• Photo Showcase: Nebraska state track, May 19
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Hail the king and queen of the state sprints: Kenzo Cotton and Clara Nichols.
Cotton, a Papillion-La Vista sophomore, struck down the oldest record in boys track at Saturday's state meet and Nichols, a Millard South senior, pocketed four all-class gold medals, a first for a girls sprinter in 21 years.
Cotton's 21.31 in the boys 200 meters finally yanked the state record from former Husker and pro football player Kent McCloughan of Broken Bow, who ran a hand-held 21.4 in the 220-yard dash at the 1961 state meet. Mike Ockerman of Bellevue West ran a hand-held 21.4 in the 200 meters at the 1981 meet for a share of the record.
“Now whenever I look at the program I'll see my name,” said Cotton, who also won the 100 gold in a wind-aided 10.41. “Maybe next year I can get that in the 100.”
Nichols came away with only the fifth four-gold haul by a runner in the 42 years of girls track. Mallery Ivy of Omaha Central (1987 and 1988) and Kathy Travis of Lincoln Christian (1991) were the other sprinters. Omaha Marian's Emily Sisson in 2008 is the only distance runner with four golds in one year.
After winning the 400, 100 and 200, Nichols was taxed to the max by her pursuit of the final gold — in the 1,600 relay. She took the baton in fourth place, well off the lead, but came around the final curve in front and nearly matched the Patriots' state-record time set two weeks ago at the Metro Conference meet. The 3:52.94 time still garnered the state meet record.
“My legs feel like tree trunks,” Nichols said, still on her back 15 minutes after the race. “This was a perfect way to end my high school career.”
It was a career that ended with nine all-class golds.
Her Patriots and Class A boys champion Kearney won the Gregg McBride Grand Championship Awards in the gold-medal scoring.
Class A's girls title, however, went to Millard West. The Wildcats edged two-time defending champion Omaha North by one point for their first title in girls track. The Wildcats were runners-up the past two years.
Other team champions were Scottsbluff's boys and Lexington's girls in Class B, Hastings St. Cecilia's boys and Fillmore Central's girls in Class C and Cambridge's boys and Lindsay Holy Family's girls in Class D.
A cooler, calmer day, compared with Friday's heat and gusty winds at Burke Stadium, produced several marks for the all-time charts:
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• Nichols is 10th in the 200 after her 24.67 and ran the sixth-fastest electronic time in the 100 (11.97).
• Omaha North's girls 400 relay ran a season-best 47.83 to move from fifth to third.
• Rachel Bramhall of Papillion-La Vista South improved her No. 4 time in the girls 300 hurdles to 43.58.
• Papio South (3:55.69) is fourth and Omaha North seventh (3:56.86) in the girls 1,600 relay.
• Mohamed Hamdan of Lincoln North Star moved from seventh to sixth in the boys 1,600 with a 4:14.35 to succeed in defending his gold medal.
Lincoln Southwest senior Mary Hillis (girls 1,600 and 3,200) was the only other double gold-medal champion.
Andrea Weeder of Holy Family set a Class D girls record with 13 career wins in 16 events, including three wins this year. She was the first since Karlene Erickson of Wheeler Central (1980 to 1983) to win the Class D 1,600 and 3,200 each of her four seasons.
Kearney got golds Saturday from Jacob Olson in the 800 and from its 400 relay to win its 14th Class A title since 1994. It also was the 14th McBride Award for the Bearcats, who scored 98.5 points to 62 for first-time runner-up Papillion-La Vista.
Millard West's girls had only one win, a gold in the triple jump by Lanie Snyder.
Lexington, which trailed Holdrege by a point entering the 1,600 relay, won the race to grab its first Class B girls title since 2005 and the fourth overall.
Scottsbluff won only the 400 relay in earning its first boys title since sharing the 1968 Class A title with Grand Island.
St. Cecilia's title was its third in a row in Class C boys. Blake Micek was 100-meter champion for the third straight year and repeated in the 200.
Fillmore Central set the Class C girls scoring record with 81 points, winning three events, as the Panthers repeated as state champions. Last year's title was in Class B.
Cambridge matched Leyton in 1986 and Falls City Sacred Heart in 1994 as Class D champions with five wins in one year. Kaden Huxoll swept the 100, 200 and 400 and South Dakota State football recruit Mike Shoff won the shot put and discus.
Holy Family was the first Class D girls team since Elwood in 1974 to win five events, and it tied Eustis-Farnam's 1991 scoring record of 80 points. Kaylee Jensen won the discus and Catherine Weeder the high jump for the Bulldogs.
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