Papillion-La Vista South did what they did all season to earn the state runner-up trophy at the Class A state meet.
The Titans used their depth of talent in multiple events to rack up 59 points to place second in the girls team standings. It was good for the best team finish in school history for the Titans, bettering their previous best of fourth.
“State runner-up is obviously great,” Papio South coach Jerrid Johansen said. “Late in the meet we have a lot of top-level kids that perform well and make it to the finals and rack up the points late.”
The Titans had eight different athletes earn at least one state medal and medaled in two relay events on their way to the runner-up showing.
“Our team has been really deep this year,” senior Olivia Sattlefield said. “We have people in so many events and we had a lot of fourths and that adds up.”
Leading the way for Papio South was sophomore Sunday Thiyang, who was the Class A and all-Class gold medal winner in the triple jump. Thiyang was the first Titan girl to win a state championship since 2013.
Johansen said Thiyang put in the work to win the state title.
“The all-Class gold was just icing on the cake for her,” Johansen said. “As a freshman she just showed up but this season she did a little bit more in the weight room and off-season condition and it paid off.”
Thiyang’s winning jump was 38-08.50, while the runner-up only reached 38-04.75. The Titan had her best jump in the preliminaries and it held for the title. Thiyang had the longest jump in the state in districts and that carried over to state.
“I have a lot of good competition out there but districts it was like, ‘I could win it if I do well,’” she said. “It was a big boost (having the best qualifying jump). It made me feel like I could do this.”
Thiyang earned medals in the triple jump and long jump at state last season and that success helped her take the next step on the big stage this year.
“It felt more normal but once you get on the runway the nerves start to kick in a little bit,” she said.
The future is bright for Thiyang and she’s not afraid to set lofty goals for herself.
“I have to keep practicing on holding my phases more and hopefully come back and get 41 feet next year,” she said.
Olivia Sattlefield left the state meet with three medals for the Titans. She placed fourth in the 300 hurdles while also taking fourth in the 400 relay and sixth on the 1,600 relay.
“I was a little disappointed because this is the fourth year in a row getting fourth in the 300 hurdles so I was hoping to do better but it was a pretty good time for me,” she said. “I was happy we did good on the relays because those gave us an edge to help us get the runner-up trophy.”
Nina Cuevas, Tate Norblade and Sekiya Simmons joined Sattlefield on the 400 relay team that took fourth. Cuevas added a third-place finish in the 100 dash while Simmons placed fourth in the 100 hurdles.
Norblade earned a pair of individual state medals. After an eighth-place finish in the 400, the sophomore ran to a fourth-place finish in the 200.
Norblade was hurt after the 200 so couldn’t compete in the 1,600 relay. Ashlyn Dierks stepped in to join Emily Richards, Olivia Rosenthal and Sattlefield to take sixth.
“Dierks came through with her best split of the year and we ran our best time with an alternate so that’s great,” Johansen said.
Rosenthal also earned a pair of individual state medals to cap a strong freshman season. Rosenthal place fifth in the 1,600 while adding a sixth-place showing in the 800. Kaylie Crews added a fourth-place finish in the 3,200.
The Titans also got a boost from their pole vaulting duo. Trinity Lovings and Mara LeGrand each cleared 10-6 to finish in fifth and sixth in the event, bettering their coach’s expectation.
“We were hoping to get like three points out of them, but we ended up getting seven,” Johansen said.
It was a banner state meet for the Titans, who did it all as a team. They ended their state title drought and had their best team finish in school history.
“I was hoping for a few more big numbers other than Sunday’s state title but we put enough together to get it done,” Johansen said.