TIME OUT with Joe Flanagan

A virtual kaleidoscope of color.
That’s what always seems to strike me first when I attend the annual Nebraska State Track & Field Meet.
If there is a more vivid pageant of athletic excellence conducted in Nebraska, I’ve missed it.
From the deep green outline of Omaha Burke’s cedars against a pastel blue sky, to the multi-hued flags surrounding the track area, to the vibrant rainbow of team colors worn by competitors and fans, it’s quite the eye-catching spectacle.
And this dazzling visual display reflects the competition itself – dazzling indeed! Each year our young athletes defy precedence and thrill overflow crowds with spectacular performances.
Just in recent years, I’ve been fortunate enough to see Robert Rands laugh at gravity and break the legendary Gale Sayers’ long jump record. I’ve watched slack-jawed as Randal Carter soared a mind-boggling height of 7 feet, 4 inches in the high jump. And I’ve marveled at the machine-like precision of Aaron Brandt’s 37.29-second record performance in the 300 meter hurdles. It leaves you simply shaking your head in admiration.
The changes we’ve witnessed in track & field have been amazing. From 440 yard strategy to 400 meter full-bore sprint. From 880 pacing to, simply, all-out pace in the 800. Current times and distances in nearly every event would have once been unfathomable. Athletes just continue to get better and better and one wonders what barrier they’ll crash through next.

Complete Column in Print Edition of Albion News.