OMAHA – Avery Heard has painted a masterpiece of a Louisville athletic career with the brushstrokes of hard work, enthusiasm and perseverance.
She added the final touches to that canvas this past weekend with a state track and field medal.
Heard earned an eighth-place award in the 800 meters at the Class C State Meet. She compiled a time of 2:26.282 in her section of the event. There were 24 athletes who entered the state contest Saturday morning.
The LHS senior competed in the second of two sections in the 800. She began the race in the inside lane and remained in the upper half of the pack for the first 600 meters.
Heard then vaulted into the top eight spots with her work in the final 200 meters. She moved to lane two of the track and sprinted past several competitors to secure her medal.
Freeman junior Brylie Hartwig (2:18.08) captured first place and Chase County junior Mallie McNair (2:20.19) was second. Omaha Brownell-Talbot senior Eliza Rice (2:20.36) pocketed third place.
Heard also competed in the 400-meter and 1,600-meter relays for Louisville at the state meet. The 400 team of Heard, Cadance Stenger, Isandra Hagge and Meagan Mackling finished ninth in 51.718. The Lions registered a school-best time in the race.
Stenger, Hagge, Heard and Mackling became the second team to make Louisville history in the event this season. The group of Stenger, Faye Jacobsen, Heard and Mackling had soared to the top of LHS charts earlier this spring with a 51.84. They are the only two Louisville teams to ever break 52 seconds.
The quartet of Stenger, Faye Jacobsen, Heard and Mackling ended the state meet in the 1,600 relay. The Lions placed third in their section and 11th overall with a time of 4:17.001.
Heard finished her career third on the school’s all-time list of 800-meter runners. She posted a personal-best time of 2:25.81 at the District C-2 Meet. Grace Jacobsen (2:23.02, 2016) and Sandy Derby (2:23.40, 1992) are the only other Lions to have compiled faster times in the race.
Heard moved into the top ten in many other Louisville track categories this season. She is now in fourth place on the all-time charts in the 60 meters (8.82), 400 meters (1:03.35) and triple jump (33-4 1/4).
Heard was also a member of a 3,200-meter relay team that set a school-best time in 2016. Joeie Gaebel, Olivia Heard and Grace Jacobsen joined her for a 10:04.92 performance.
This year’s state meet marked the fourth time Heard has competed at Omaha Burke Stadium. She ran in the Class C 3,200-meter relay in her freshman and sophomore years. She then took part in the 400, 1,600 and 3,200 relays as a junior.