KEARNEY -- Kearney High’s Miko Maessner ruled the sprints Saturday afternoon at the Nebraska High School Track and Field Championships.
The Bearcat junior edged Creighton Prep’s Noah Strako by just over a 10th of a second to win the 100-meter dash at Burke Stadium in Omaha. Maessner finished in 10.87-second time to Straka’s 10.97.
In the 200, Maessner was pulling away down the back stretch to win by three-tenths of a second over Papillion-La Vista South’s Michael MacLenahan. Maessner’s winning time was 21.84.
“All year long it’s been 21.6, 21.7, 21.8, so I’m happy with that time,” Maessner said after crossing the finish line in the 200. “It was a solid race. I got out fine and stayed relaxed.”
A relaxed running style is something he’s learned is a key to being successful, particularly in big meets and big races like the state track meet.
“It’s a big environment. People tighten up. They get stressed or whatever. The biggest thing is to get out of the blocks then relax,” he said.
Capitalizing on that knowledge he’s gained over the past two years helped him calmly cruised to victory in both sprints after his only winning experience last year came in the 4x100-meter relay..
When he won the first one Saturady, the 100, he said the only thing he felt was pure excitement.
“Just to be the state champ. I really wanted it. I’m just happy I got it,” he said.
He expected Strako would be his main challenger.
“It's been pretty back and forth with me and Straka mostly,” Maessner said.
But as they broke from the blocks, Maessner could see that another runner got a better start. It didn’t make any difference. Maessner has his running style down.
“About five meters away from the finish, I think I started to smile,” he said.
A smiling Miko Maessner is not something people would have expected after the last two years. He’s fought injuries and illness and seldom competed at 100 percent.
This year, he competed at 100 percent all year.
“It’s experience, Just knowing what I'm up against and just knowing my body better than I did last year,” he said.
Besides his solo efforts, Maessner ran the second leg of the 4x100 relay that finished fifth. Then he finished off the day, anchoring the 4x400 relay that finished second.
Those finishes helped the Bearcats score 38 points and finish eighth in the team standings. Kearney’s other points came from Cale Masters, who placed sixth in the 300-meter intermediate hurdles and from a sixth-place finish by the 4x800 relay team on Friday.