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Why momentum will be on Evan Shepard's side when the A-G standout returns to 110 hurdles

Why momentum will be on Evan Shepard's side when the A-G standout returns to 110 hurdles

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RAYMOND — Like many other high school track and field athletes around the state this week, Evan Shepard didn’t run the event he’s a state championship contender in — the 110-meter high hurdles — at the Raymond Central Invitational on Thursday.

But when the Ashland-Greenwood junior returns to it next week at districts, he’ll be running with the momentum of a 14.79-second time he reeled off at the Capital Conference meet in Syracuse last Saturday.

That’s the fastest time in Class B this spring and second overall to a :14.33 by D’Andre Ndugwa of Kearney.

Not bad considering Shepard was running more than a full second slower with times of :15.97 in the preliminaries at the Ashland-Greenwood Invitational on March 26 and a :15.99 in the prelims at the Douglas County West Invitational on April 8.

Shepard’s preliminary time at conference was a :15.00, a personal best until he ran the finals a few hours later.

“I’ve just been working with one of my buddies, trying to get that time down,” said Shepard, who moved to Ashland from Illinois last summer, playing both football and basketball for the Bluejays before joining the track team in the spring.

“I’ve really focused on my form and just trying to improve from race to race,” Shepard added. “With my speed, I think the 110s are definitely a better race for me. The 300s are maybe a little too long.

He said he’s trying to ignore the pressure that comes with being a class chart leader late in the season.

“I don’t think about anything else other than trying to do my best,” Shepard said.

The only hurdle race Shepard ran in the final regular-season meet was the 300 intermediates, where he finished third. Lincoln Christian’s Alex Koch swept the hurdle gold medals at the 10-team meet, winning the 110s without Shepard in :15.69 and taking the 300s title in :42.30.

The only other individual to win two golds on the boys side was Raymond Central thrower Christian Schweitzer, who threw the shot put 47 feet, 4¾ inches and finished with a 129-5 in the discus.

North Bend Central won both the boys and girls team titles, with Fairbury finishing second in both team races.

Fairbury’s Mikya and Mikwena Lierman combined to win three gold medals. Mikya started her day by winning the girls pole vault (10-0) at Malcolm in the morning before Mikwena went to work on the track with victories in the 400 (:59.78) and 800 (2:23.37).

Raymond Central’s Grace Mueller, who is ninth on the overall girls long jump charts at 18-2, was upset by Kaitlyn Emanuel of North Bend Central in that event Thursday, Emanuel winning with a distance of 16-11½.

Mueller, however, won the triple jump (35-10), the 200 (:27.26) and ran a leg on the Mustangs’ victorious 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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