State Record Snapshot - Brianna Nerud Steps Up in 3K Steeple

While there might not be much track going on in New York State, there is plenty of history to pore through. In our time off, we are looking to revisit all of the State Records for the Outdoor Season. Who these athletes were, where their marks came from, and where are they now. Twice a week, we'll be releasing "Snapshots Of A State Record," where you can learn what it takes, to be put your mark on history. Tune in!

We look here at the twelfth-oldest record still on the books for the girls. Enjoy!

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Brianna Nerud is at World Juniors in Barcelona on July 12, 2012, and it's getting tough in the Spanish dusk because everyone is, as she says, "really going for it." She is one of twelve finalists and the only American left in the 3K steeplechase. Two laps to go now of the race's 7 1/2, and she is just trying to hang on to the group at the top.

As she reaches for what she has left, Nerud is hoping that maybe there could be a medal at the end of things, but that will need one of the Kenyan and Ethiopian steeplers well ahead of her to falter. Most likely the result is going to be another US Juniors record, and that's something she's had some experience with. Two days before in the semifinal round she knocked 7 seconds off the previous US record and almost 12 seconds off her PR with a 10:08.15 that seeded her 5th among the finalists.

As Nerud leaps and splashes through the last two laps, her visions for a medal ebb away as the top three of Daisy Jepkemei, Tejinesh Gebisa, and Stella Jepskogei Rutto pull themselves apart from the rest of the field. Still for Nerud another big goal rises before her as the fast pace in the later stages pushes her closer to another American best.

Through the last splashdown and over the last barrier and Nerud sprints in at 10:00.72, shaving almost 7 1/2 more seconds off of her national Juniors record. "I'm happy," she says. "I didn't realize I was so close to breaking 10." The runner from North Shore on Long Island may have just missed going into the 9's, but she has set the state and national mark.

And Nerud's huge day will kick off a big state record haul for New York HS girls at the IAAF World Junior championship in Barcelona. A day later on Friday, Medgar Evers' Kadecia Baird running for Guyana will set an all-time state best in the 400m while finishing 2nd between two American runners. On Sunday's final day of action, Bronxville sophomore Mary Cain will break NY's 1500m record in the 1500m while finishing 6th, and like Nerud she tops a mark that she set two days earlier in the semifinals.

Eight years later, only Nerud's mark of the three from that day went to the top of American marks and has stayed there.

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Brianna Nerud came up with a North Shore program on the rise when she joined the team for her freshman cross country season in 2008. Starting off in 2005 with another Brianna, the Vikings' star of the early era Brianna Welch, North Shore began a move upward among the medium-sized schools in Class B in XC but Division 1 in track. Welch put North Shore on the map with high places beginning as a precocious 8th grader at 2005 outdoor States with a 3rd in the 1500m through the her sophomore indoor track season in 2008. Welch also appears to have been the first Viking to take a stab at the 2K steeplechase and run it under 7:40, but it was in April meet of her junior year at Port Jefferson, after which she bagged the event for good.

One big reason for Welch's solo attempt at the grueling steeplechase may also be that another Viking had made a very nice debut in the steeplechase at the meet, running 16 seconds ahead of her veteran teammate. Brianna Nerud had found a new home.

After a nice indoor season that saw her claim the top  qualifying spot in the S8 SQ 3000m, Nerud was starting off her freshman outdoor track season, and a 4th place with a 7:30.13 was very promising. The winner of the race ran 26 seconds faster, but she was Ward Melville's Mary Kate Anselmini who in the following two years would win the state and national championship and provide Nerud with a lot of marks to shoot for.  Nerud continued to work at the steeplechase while bringing her time down in wins in her next two meets. She dove down to 7:04.39 for her season's best while taking the Section 8 State Qualifier. She was 10th overall at the state championship in a very tough field that included not only Anselmini but 2009 States champ and 2010 US Juniors champ Shelby Greany of Suffern. Nerud's standout frosh season ended with a 13th at Nationals.

Nerud's sophomore season began as always with XC, and she was the fourth runner on a North Shore team that was beginning to challenge the established Class B powers East Aurora and Honeoye Falls-Lima. The new distance  leader for the Vikings was by then Nerud's fellow sophomore Samantha Nadel, who had placed 3rd at States the year before. Nadel again placed 3rd in 2009, and with Welch, Nerud, and rising freshmen Elizabeth Caldwell and Jessica Donohue providing the base, North Shore placed 3rd to set itself up for championship years ahead.

