Lady Horn Looking For Challenge To Close Prep Career

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Andy Towle/Roundup - atowle@payson.com

Maddie Nossek was a one-person highlight film at the Safford Invitational track meet, racking up 36 out of a possible 40 points. She was eventually chosen the meet’s Outstanding Female Athlete.

Maddie Nossek admits she is among the many Payson High School upperclassmen now pondering, “I was just a freshman, I blinked, and I’m a senior.”

She says, “I can’t believe how fast (high school) has passed; I was told it would be this way, but kind of didn’t believe it.”

Those around Nossek are also mulling the passage of time remembering that four years have passed since she was a freshman track and field phenom, who won the state long jump crown with a leap of 16 feet, 8 inches.

With that feat she earned a ducat to Arizona’s Meet of Champions joining the likes of several PHS greats that preceded her including Bo Althoff, Mark Hochstetler, Nicole Engstrom, Tim Ryden, Jeremy Hoff, Jon Gunzel and others.

Today, with almost four full years of untold academic and athletic success behind her, Nossek spends her time preparing for her final season as a Lady Longhorn.

The campaign arrives in the form of the track and field season, which begins March 2 at the Northern Arizona University Walkup Skydome in Flagstaff.

There, Nossek will begin pursuit of what she hopes will be her finest season ever.

As one of the most well-rounded, all-around athletes in school history, she will compete in a myriad of events including a first attempt at one of the most demanding events in track and field — pole vault.

“I’m excited about that,” said Nossek. “It will be a challenge.”

Although she is anxiously looking forward to pole vaulting, it is not one of the events in an Olympic sport, the heptathlon, in which she is working feverously to excel.

The seven events in the heptathlon include the 100-meter hurdles, high jump, shot put, 200 meters, long jump, javelin throw and 800 meters.

The teen’s interest in the event heighted last summer when she finished 14th at the prestigious 34th Annual Southwest Track and Field Classic at the University of New Mexico.

She compiled an impressive 3,892 points competing against some of the finest invited athletes from around the western United States.

Her performance, PHS coach Johnathan Ball said, “Established her as a front runner for next year’s Great Southwest as eight (of the) athletes in front of her were seniors.”

Rendering Nossek’s performance in New Mexico even more spectacular is that she had never competed in six of the events and in the shot put had competed only once.

If Nossek does well in this year’s Great Southwest, she plans on entering another heptathlon in Oregon.

“That’s my goal,” she said.

But with the new prep season looming, she’s also set to contribute to the Longhorn cause in whatever events she’s called upon, including the sprints, jumps and throws.

Many a Lady Horn fan has attempted to pinpoint what event Nossek is best at, but she is so good in all of them, it’s an almost impossible task.

This preseason, the PHS senior remains confident that she and her teammates can capture the attention of small-town Arizona track and field by becoming East Region and state title contenders.

“If we all work hard, we are going to be be good,” she said.

If the season unfolds as Nossek predicts, she’ll begin the summer months exploring her postgraduate opportunities and hopefully gain a chance to take her considerable talents to the next level.

As an honor student with plenty of extra curricular plaudits behind her, Nossek should be an inviting recruit for scouts and coaches looking to bolster their team with a quality student-athlete.

Her recruitment and signing, which her many boosters, friends and fans are cheering for, would be a fitting cap for a talented and dedicated young lady who has paid her dues on and off the playing field.

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