OMAHA — As the defending Class D girls champion in the triple jump, 100-meter hurdles and 300 hurdles, Sterling junior Macy Richardson said she can feel the expectations.
“There’s definitely pressure,” Richardson said.
If it was present Friday, it didn’t show at Omaha Burke Stadium.
Richardson won the 100 hurdles prelims with in 15.19 seconds and the 300 hurdles prelims (:46:64). She beat last year’s championship time in the 100 hurdles by 0.17 seconds.
“There’s a bunch of girls, but my teammates and coaches have set me up for this,” Richardson said. “It all comes down to competing and giving all you got and seeing what happens.”
She had a little more competition in the 300 hurdles, only winning prelims by :00.05. Saturday afternoon, Richardson will have a chance to win her sixth gold medal in the last two seasons.
“Felt good to go out and run a prelim like that, but I know that for tomorrow, I’m going to have to be better,” Richardson said. “I know I’ve got to work for it.”
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Riverside senior Tony Berger is in a similar situation as the defending champion of the boys 110 hurdles.
He won the triple jump on Friday with a jump of 44 feet, 3¼ inches and placed first in the 110 hurdle prelims in :14.81.
“First two hurdles were pretty bad, but I was feeling pretty good coming into state,” Berger said. “I just need to make sure that everything I worked on in practice the last couple of weeks comes into effect during the race.”
Last year was Berger’s first year in the hurdles. He said he also can feel the attention drawn to him on the track.
“I knew that people were going to have their eyes on me and that everyone was going to try and beat me,” Berger said. “A lot of the same kids I ran against were running against me. I just want to prove to everyone that I am the best 110 hurdler.”
Berger is also the favorite in long jump, which will take place Saturday morning.
One athlete who dominated an event was Merdian’s Kaylee Pribyl. She competed in the pole vault and won by over 1 foot, clearing a bar set at 11 feet.
“I was just excited to be here,” Pribyl said. “My PR before was 10-9, so 11-00 was a big deal to me because it’s a new school record.”
Pribyl, a junior, said she’s planning on putting in the work to repeat as next year’s champion.
“I’m very excited for next year,” Pribyl said. “I’m planning on going to a lot of camps and improving a lot over the year.”