A dedicated ESPNHS team managed the Gatorade State Girls Track & Field Athlete of the Year selection process, resulting in winners based on the program's three pillars: athletic production and impact in the 2012 season, high academic achievement and exemplary personal character.
For her 50 fellow Gatorade State Girls Track & Field Athletes of the Year winners, click here.
THE WINNER: Clara Nichols
School: Millard South (Omaha, Neb.)
Athletic achievement: Nichols won the 100-meter dash with a time of 11.96 seconds, the 200-meter dash in 24.66 and the 400-meter dash in 55.29 at the Class A state meet this spring. A 2012 First Team All-State selection, she was the fastest Nebraska competitor and earned second place in the 400 with a time of 56.07 at the Kansas Relays. Her 400 clocking at the state meet ranked as the nation’s No. 66 time by a prep competitor at the time of her selection.
Academic excellence: Nichols has maintained a 3.82 GPA in the classroom.
Exemplary character: An active member of the French, Math and Science Clubs, she is a staff writer for her school newspaper and has volunteered locally on behalf of an anti-bullying program and as a youth track and field coach.
“In my seven years of coaching track and field in Nebraska, Clara Nichols is easily one of the top five athletes I have seen come through the state,” said Danny Gray, head coach at Burke (Omaha, Neb.). “Her ability to compete at such a high level at so many different distances is truly remarkable.”
THE FUTURE: Nichols has signed a National Letter of Intent to compete in track and field on an athletic scholarship at Oklahoma State University this fall.