State track drama gives local fans a lifetime of memories

There was a lot of moisture coming down Saturday in Omaha, and it wasn’t just falling from the sky. Pure tears of jubilation were mixed in with a steady, two-day flow of rain, making this year’s state track meet one to remember.
This annual event is always chock full of drama and emotion, but the 2017 version was something special, particularly for track and field fans who call Hamilton County home. As darkness began to cover the stadium at Omaha Burke, BOTH the Aurora Lady Huskies AND Giltner Lady Hornets were hoisting state championship hardware,
The emotion near the finish line of the 1600 relay as Emily Standage clinched the Lady Huskies’ first title in 41 years was palpable. The pressure was on as those girls knew they had to finish strong for the team, and they did, not only beating Holdrege across the line to clinch the title, but everyone else as well.
There were so many performances that lead to that moment, beginning with Jonna Bart’s heroic finish on Day 1, coming from behind in the final 50 meters to win the 3200 relay. This title run was a team effort from start to finish, built on clutch individual performances.
The Lady Hornets, on the other hand, had the pressure of doing what was expected as the two-time defending champions and projected favorite. And they did, dominating the field with a line-up of mostly underclassmen state qualifiers. In other words, Giltner has a bit of a dynasty going in track and field, and you have to like the orange and black’s chances for another strong run in 2018.
After a long, rain-soaked, two-day marathon, the championship teams posed for team photos, including a rare duo shot featuring both Aurora and Giltner’s girls teams. That scene spoke volumes about the level of talent, and sportsmanship, here in Hamilton County, especially since it was the second straight year two local teams posed with their respective state championship trophies. The Giltner girls were joined by High Plains’ boys a year ago.
Words just can’t fully describe the scene as these young ladies capped off stellar seasons in gold medal form. You knew lifetime memories were unfolding, with God-given personal memory cards, not just the digital versions, recording each and every moment on permanent hard-drive.
Congratulations to all!
Kurt Johnson

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