This year, Iowa doesn't even appear in the finish-line photo.
Nebraska state track athletes left their counterparts to the east in the dust when The World-Herald for the seventh straight year compared all-class performances from last weekend in similar events.
Nebraska won the boys contest 9-5, while its girls were even more dominant, running up a 9-3 victory. Last year the Iowa boys won 9-5, and the Nebraska girls ended a three-year run of Iowa sweeps with a 7-5 triumph.
Iowa again had 70 more schools fielding track teams than its neighbor, making Nebraska's victories even more impressive.
We've never called this a scientific endeavor. It's a reasonably fair comparison, given that the events are now held the same weekend about 140 miles apart. But there are still many variables that keep it from being a perfect comparison, like weather conditions (especially wind), track surface and the timing of the event on the meet schedule, as it applies to an athlete's fatigue.
That's not even considering two other obvious factors. One, the states don't share the same events. But 14 boys and 12 girls events seem to be enough data to make it a worthwhile undertaking. And two, in the closer comparisons, one winner in the comparison might have been pushed to the wire, while his or her counterpart might have cruised to victory.
This year, the wind difference seemed to have been greater than in any of the previous six years we've compiled the chart. While Nebraska sprinters and high hurdlers primarily ran with a tailwind, Iowa sprinters ran into a headwind.
For instance, Cedar Falls' James Harrington won the Iowa 200 in 21.52 running into a headwind measured at 3.9 meters per second, pretty significant. Last year, the Alabama recruit set an all-time Iowa record for a fully automatic 200 with a 21.16 clocking at state.
I'm not saying he clearly would have defeated Papillion-La Vista sophomore Kenzo Cotton (21.31) in the 200. I am saying that I'd pay to watch those two go at it in the 100 and 200.
It's also interesting that Iowa doesn't take wind into account in its record book. Cotton's 10.41 in the 100 won't go into the Nebraska books because the tailwind was over the limit. In Iowa, if you run a record time or make a record long jump with the wind, it goes into the books as a record performance.
While Nebraska dominated the sprints with Cotton and Millard South's Clara Nichols, Iowa's superiority in the 3,200 relays was striking. Iowa's boys had 14 3,200 relay times better than Nebraska's best. Its girls had 11 times better than the top Nebraska time, including nine in Class 4-A alone.
And in the boys 3,200, Iowa's top 14 times bested the Nebraska all-class winner.
Again, Iowa has more athletes, so perhaps it should win most of the relays. But that type of dominance jumps out at you.
Of course, Nebraska had its shining moments as well. Its top four girls long jumpers sailed past the Iowa all-class winner, and Nebraska won three of the four girls field events.
Regardless, enjoy the comparisons. Anyone listed on the chart is to be commended.
However, this is where the back-slaps end. There is no traveling trophy to hand out, no statewide victory lap to take.
Although on second thought, the meets are held at Burke (Bulldogs) and Drake (Bulldogs). Anyone got a bronze Bulldog collecting dust in their basement?
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IOWA-NEBRASKA HIGH SCHOOL TRACK COMPARISONS
This is the seventh year The World-Herald has compared the best times and distances from the high school track and field meets in Nebraska and Iowa. Iowa had 70 more schools competing in track than Nebraska in 2012.
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Nebraska: Kenzo Cotton, Papillion-La Vista 10.41
Iowa: James Harrington, Cedar Falls, 11.13
N: Kenzo Cotton, Papillion-La Vista 21.31
I: James Harrington, Cedar Falls 21.52
N: Cody Rush, Grand Island Northwest 47.31
I: James Harrington, Cedar Falls 48.27
I: Will Teubel, Mount Vernon 1:53.35
N: Jacob Olson, Kearney 1:53.63
N: Mohamed Hamdan, Lincoln North Star 4:14.39
I: Matt Butler, Bettendorf 4:18.92
I: Cole Decker, West Des Moines Dowling 9:17.65
N: Thomas Feichtinger, Elkhorn Mount Michael 9:40.98
110 HIGH HURDLES
N: Sean Pille, Oakland-Craig 14.37
I: Josh Zeiser, Collins-Maxwell-Baxter 14.58
N: Kearney 42.25
I: Cedar Falls 42.48
N: Millard West 3:19.52
I: West Des Moines Valley 3:20.25
I: Waukee 7:49.79
N: Millard North 8:02.23
I: Jerry Westerfield, Davenport North 24-1
N: Justin English, Grand Island 23-6 1/2
I: Tyler Hovey, Atlantic 187-9
N: Christian Hodson, Adams Central 177-6
N: Stacy Keely, Omaha Northwest 6-10
I: Justin Randall, Burlington 6-8
N: Mike Shoff, Cambridge 60-11 1/2
I: Avery Meyers, West Liberty 58-2 3/4
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N: Clara Nichols, Millard South 11.97
I: Sydney Howard, Fairfield 12.46
N: Clara Nichols, Millard South 24.67
I: Sydney Howard, Fairfield 25.18
N: Clara Nichols, Millard South 55.30
I: Alisha Jones, Davenport North 56.04
I: Mahnee Watts, Bettendorf 2:12.52
N: Molly Sughroue, McCook 2:15.20
N: Brianna McGhee, Omaha North 14.42
I: Mary Young, Urbandale 14.87
N: Omaha North 47.83
I: Urbandale 48.00
N: Millard South 3:52.94
I: Cascade 3:55.52
I: Waukee 9:16.35
N: Seward 9:39.05
N: Maggie Malone, Fillmore Central 18-11 1/2
I: McKennan Cronbaugh, Iowa City West 18-3
N: Michelle Wallerstedt, Omaha Burke 156-10
I: Katelyn Weimerskirch, Dubuque Wahlert 154-7
N: Toni Tupper, Lincoln Northeast 43-9
I: Amanda Houston, Fort Madison 42-9
I: Chaley Rath, Treynor 5-8 1/4
N: Shelbi Bittinger, Milford 5-6