Jonathan Priester, Libby’s track coach at Westside, agrees that she was an integral part of the team. “She always led by example . . . was always encouraging. She was always the first to congratulate her opponents and to tell her teammates great job. The girls that came after her had an example of what you were supposed to strive for and be when you stepped on the track.”
Libby’s freshman year coincided with Priester’s first year as the girl’s track head coach, a position he still holds. When asked about Libby’s impact on the community, he says, “As far as . . . her impact, she truly has meant everything to the track and field program at Westside High School. When I first took over the track and field program at Westside was absolutely in the tank. Her ability to bring people to the sport was phenomenal. I couldn’t have asked for a better face for our program” (Priester). This wasn’t the only thing about Libby that impressed Priester, who says of her raw talent, “She was one of the fastest girls, as far as pure speed goes, that I have ever coached.” Because of her raw speed and hard work, Libby earned a spot at the state track meet all four years of high school and medaled several times. She is still one of Westside’s most decorated track athletes.
But perhaps more impressive was her character, her drive, and her determination to succeed, which would prove important later, when she ran into some trouble during her years at UNO. Priester, when asked to share a story that illustrates what type of person Libby is, tells this story. When she was a senior in high school, in the state-qualifying meet, Libby was running her main event—the 300 meter low hurdles. Because of her success in this event throughout the year, she was expected to finish in the top four and qualify for the state meet. Yet, she fell on the sixth hurdle and Priester dropped his head, certain that her chances of qualifying in the event were over. “Falling in the 300 hurdles usually means doom for an athlete. The amount of energy expended in trying to . . . get up and chase people down is insurmountable” (Priester). But when Priester looked up, he was amazed to see Libby doing the impossible and steadily making up ground. She finished third. “How she did it I will never be able to comprehend, but I just know that that one race exemplified who she was” (Priester).
Libby’s determination, combined with innate ability, led to a partial scholarship for track at the University of Nebraska at Kearney in 2006. Libby was unhappy there, saying she wished she would have started out her college career at UNO, as she preferred living in Omaha (L. DiBiase). She transferred and ran a successful season of track at UNO in the spring of 2007, but her track career was short-lived. “I did really bad in a lot of classes, so I didn’t do track the next year. I was the classic example of coming in and failing a couple of classes” (L. DiBiase).
Most disappointing to Libby was that she missed out on running for UNO’s All-American 4×100 team the following spring, which she would have been part of if she had been eligible to run. “I didn’t get to run on