Story and photo by Brian McKim
For Falls City’s RaeAnn Thompson, rewriting the school record books simply wasn’t enough for the sophomore. At the NSAA State Track and Field Meet held at Omaha Burke High School on Friday, May 21, and Saturday, May 22, Thompson set the track on fire, winning both the Class B 100m and 200m dash. Thompson equaled her school record of 12.15 in the prelims of the 100m dash on Friday before running a 12.16 Saturday afternoon in the finals for her first gold medal. On Saturday evening, Thompson left the field in her dust, running out of lane 2 to win her second gold medal. Thompson crossed the line in 25.36, demolishing her school record by over half a second to pull off the sweep in the Class B sprints. Thompson was fifth fastest in the prelims, running a 25.91, but caught and passed the stacked field by the straightaway and pulled away from the competition down the stretch. For the season, Thompson lost just one race, the 100m dash at the Syracuse invite back on April 15. At that meet, Thompson was edged out by Morgan Mahoney of Beatrice by .02.
When asked about the 100m dash championship, Thompson said, “I was just trying to do my best, trying to PR. (Personal Record) It was great and I can’t wait to come back.”
After the 200 title, Thompson let on that she expected to win both races. However, to do that, she would have to come from lane two, something she hasn’t had to do before. She said the 200m win was more satisfying because she was more of an underdog in the race.
“I had to push much harder to catch up with everybody else and then having another gear to kick in and go faster,” said Thompson.
When asked to sum up her first experience at the NSAA State Championships, the humble sophomore used few words, “It was perfect.”
On Friday afternoon, sophomore Madi Jones competed in the Class B girls triple jump. In her first attempt, Jones fouled and that seemed to set the tone. Her next two jumps were a little timid and she finished with a best leap of 31-08.75, off of her season-best jump of 34-03. Jones finished 24th in the Class B field. Addison Thomas of Elkhorn High School won the event with a leap of 37-01.50.
On Saturday afternoon, freshman Ashleigh Kirkendall competed in the high jump in the first field event of the day. Kirkendall made state by finishing third at districts with a jump of 4-07. With the starting height at 4-10, Kirkendall failed to clear the bar on her three attempts finishing 21st. Kailynn Gubbels of Arlington won the girl’s high jump at 5-08. Gubbels went on to set a new Class B record in the 100m hurdles (14.59) and took second in the 300m hurdles.
Also competing at 3:00 on Saturday afternoon was junior Jaden Nolte in the shot put. Nolte entered the state meet with a throw of 47-04 at the district meet held at Platteview High School. On Nolte’s first attempt, nerves took over and he failed to break 40-00. On his second attempt, Nolte stepped out of the ring and fouled. On his third and final attempt, Nolte had his best throw of the day, 42-10.50, well short of what he has thrown all season long. Gage Griffith from Aurora High School took home the gold medal with a toss of 55-08.25.
Overall, the Lady Tigers finished in 13th place with 20 points. York won the Class B team title with 63 points, edging out Elkhorn North with 62.5 points. Hastings won the boy’s title, scoring 47 points, outscoring Waverly by one point for the championship.