Gilbert’s Nilsson clears another historic hurdle

May 5, 2024 by Ben Stapley, AZPreps365

Gilbert’s Vance Nilsson nearly broke the national high school record during this 300 meter hurdle race at the D-I State Track & Field Championships. (Steve Shaff/Brophy Athletics)

Vance Nilsson knew he was close to making history well before the finish line.

But this wasn't another Arizona state record. This was the national high school record in the 300 meter hurdles that he was chasing down. Nilsson already owns the state record in the 300 hurdles with a 35.50 time he recorded last week. He's been ranked No. 1 in the nation in the event all season. What he hadn't done is run the fastest time in national history in the 300 meter hurdles.

Saturday night at the Division-I Track & Field Championships at Red Mountain High School, Nilsson came within three-hundredth's of a second of breaking that record.

Once the race was finished and the times were posted, Nilsson had clocked a time of 35.05.

The national record is 35.02.

It was set in 2009 by Reggie Wyatt from Clovis High School in Northern California. Nilsson has never met Wyatt, but he knew he was close to his record right out of the gate.

"I knew right away I was gonna have a chance," Nilsson explained. "When I ran the 35.50 last week, I had stumbled a bit on the first two hurdles, but I still set another (personal record). "Tonight I got off to a clean start and so I knew I'd have a faster time."

Saturday was still memorable for Nilsson. Earlier in the day he broke the state 110 meter hurdle record with a time of 13.39. Former Brophy Track and football start Devon Allen held the record at 13.48 for the last decade.

Nilsson, a senior who is still undecided on college, will have another shot at the 300 meter hurdle record next week at the AZPreps365 Open Division State meet.

Both Chandler High's girls and boys teams won the D-I team title. 

Both of Salpointe's teams won the Division-3 title, as did both of Snowflake's teams for D-4.

For all team and individual results, go to