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Alyssa Brabec waits to start the 4x1 relay at the 2009 state track meet.
Alyssa Brabec awaits the command to being the NBC 4x1 relay at the 2009 state track meet. The relay had set the school record a week earlier in districts.

400m relay runs to record

by Nathan Arneal
published 5/27/09

In only their second race together, the quartet of Alyssa Brabec, Cassie Schutt, Chelsea Kreikemeier and Kayla Van Norman carried the baton around the Oakland-Craig track faster than any previous group of Tigers.

At the district meet May 14 [2009], the North Bend 400-meter relay team set a new school record with a time of 51.7 seconds. That shaved two-tenths of a second off the previous record set by Allison Ronnau, Chelsea Main, Jennifer Wesely and Keri Pabian in 2003.

Kayla Van Norman finished the relay at the 2009 state meet
Kayla Van Norman runs the anchor leg of the 400m relay at the 2009 state track meet.

Brabec and Schutt were added to the relay for the first time the previous week at the Bergan Invite. Coach Dan Watts said he made the move with his eye on the state meet. While Brabec and Schutt are the fastest sprinters on the team, Watts had been running them in individual events to score points. But knowing that Schutt’s time in the 100 and Brabec’s time in the 200 probably wouldn’t score at state, Watts took them out of those races and added them to the relay, which he thought had a chance to score in Omaha.

The first time on the track with the new lineup, handoffs were a little shaky, but they still ran a 52.3 at Bergan, four tenths of a second from the school record.

Brabec, the lead-off runner, said she knew the district race was noticeably better, even before she heard the time.

“Our handoffs were way better and it just felt more positive than it did the first time,” she said. “We weren’t as nervous this time.”

Their district race was fast enough for the gold medal, beating East Husker Conference champion Lyons-Decatur by more than half a second.

The Tiger foursome qualified for the fast heat at state. Once the teams were ready to go and the first runners were standing over their starting blocks, the race was delayed for several minutes while officials debated an interference call in the first heat of Class C relays. The first heat was later re-run with two of the original teams disqualified.

North Bend, who only had to run the race once, wound up in ninth place with a time of 52.126 seconds, 0.316 behind an eighth-place medal.

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