By Deb Egenberger

July 17, 2009

OMAHA—Sometimes, Tiani Reeves thinks too much. It happens a lot, the Gothenburg 12-year-old says, when she’s about to run the 400-meter dash.

“I get so nervous for that race,” Tiani said of the one-lap run. “I think about what will happen if I make a mistake, what if I get a bad start.”

Neither of those things happened for the seventh-grader-to-be on Sunday. She won the 400-meter dash Sunday afternoon at the Region 8 USA Track and Field championship meet at Omaha Burke in a time of 60.42 seconds.

“That’s a long race for me,” Tiani said.

A long race indeed for a young runner who suffered a slight hamstring injury the day before.

While Tiani was long jumping Saturday afternoon, she hit the sand wrong and tweaked her hamstring.

“I’ve never had an injury before,” she said. “It kind of scared me.”

Luckily for Tiani, she’d already jumped 14-11.5 to win the event, measuring more than a foot longer than the No. 2 competitor.

Tiani’s father and coach Steve Reeves gave her the option to pull out of the 200-meter dash finals and the 400 on Sunday.

“I just told him I’d come too far to quit now,” she said.

Tiani said she put ice on her leg Saturday and ran both races Sunday afternoon.

She finished second in the 200-meter dash in 26.83 seconds, just four-tenths of a second behind Ahmani Green of Omaha.

“If she had let up just one stride sooner, I’d have got her,” Tiani said.

The top three in the Region 8 meet qualify to compete at the National Junior Olympic Track & Field Championships in Greensboro, N.C., July 28-Aug. 2.

Tiani won’t be going to North Carolina, though.

Her family has chosen instead to travel to the 2009 State Games of America in Colorado Springs July 30-Aug. 2. This meet, Tiani said, takes the Cornhusker State Games to the next level.

“I’m excited to do something different,” Tiani said. “It’s still a big national meet.”

Two other Gothenburg athletes competed in the Region 8 meet in Omaha. Jacob Clark placed eighth in the youth boys high jump and Jonathon Clark was seventh in the young men’s high jump.

Midget Girls

200— 2. Tiani Reeves, 26.83; winning time, Ahmani Green of Omaha, 26.46.

400—1. Tiani Reeves, 1:00.42.

Long jump—1. Tiani Reeves, 14-11.5.

Youth Boys

High jump—8. Jacob Clark, 4-5; winning height, Riley Blay of Iowa, 6-0.75.

Young Men

High Jump—7. Jonathon Clark, 5-5; winning height, Noah Kittelson of Westside, 6-10.75.