blake broke it this year.
“It felt really good to get that mark,'' Blake said. “He was definitely proud of me.''
Papillion-La Vista sophomore Kenzo Cotton used some disappointment in an earlier race to his advantage in the Class A 100 meters.
Cotton rolled to victory with a wind-aided 10.41, beating the time of 10.8 posted by runner-up Cale Korbelik of Millard North. That race came shortly after Cotton and the Monarchs had finished sixth in the 400 relay.
“After the 4x100, I was mad,'' he said. “We didn't do as well as we had hoped, so that was motivation for me.''
Cotton also went on to win the 200.
Gutting it out
Morrill senior Nathan Rice slowed to a near stop in the Class C 200 after apparently pulling a hamstring.
Though he lost his chance at victory, Rice continued to hobble along. He finally finished the race in 1:23.65, more than a minute behind the winning time of 22.18.
None of that mattered to the crowd, which applauded Rice every step of the way until he reached the finish line.
— Steve Beideck and Mike Patterson