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Northeast's Romary converts good mojo into record time in 800-meter race at LPS championships

Northeast's Romary converts good mojo into record time in 800-meter race at LPS championships

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LPS Championships, 4.28

Lincoln North Star's Liem Chot (bottom right) set a new meet record in the boys 3,200-meter run in the LPS Championships on Wednesday at Beechner Athletic Complex.

Daniel Romary’s good feeling Tuesday carried over into something even better Wednesday at the Lincoln Public Schools track and field championships at the Beechner Athletic Complex.

The Lincoln Northeast junior shattered the 43-year-old meet record in the boys 800-meter run by almost 4 seconds, winning the event in 1 minute, 52.51 seconds in ideal running conditions — calm winds and temperatures in the low 60s after a brief rain shower between the preliminaries and finals. It’s the fastest time in the state this spring, and it lands Romary seventh on the all-time charts.

“Yesterday I felt the best I have all season, and I think it showed today,” said Romary, who also won the 1,600 in 4:16.90, another state best this spring, but short of the meet record of 4:16.10 set by Northeast’s Rob Greeno 50 years ago and matched by Southeast’s Nate Nielsen in 1987.

“But I had no idea I could run that fast today,” Romary added. “My goal for the season was 1:53 by state and I went by that today. I’ll have to readjust my goals now.”

The state record in the 800 is 1:50.82 by Millard North’s Brian Turner in 2000.

Romary’s win in the 1,600 came against North Star’s Liem Chot, who shattered the meet record earlier in the 3,200 with a 9:14.51, the best in the state this season.

Romary overtook Chot with 300 meters to go and used his speed to pull away at the end.

“My side started hurting about halfway through the race, and I just told myself to stay with Liem, fight through (the side ache) and then try to win it at the end,” Romary said.

For Chot, the win in the 3,200 and the time he registered puts him in a position to collect his first state track gold medal next month after winning the last three Class A state cross country titles.

“This (the 3,200) is still a little short for me, but this is my last high school season so (winning a state track gold) is a huge motivation for me,” said Chot, who is running college cross country and track next season at Temple.

Lincoln Southeast won the boys team title by a 146½-133 margin over Lincoln East, an effort led by senior pole vaulter Brady Koolen’s Class A and meet record of 16 feet, 4¼ inches, an effort that moves him into third on the state’s all-time charts.

Koolen, whose PR is 16-4¾ at the Adidas Indoor Nationals in February, made the winning height Wednesday on his third attempt of the finals after just barely knocking the bar off on his first two tries.

On his first jump at the state record height of 16-8, Koolen was over the bar but sent it off the standards with his hands on the way down. He had a surprised look on his face in the pit after the jump.

“I thought I had it. That’s something that’s definitely in my range and I have a few more meets to make it happen,” said Koolen, a Kansas recruit. “I’m glad the rain went away, but before the meet, Coach (Chris) Johnson got me in the mindset that we’re jumping today no matter the conditions and be prepared for it.”

Other gold medal winners for the Knights were John Yrastorza in the 100 (:11.13) and 200 (:22.44), Taveon Thompson in the high jump (6-3), Zendrick O’Neal in the triple jump (44-6½), Maddox Burton in the discus (163-3) and their 400 relay.


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High school sports reporter

Ron Powell is a longtime prep writer for the Journal Star. He covers high school football, boys basketball and track as well as state college football and Husker and professional tennis.

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