The 2022 spring track and field season may be over for Colorado high school sports, but the local kids aren’t done impressing yet.
In the past couple of weeks, St. Vrain and Boulder Valley athletes brought home not one, not two, but four national titles at the Nike Outdoor Nationals that were held at the University of Oregon.
Connor McCormick, who continuously wowed at Longmont throughout his high school career and will undoubtedly continue to impress at Princeton, did what he does best. He snuck up on the competition in the last 50 meters for a come-from-behind win in the mile, something that’s become a bit of a trademark to his running style.
“My strategy going into it was just to ride it out for the first lap or two, and then see what the pace was,” McCormick said. “If I thought there was a chance, I could try to challenge that four-minute barrier than I would. But after two laps, we were quite a bit behind that, so my goal at that point was kind of just to win.”
He clocked in at 4 minutes, 8.59 seconds.
Going into his final season, McCormick never planned on winning a national title. Instead, he focused on what he could do at the state meet, which he conquered with relative ease. He won two individual state titles and broke the Class 4A meet record in both events.
He wasn’t the only local star to walk away with gold as, naturally, the Niwot girls took home some hardware as well.
Stella Vieth, Bella Nelson, Mia Prok and Madison Shults set a venue record for the meet in their bid for the 4×800-meter relay crown (8:51.75) as Nelson, Eva Klingbeil, Prok and Shults stunned the competition in the 4×1-mile relay (19:48.13). Shults, Kimora Northrup, Vieth and Klingbeil matched that feat in the girls distance medley championship with a time of 11:33.91.
Just up the west coast from Hayward Field, Niwot graduate Zane Bergen came tantalizingly close to breaking the four-minute mile at Brooks PR in Seattle while winning another event. He claimed the crown in the 1,500 with a 3:44.34 mark and took the silver in the mile after clocking in at 4:00.48. The champion, Simeon Birnbaum, crossed the finish line at 3:59.51.
“(At) Brooks PR, my only goal was to win,” Bergen said. “I was not chasing any time and sub-4 really wasn’t in my mind. I had some wardrobe malfunctions which were more readily on my mind. It was a little sad to come so close but I’m happy that I’ve improved over the year.”
The national hardware, undoubtedly, will only bolster Bergen’s college career as he heads to Stanford to boost an already stacked program.
Other top performances from Nike:
GIRLS 800: Stella Vieth, Niwot, ninth (2:11.78); Madison Shults, Niwot, 15th (2:13.6)
GIRLS MILE: Maelynn Higgins, Broomfield, ninth (4:51.45); Eva Klingbeil, Niwot, 10th (4:52.00); Bella Nelson, Niwot, 13th (4:52.40); Mia Prok, Boulder, 14th (4:52.83)
BOYS 5000: Tyler Ball, Lyons, 18th (15:12.10)
GIRLS 5000: Tessa Everett, Niwot, 16th (18:11.15)
GIRLS 400 HURDLES: Kimora Northrup, Niwot, 12th (1:04.12)
GIRLS 4X200: Niwot (Stella Vieth, Kathryn Carroll, Kimora Northrup, Madison Shults), fourth (1:42.74)
BOYS 4X400: Niwot, (Nicholas Stade, Ben Classen, Eric Walker, Zane Bergen), sixth (3:21.02)
GIRLS 4X400: Niwot (Stella Vieth, Kimora Northrup, Julia Rudolph, Madison Shults), second (3:51.28)
BOYS 4X1 MILE RELAY: Niwot (Stefan Haug, Kye Toothaker, Gavin Engtrakul, Sammy Jackman), fifth (18:39.78)
GIRLS 800 SPRINT MEDLEY: Niwot (Julia Rudolph, Stella Vieth, Kimora Northrup, Madison Shults), second (1:46.97); Holy Family (Isabella Rossi, Kenna Crookha, Alexis Mendlik, Skylar Hawk), sixth (1:56.56)
BOYS 1600 SPRINT MEDLEY CHAMPIONSHIP: Niwot (Nicholas Stade, Eric Walker, Ben Classen, Frederick Ambrose), sixth (3:38.37)
GIRLS 1600 SPRINT MEDLEY CHAMPIONSHIP: Niwot (Eliana Henriques, Kathryn Carroll, Julia Rudolph, Anna Prok), sixth (4:12.45)
GIRLS POLE VAULT: Megan Kelleghan, Silver Creek, tied ninth (12-08.25)
BOYS DECATHLON: Nicholas Stade, Niwot, 20th (5256)