OMAHA — Never count Elli Dahl out of a race.
The other competitors in the Class A girls 3,200 meters found that out about the Fremont High School freshman on Friday afternoon at Omaha Burke.
Dahl made a dramatic charge in the last lap to catch Lindsey Blehm of Lincoln Southwest at the tape and win the race in 11:13.50. Blehm, a junior, finished in 11:13.53.
It was the second win of the day for Dahl, who finished third at the Class A state cross country meet in Kearney. She joined Taylor McCabe, Avery Decker and Myia Johnson on the Tigers’ victorious 3,200-meter relay team (9:24.53).
Dahl said she was hoping she had enough left to win the race. Teammate Mara Hemmer, a sophomore, was sixth in 11:26.76. Emily Nau was 11th in 11:54.45.
“I didn’t know if I’d catch (Blehm) for sure,” Dahl said. “I just knew I had to go as fast as I could. ... I’m just very surprised with myself and happy that I pushed myself every step of the way.”
Dahl said her cross country experience and competing in the first event of the day on the track (the 4x8) helped her for the open 3,200.
“Cross country gave me a lot of confidence,” she said. “I knew the crowd was going to be big and it would help give me more energy. I think the 4x8 definitely helped me because after we won that, I felt more relaxed.”
The victory in the relay was also sweet for the Tigers. Johnson ran on last year’s 4x8 that finished sixth. As a freshman, she ran on the FHS squad that was 13th.
“I’ve been here all three years,” Johnson said. “The first year didn’t go so great and we were sixth last year. To get first today is a major thing for us. I’m just so happy to do it with these guys.”
Decker, who will run the 800 meters with teammates McCabe and Lucy Dillon on Saturday, was excited to earn her first state medal.
“There was no pressure on us,” she said. “This is so surreal. I’m so proud to be here with my teammates. This is amazing.”
Decker will attend Nebraska Wesleyan in the fall and compete for the Prairie Wolves in track and cross country. Her older brother Preston runs for the men’s team.
“I think this is definitely a confidence builder for me,” she said. “It is nice to compete on a platform as big at this. It kind of gets the nerves out for college.”
McCabe is one of the top freshmen basketball players in the state, but she has demonstrated she is also a talented middle distance runner.
“My teammates and coaches are very supportive,” she said. “For me to come in and do another sport and have them believe in me is really cool.”
McCabe competed in track at the middle school level last year.
“But I wasn’t anywhere near where I am now,” she said. “I think it is the training and everything.”
McCabe said she faces a hectic summer with basketball. Her club squad, Team Factory, will travel to several tournaments in July.
“It is pretty exciting and crazy, but it is what I do,” she said. “I love it.”
Dillon qualified for the 400-meter finals on Saturday by running a 59.32 in the preliminaries. Freshman Allison finished 13th in the discus with a toss of 93-9.
Kennedy Jones (13.11) and Tania Gleason (12.80) of the Tigers competed in the 100-meter preliminaries, but didn’t qualify. Gleason finished the 200 preliminaries in 27.13, but didn’t qualify.
After four events, the Tigers lead Class A with 23 points. Southwest is second with 16 while Millard West is third with 14.
“I think if we all do our parts and try our hardest, we can do well as a team,” Dahl said.