Payton Mathews

Pryor Mathews  competed at the Junior High State Track Meet in Gothenburg. Photo courtesy

O'Neill Eighth grader Pryor Mathews represented the O’Neill Eagles at the Nebraska State Championship meet on Saturday, May 15th in Gothenburg. The event, held in near perfect conditions, featured many of the top junior high track and field athletes from across the state.

Mathews started his day by competing in the 100M hurdle prelims. He qualified for the finals by finishing second in heat two and set what turned out to be a short-lived school record with a time of 14.78. That mark bettered Dillon Babutzke’s effort of 15.39 which had stood since 2013.

Next up for Mathews was an all-finals event, the 200M hurdles. Running in lane one of the second heat, he pulled away at the mid-way point of the race and sprinted to a school record time of 28.22. That time eclipsed Jon Gettert’s mark of 28.9 that stretched back to 2012. It also stood up well against the other heats and earned Mathews the third -place medal. Crete’s Landon Fye won the event in a time of 27.58. About 45 minutes later he put the exclamation point on an excellent season with a second- place finish in the 100M hurdle final. In the process, he re-set his own O’Neill JH record by posting a time of 14.63. Caden Joneson of North Platte won in a time of 14.20.

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