OMAHA — The high jump competition at the state track meet on Friday morning got a little rowdy — in a good way.
Two jumpers, Carter Nelson from Ainsworth and Landon Olson from Battle Creek, were putting on a show, with both jumpers clearing 6 feet, 10 inches.
Since the event started before the action on the track, thousands of fans at Omaha Burke Stadium were focused on the Class C high jump. Nelson also carries added interest — he tied a class record with a 7-0 jump earlier this season, and a Nebraska football scholarship offer brings some clout, too.
When Nelson and Olson cleared a bar, loud roaring and clapping followed. That’s not something you get at most track meets leading up to state.
“It’s special because it’s something we don’t get very much,” Nelson said. “I remember when I jumped 7 foot at a track meet (at O’Neill) this year there was maybe 10 people watching. So when you got these many people around, it’s just something that’s special that I’ll never forget.”
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Nelson ended up winning the showdown with Olson and the state championship, giving the Ainsworth sophomore back-to-back state titles. Both he and Olson each cleared 6-10, but Nelson had fewer misses.
And Nelson and Olson share the Class C state meet record together at 6-10, passing a previous three-way tie at 6-9.
That was one of two state records set on Day 3 of the meet. Carson Noecker of Hartington Cedar Catholic improved his own Class C state meet record in the 3,200 (9:16.05) by about eight seconds.
Both Nelson and Olson attempted 7 feet. Nelson had one really good attempt at that height, but his feet hit the bar.
“It didn’t click, unfortunately, but there is always next year, and I’ll work to do better next year,” Nelson said.
Nelson is already one of the top athletes in the state while playing football, basketball and track. He could do any of those sports in college, but he’s definitely interested in playing college football.
And that athleticism shows in track, too. He also qualified for state in the 200-meter dash and pole vault. Nelson advanced to the 200 finals with the fifth-best time in the prelims.
His favorite event is the high jump, but he likes that he can do pole vault, too.
“Not many big kids are doing pole vault,” said Nelson, who is 6-foot-5 and about 205 pounds.
He won the pole vault at his district meet with a jump of 12-3.
He was also the Class C regular-season leader in the discus (175 feet), but he had a bad day at districts in that event and didn’t qualify for state.
Nelson and Olson met earlier in the season.
“I heard a kid from Battle Creek was going 6-8 so I was like, ‘I got to talk to this kid,'” Nelson said. “Ever since then we’ve talked at every track meet we’ve been at.”
Nelson had fun competing with Olson.
“As much I hated the fact that (Olson) was making it, I loved it,” Nelson said. “I’d like to win, but if I would have seen him go out in his last state track meet winning the high jump, especially at those heights, if I lose to a great competitor like that as long as I performed to the best of my ability I’m going to be happy with it.”
Photos: Classes C and D take the stage on Day 3 of the state track and field meet