Just as PHS track and field coach Jonathan Ball predicted, Maddie Nossek is proving to be one of the Southwest’s finest all-around athletes.
Ball made the bold forecast last summer, only days after Nossek finished 14th with 3,892 heptathlon points at the 34th Annual Great Southwest Track and Field Classic.
On June 3 and 4, Nossek returned to the University of New Mexico, where the Great Southwest is annually held, set on improving upon last year’s performance.
Earning 4,364 points, the PHS 2010 graduate upped her total over last year by 400-plus points.
Her efforts were good enough to earn her in an eighth-place finish in a field of 20 elite invitees.
Lindsay Vollmer of Missouri, the heptathlon champion, put on a spectacular performance winning with 5,133 points.
One of Nossek’s finest performances among the seven grueling events entrants are required to compete in, came in the shot put where she was third with a throw of 34 feet, 5 inches. Vollmer’s toss of 35 feet, 10 inches won the title.
In the 800 meters, Nossek ran to a sixth-place finish in 2:29.18.
Colorado’s Brittany Lewis won in 2:22.46.
The event that kept Nossek from attaining an even higher overall finish was the 100-meter hurdles in which she was 17th in 16.82. La’ Tristan Pledger, of Kansas, took top honors in 13.97.
The other events and Nossek’s results were:
• Javelin – ninth, 91 feet, 8 inches
• High jump – eighth, 5 feet, 1.75 inches
• 200 meters – 11th, 26.92
• Long jump - sixth; 17 feet, 2.25 inches
Among those 2010 times and distances were some remarkable improvements over what Nossek did last season.
In the javelin in 2009, she threw 69 feet, 5 inches, in the long jump, she leaped 16 feet 8 inches and in the shot put she threw 31 feet, 2 inches.
Nossek’s showing at the event ranks next to what former Lady Longhorn Stephanie Robertson turned in during the 1999 season when she set a state record of 4,442 points. In 2005, Yuma Cibola’s JennaBree Tollestrup, who tallied 4,474 points, broke that Arizona mark.
The heptathlon has been a part of women’s track and field competition since since the early 1980s when it replaced the five-event pentathlon.
The javelin and 800 meters was added to the former pentathlon. It was first contested on the Olympic level in 1984.
The event gets its name from the Greek word “hepta” which means “seven.”
In most high school heptathlons, the first day’s events include 100-meter hurdles, high jump, shot put and 200-meter run.
On the second day, the long jump, javelin and 800-meter run are contested.
It is considered one of the more demanding multi-events in track and field because the different disciplines require athletes to develop skills in a variety of events outside their naturally gifted zone.
Competing at the college level
With the Great Southwest now in the rear view mirror, Nossek will steer her career toward Arizona State University where she will become a member of the Sun Devil track and field team.
Among the scholarships she received at PHS graduation ceremonies were ones from Mogollon Health Alliance, Kiwanis Club of Zane Grey Country, Central Arizona Board of Realtors and Mogollon Sporting Association.