Payson High School senior Maddie Nossek travels today, May 7, to Show Low for the East championships toting an impressive load of regional track and field rankings.
In the East, her marks include:
• 1st, high jump — 5 feet, 6.25 inches
• 1st, long jump —17 feet, 1.75 inches
• 1st, 800 meters — 2:27.18
• 2nd, shot put — 34 feet, 1 inch
• 3rd, 400 meters — 1:02.64
• 3rd, 200 meters — 27.80
• 4th, 110-meter hurdles — 17.31
It’s a rare and talented athlete good enough to be ranked among the top four in seven different events, but Nossek has achieved that feat.
Probably most impressive among her marks is the 800-meter standard, which she set just last week at the Winslow Invitational.
Prior to that, the best time she had turned in was a 2:38.47 at the Round Valley Invitational.
“When she started her final kick (at Winslow) she had this look in her eye like nobody was going to catch her,” said coach Jonathan Ball. “I felt sorry for the people she was running against.”
Early in her prep career, most observers didn’t consider the 800 meters to be Nossek’s best event. She was thought of more as a long jumper because she won the event crown at the state championships her freshman season.
But over the years, especially between her junior junior and senior seasons, she continued to condition and train building endurance, strength and speed.
“Maddie’s off season was incredible, she worked so hard and has come back a much stronger athlete,” said Ball.
Her dedication to the training program has molded Nossek into one of the premier half-milers in the state.
Her development over the seasons has also created an ever so pleasant quandary for Ball and assistant coach Chuck Yale.
For regionals and the state finals, rules restrict athletes to four events which means the two coaches’ job will be to put her in the four she can best help the team.
They know, however, she could score points in just about any of seven events, as well as the 4x200 relay.
So, which four will Ball and Yale ask her to enter?
That query will be answered today and tomorrow in Cougar land.
While Nossek produces points almost as fast as J.D. Hayworth spews political rhetoric, she is by no means the only top gun in the Lady Horns’ arsenal.
Holly West is one of the finest shot put and discus athletes in the state and is a favorite to win both at the East finals.
Her best mark in the shot of 36 feet, 8 inches is more than two feet farther than any mark in the East this season.
In the discus, she has thrown 95 feet, 6 inches, which easily out distances Blue Ridge’s Katy Gillespie’s runner-up distance of 88 feet, 9 inches.
At the Winslow Invitational, West won the shot throwing 35 feet, 8 inches, but was sixth in a loaded discus field with a toss of 93 feet, 2.5 inches.
Although the Lady Horns’ lineup card for regionals is not yet etched in stone, there are several others being counted on to produce the team points it takes to win the East crown.
They include Morgan Chilson (100 and 200 meters), Evilna Salminen (discus), Laura Aaltanon (200 and 400 meters), Liz Harpe (800 meters), Iris Molina (800 meters), Lauren Nossek (800 meters), Lucy Schouten (1,600 meters), Ashley Spear (1,600 meters), Bethany Sprinkle (300 meter hurdles and high jump) and Jaymi Carlen (pole vault).
Sprinkle qualified for state in the high jump at Winslow prompting Ball to say, “She has been working hard all season and it was rewarding to watch her.”
The 4x800 relay, which has included in the past Sarah Cluff, Maddie Nossek, Harpe and Chilson, could also be a point producer.
The 4x400 team of Aaltanon, Kendall Lann, Katie Welker and Maddie Nossek is also expected to show well in the final two meets of the season.
The East meet wraps up tomorrow with finals in each event.
The state meet is set for May 13 to May 15 at Sun Angel Stadium on the campus of Arizona State University in Tempe.