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On Wednesday, Gabe Hinrichs bided his time until the moment was right.
And the Nebraska athlete sure made a statement.
The Elkhorn South (NE) High School junior secured his first 3,200m state title in resounding fashion, defeating state-leading Liem Chot in the final 800m en route to a winning time of 8:59.66, a US No. 51 effort which was the third-fastest performance in Nebraska history.
Chot had entered as the top seed with his 9:14.51 from April. Hinrichs had run 9:16.68 on May 4.
But what Hinrichs had in his pocket was devilish speed. The junior had dropped a US No. 28 performance of 1:52.61 just seven days earlier at the A-2 District Track Meet.
And so he let Chot do most of the work through the first six laps.
But with two to go, Hinrichs turned it on.
Only Chot and Northeast's Daniel Romary, who finished third in 9:04.37, followed.
Chot gave one last-ditch effort to challenge Hinrichs with 400m to go, but he simply had too much.
His last two laps were 64.49 and 58.52.