• Photo Showcase: Nebraska state track meet, May 18
• Video Below: Sights and sounds from the state meet, as well as athlete and fan interviews
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One lap around the track was a Rush at the state track meet.
Grand Island Northwest's Cody Rush, helped and then hindered by gusty south winds, circled the Burke Stadium oval in 47.05 seconds for the Class B record in the boys 400 meters in a qualifying heat for Saturday's final. The time ranks second on the all-time charts.
“I kicked it the first 100 with the wind at my back,” Rush said. “I ran the final 200 meters just hanging on for the end.”
What doesn't count as a record is the wind-aided 10.49 in the 100-meter preliminaries by Papillion-La Vista sophomore Kenzo Cotton. The state record in the shortest sprint race is 10.5. Cotton then sped to a season-best 21.69 in the 200 heats.
Wind that approached 40 mph, along with temperatures in the 80s, slowed the elite of distance running. Class A's boys 3,200 final was the slowest in 16 years. Class B champion Tommy Feichtinger of Elkhorn Mount Michael, who ran during the daytime session, ran 13 seconds slower than his season best and still repeated as all-class gold medalist.
If not for Ryan Cox's strong finishing kick that lifted Metro Conference team champion Millard North to victory in the Class A 3,200 relay, Class B winner Mount Michael would have had a second gold-medal performance.
No girls records fell Friday and no one made the all-time charts.
More opportunities will come with Saturday's finals that start at 9:30 a.m. on the track with the 800 meters. The 115th annual state meet wraps up by 6 p.m. with the conclusion of the 1,600-meter relays.
Rush moved past P.J. Grosserode of Lincoln Pius X, who ran 47.25 in 1997, into second place all time. The state record-holder is Lukas Hulett of Bellevue East, who ran 46.98 in 2006. Rush, a Nebraska recruit, dropped .65 seconds off his personal best.
“I felt relaxed and rested,” he said. “I wanted to show what I could do. The state meet atmosphere helped.
“I hope I can get a little bit more rest tonight and see what I can get to (Saturday).”
Grabbing gold in the two girls track finals Friday were Seward in the 3,200 relay and Lincoln Southwest senior Mary Hillis in the 3,200.
Seward first beat state leader Holdrege for the Class B title, then the Bluejays waited until Class A winner Lincoln Pius X finished two seconds slower.
George Mason recruit Michelle Wallerstedt of Omaha Burke had the best gold-medal distance in the girls discus — 156-10 — since older sister Michaela threw 164-9 in 2004. Michelle Wallerstedt won her second gold medal in three years.
Nebraska recruit Maggie Malone of Class C Fillmore Central won her second career gold medal and first in the girls long jump at 18-11½.
South Dakota State football recruit Mike Shoff of Class D Cambridge, the only shot putter to top 60 feet this season, went 60-11½ for his second class title and first gold medal.
Stacy Keely's state-leading 6-10 gave Omaha Northwest its first gold medal in the boys high jump.
Deng Nguot in the triple jump was Omaha South's first all-class champion since 1999.
Andrea Weeder of Lindsay Holy Family increased her Class D championship-medal haul to 12, out of 14 races, by completing career sweeps in the 3,200 relay and the 3,200 meters.
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