Nerud ran at a variety of distances in her sophomore indoor track season from the 400m up to the 3000m, and she was in great shape for the steeplechase in mid April of 2010 when she ran a 6:57.20, which for the next five weeks was the best time in the nation. But it was also Nerud's best time for the year, and after again capturing the Section 8 title she was well back in 26th at States due to either illness or a mishap.

The 2010 XC season was heady times for Nerud and the Vikings. Though she was running well back as the fifth runner on the team early on, a big development from her during the fall helped North Shore win a States title up in Class A, and away from East Aurora. But the Vikings did not let it rest there as Nerud's season-high 137 speed rating at NXR-NY was a major factor in getting 3rd-place North Shore selected for Nationals and a great 9th place at NXN with Nerud at 34th as the second Viking in.

Established now as an all-around distance star, Nerud ran to a great indoor season in 2011. She qualified for the Millrose Mile and placed 7th while her teammate Nadel took the gold. She then went on finish 2nd in the States 1500m behind Harborfield's Kelsey Margey while Nadel finished 2nd to Cornwall's Aisling Cuffe in the 3000m. The two then teamed up for more silver as legs of the 2nd place 4x800m squad. At Nationals, Nerud was 10th in the mile and 13th in the 5000m at NBNI,

Junior outdoor season seems to have been more restrained as Nerud put her focus largely on the steeplechase and pushed her times down well below 7:00, including a 6:47.70 at the St. Anthony's Invite. She did also  run a fast leg of the DMR to help the Vikings take a 2nd at the Penn Relays.  Though she wasn't able to catch Anselmini at States, a 6:38.27 for 2nd place set herself up for national record a month later. While Anselmini was winning the NBNO Nationals title with a 6:34.69 time, Nerud went to the US's World Youth Trials and qualified in 2nd place at 6:56.06 for the World championships. After posting a qualifying time of 6:38.80 in the semis qualifier, on July 10, 2011, in Lille, France, Nerud finished in 7th in a 6:29.56 that would stand as the top NY mark and 2nd best ever behind the race's 6th place finisher Madeline Myers until Sarah Trainor topped both marks in 2019 with a 6:29.08.

Senior XC season had some similarities to the junior 2010 season for Nerud and North Shore. Once again the team captured a state championship behind a 1-2-3 sweep of the top spots by Nadel, Nerud and Donahue, though this time back down in Class B after the move to the four-class system. The Vikings again got selected for Nationals after a 3rd-place finish at NXR-NY, with Nadel in 2nd and Nerud in 4th. Again North Shore finished 9th at NXN, but Nerud was way up in 17th place, while Nadel was 10th.

Indoor season also had a familar cast, but at a higher level. Following a 3rd place in the Millrose Mile with Nadel again in 1st, Nerud finished 2nd to Mary Cain in 1500m at States with a PR 4:29.21 time. Indoors finished up with an impressive sweep of the bronze medals for Nerud in both the mile and 5000m at NBNI Nationals.

The final outdoor season in 2012 was again focused on the steeplechase, but mixing in 3K steeplechases to prepare for that year's world championships. Nerud swept through five 2K steeplechase races, nearly breaking her state record at the St. Anthony's Invite and then finally taking an individual States title with a 6:33.85 time that was 16 seconds ahead of Saratoga's Keelin Hollowood. While Hollowood would go on to win the NBNO 2K steeplchase, Nerud again went to US Juniors and finished in 1st by 13 seconds in 10:23.87. In Lille in July she broke the US record with a 10:08.15 time on the first day in semis and then set the all-time record with a 10:00.72 time in the finals. Only North Rockland's Alex Harris has run within a half minute of the record during the last eight years.

Nerud spent two years at Syracuse after graduating from North Shore. In the summer of 2013 she won the US Juniors title in the 3K steeplechase at 10:15.67 and then took the silver medal at the Pan AM Juniors in Colombia in late August. She transferred to the University of Oregon in 2014 and ran for the Ducks in track and and XC into the spring of 2017. Her top time in the 3K steeplechase came at the 2016 US Olympic trails at 9:57.67 in the semis, but she did not qualify for the finals.

Before Nerud set the state and national record in the 3K steeplechase, the top time for a NY runner was 10:58.38 for Homer's Tracey Brauksiek, winner at the Empire State Games in 2002.