TIME OUT by Joe Flanagan

Here we go again.
It’s time for one of the premiere athletic showcases on the Nebraska high school calendar – the annual state track & field championships.
No other single event features the varied range of abilities and skills on display each spring in Omaha Burke Stadium.
The strongmen – and ladies – heaving shots and flinging the discus. Lithe distance runners who just keep going … and going … and going. Powerful, explosive sprinters and jumpers. Daring vaulters hoping to touch the sky.
Yes, indeed, a true pageant of athletic gallantry, the congregation in Omaha being the best of the best.
Track & field is a sport where team and individual accomplishments are interwoven. Team championships are a goal, but each athlete is also able to strive for his or her own reward.
It may be a coveted gold medal. It could be a lower-place effort that provides important points in the team trophy quest. Or it may be simply an individual challenge, the pursuit of a new personal best, the fruition of an established goal.
This weekend is the culmination of a difficult journey for those whose goal was to compete in the elite company of Nebraska’s finest athletes, earning an opportunity to become a state medal-winner and, perhaps, even a champion.
Countless hours of practice and conditioning. A season of competing, improving and peaking. The hope of staying healthy. And the pressure of district competition, where one misstep can cruelly bring the dream to a sudden and shattering end.
The Albion News area will once again be well-represented at Omaha Burke. Proud Cardinals, Mavericks, Bulldogs, Bluejays and Knights will display their talents for fans from across the state, with both team and individual awards at stake. A number of area athletes are well capable of mounting the top step of the medal platform and the Holy Family girls are a threat, and quite likely the favorite, to claim a third consecutive Class D team championship.
The state track & field championship event marks the end of another high school athletic year. What a fitting way to conclude each spring.
Congratulations and good luck to all our area athletes as they help to draw the curtain, mingling and competing with Nebraska’s best of the best.

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