West High’s Nock Makes History With Title in 3,000
Your Prep Sports
DES MOINES – Bailey Nock knows all about the history of distance running excellence at West High.
Nock has heard the stories of West High greats like Sarah Wickman and Jeni Frudden.
On Thursday Nock accomplished something none of her West High distance predecessors can claim.
Nock became the first West High girl to win a state title in the 3,000 cruising to the 4A title on the opening day of the state track meet at Drake Stadium in Des Moines.
“I always hear stories about past distance runners and the legacy I have before me,” Nock said. “So, to do something that hasn’t been done feels amazing.”
If there was any doubt about Nock being among the best distance runners in West High history the junior erased it on Thursday.
Nock took the lead before the race its halfway point and slowly distanced herself from the rest of the field.
Her winning time of 10:03.22 was more than 17 seconds faster than runner-up Jessica McKee of Johnston and three seconds off her career best time.
“That was not surprising at all, we have seen that in practice all season long,” Parker said. “Bailey is a beast now, she doesn’t come here to wait until the very end to see if she can sprint with people, she said I’m taking this out and no one can beat me you saw that today. Winning by 100 meters doesn’t happen very often.”
The win by Nock and a third-place finish from teammate Gabby Skopec in 10:27.73 provided 16 big team points for West High in the first final of the meet.
Aided by a runner-up performance from senior Leah Dusterhoft in the discus West High leads the 4A team standings with 24 points, five more than Johnston after the opening day.
“This is one of those years where everything we see happen we see points more than anything else,” Parker said. “We are off to a good start but that’s what we expected. We wanted to get momentum because it’s a long grueling three days but so far so good.”
Nock put herself in rare company at West High last fall when she became the sixth individual cross country champion in school history.
Thrusday she did something no one else at West High had done and became the first girl to win the Class 4A cross country and 3,000 titles in the same school year since Stephanie Jenks of Linn-Mar in 2012.
“Honestly, I didn’t know that we didn’t have a 3,000 champion,” Nock said. “I just assumed that with the amount of state championships that our coach talks about, I just figured someone had won it so it feels incredible. Cross country to me is a completely different sport so to win track is amazing.”
The 3,000 title came in Nock’s first ever state appearance in the event.
A four-event qualifier each of her first two years, Nock had stuck to the mid-distance races at state the past two seasons.
Nock gave up basketball last winter to focus track and with that increased training put a focus on the 3,000 for the first time.
She was third at the Drake Relays in the 3,000 in a career-best time of 10:00.13 and nearly matched that time on Thursday.
“I’ve never really focused on the 3,00 before this but this year we definitely did,” Nock said. “That work has paid off.”
Nock and Skopec ran together at the front of the pack for the opening four laps before Nock began to separate herself.
Once she broke away from the pack no one could catch the West High junior.
“I didn’t plan on leading at the start but that’s just the way that it worked out,” Nock said. “I had a lot of adrenaline and I’ve been preparing for this and I was ready to go after it.”
Around the time Nock was crossing the finish line senior Leah Dusterhoft was capping her career with a fourth medal in the discus.
Dusterhoft placed second with a toss of 128-5 behind Indianola senior Anna Hoyman.
“This meet is really about the team and how well we can do and hearing Bailey and Gabby got first and third in the 3,000 that really pumped me up,” Dusterhoft said. “Tomorrow we will score more points so I’m very excited to keep moving forward.”
The runner-up finished continued a steady state meet climb for Dusterhoft who was eighth as a freshman, sixth as a sophomore and fifth last season.
A South Dakota recruit, Dusterhoft led after the opening round but Hoyman came up with her winning throw of 138-0 on her first attempt in finals.
“I was looking for a pr today and didn’t get that but I’m happy to score some points for the team,” Dusterhoft said. “We are off to a good start and I’m excited to watch everyone and see how everyone does.”