Last season a hamstring injury a week before the state track meet hampered Rapid City Central's Emilee Nickel, although she would still earn a fifth-place finish in the 100 hurdles.
As a state champion from the previous season, it was a tough way to end her junior season. Going into her final season as a Cobbler, Nickel has much more momentum as she signed a letter-of-intent to run track at South Dakota State University for the 2019-2020 school year.
"It was really hard because we weren't sure if I was going to run or not," she said. "But I am glad that I was able to and get fifth place, even if it wasn't what I wanted."
Last year's finish, though, gives her a little more determination to get back to where she was prior to the injury.
"This year I am going to work a lot harder, and I am just going to try to give it my all and try to get that state championship back," she said.
Nickel said that South Dakota State was one of her top three schools, and she said it is going to help her improve in everything that she does.
"I know some people on the track team, and when I visited they were all really welcoming," Nickel said. "The experience I wanted felt a lot like Central."
Nickel, who has run some other sprints in her high school career, will likely concentrate on the hurdles as a Jackrabbit. She said she is nervous and excited at the state time about running on the Division I level.
"I am ready to put in all of my work, I'm dedicated to that," she said.
Nickel plans to study nursing at SDSU and eventually work in the pediatric oncology field.