RECORD BREAKER: Vance Nilsson makes national history in 300M hurdles

May 12, 2024 by Ben Stapley, AZPreps365

Gilbert's Vance Nilsson (center) enjoys a standing ovation from the crowd and fellow competitors after breaking the national record in the 300 meter hurdles at the AIA State Track & Field Championships at Mesa Community College Saturday night. (Ben Stapley/AZPreps365)

Vance Nilsson saved his best for last Saturday night.

In front of a packed house at Mesa Community College for the AIA Open State Track & Field Championships, Nilsson put on a historic performance, breaking the national record in the 300 meter hurdles, clocking in at 34.83 seconds.

The Gilbert High senior entered this track season ranked No. 1 in the nation for the event, and had his sights set on the national record of 35.02. Reggie Wyatt from Clovis High in Northern California set that record in 2009.

"I've wanted to break this record for so long," Nilsson said afterward. "Now that I've beat I'm just overjoyed and so happy."

In April, Nilsson broke the state record by clocking a time of 35.67 seconds at the HoHokam Invitational. He subsequently broke his own record in two events since HoHoKam. Last week during the Division I championships at Red Mountain, Nilsson nearly broke Wyatt's national record with a time of 35.05.

That was the second fastest time in U.S. high school history, setting up excitement and build up for the Saturday night's Open Division Championships. It was the second year the AIA put on the meet, which brought top qualifiers from around the state regardless of school classification or conference. 

"I knew this was possible after last week when I ran 35.05 and I was so close. I knew I had some things I could fix in tonight's race, so I just locked in this week and I did it. I can't express how badly I wanted this."

Nilsson also broke the state record in the 110 meter hurdles last week at the Division I meet by running a 13.39 seconds. He won the same event at the Open meet Saturday with a 13.70.

Nilsson has still not decided on where he will pursue his collegiate career, but he has already begun training for the 400 meter hurdles, because its the distance used in the Olympics.

Other highlights of the second Open Arizona Track meet include:

Desert Edge sprinters:  David Kabrera and Jamar Beal-Goines finishing 1st and 2nd in the 100 meters with near identical times of 10.61 and 10.62. 

Kabrera and Beal-Goines were also a part of Desert Edge's state champion 4x100 meter relay team. Along with Antonio Para and Jonathan Kamara, the quartet clocked a time of 40.99, the first team to break 41 seconds this season.

Triple Jump Record: Zalaya Dupre of Copper Canyon set a new state record in the triple jump with a mark of 41 feet, 9 inches. 

400 Meter Boys: Josiah Anderson of Barry Goldwater broke the 47-second time barrier Saturday with a time of 46.78. It the fastest time of the season.

Anchorman: Red Mountain won the boys 4x800 relay with a time of 7:47.87. Senior Tyler Mathews overcame a considerable deficit on the last leg, recording an unofficial time of 1:49.87.

Girls Team Results:

1. Hamilton 55

2. Chandler 52

3. Canyon View 41


Boys Team Results:

1. Queen Creek 43

2. Chandler 42

3. Desert Vista 41


For comprehensive results, go to