Remember when? A trip through the sports time machine

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Looking back at history and trying to understand it is something that has always caught my attention.
Back in high school, my English teacher, who also kickstarted by sportswriting career, had seniors complete a rather substantial research paper that was supposed to include somewhere along the lines of 10 pages and several sources.
The paper I finished had upwards of 27 pages and so many books that I could hardly carry them all at one time in my backpack.
It’s why I scored so well on Dave’s Husker history trivia games this past month, until the final week when he Rich-proofed it.
Hopefully, this new project will be fun and can give area fans a look back at some moments in history. Over the next several weeks, the News-Register will roll out a sports page from the past and run it the way it was back then.
We’ve started with the May 29, 1980 edition where the Aurora boys track team won the state championship on what’s still familiar ground in Omaha.
The 1980 version of the Husky track team was just stacked. They won everything aside from one dual, including districts and the central conference meet.
Just for fun, there’s still some marks from the 1980 season that are hanging around Aurora’s all-time track list.
For one, Kevin Penner remains one of the fastest athletes to come through the halls of Aurora. He is 10th all time in the 100 dash with a time of 10.9, which is just three tenths off James Van Pelt’s 10.6 in 2009.
Penner is also eighth all time in the 200 meter dash with a time of 22.4, not far behind Al Strong’s mark of 21.9 which still stands from Aurora’s 1968 state championship team.
Of the 11 names listed on the 400 dash, four of them were on the state championship team of 1980.
Shawn Bovill has the fourth-fastest time in school history, running a 50-flat in 1981. Lee Carter, a staple on the ‘80 team,  ran a time of 50.4 that year, now good enough for sixth.
Penner shows up again in the 400, posting a time of 51.4 in 1980, while Keith Turner ran a mirroring time in 1981, tied for ninth on the list. For those curious, the fastest 400 in school history is set by Matt Harden in 2001 with a 49.2.
Bovill’s time of 1:55.32 still stands as the fastest 800 run ever in Aurora history, doing so in the 1981 season.
Kevin Schneider shows up on the 1600 run list with the second-fastest time in school history with a time of 4:27.9 in 1981.
Shawn Sinner still has the fastest 110 high hurdle time in school history, doing so in 14.3 seconds in 1983. Carter is also sixth on the list with a 14.6 during the ‘80 season.
Carter pops up again in the 300 hurdles, clocking what is the second-fastest time in school history at 39.6 in 1982. Sinner is also on the list in fourth with a 39.9 mark.
That ‘80 team had plenty of firepower in the field events, too.
Pat Shaw stands behind only Tom Kropp in Aurora’s all-time discus event, throwing 172 feet during the 1981 season. Kropp’s mark was set at 182-10 in 1971.
Shaw ranks eighth on the shot put list with a throw of 53-00.75 in 1982.
Sinner shows up again in the high jump as the all-time leader with a leap of 6-06 in 1982 while Penner had a 6-03 mark in ‘79 and ‘80.
John Pursley is fourth on the all-time pole vault list with a vault of 14-06 in 1981 while teammate Rod Niles has a 14-04 from the ‘80 campaign.
Penner is hanging on to the triple jump list, ranking 13th with a 42-03.50 in the 1979 season.
The relays, though. They won all of them at the state meet in 1980 and those marks stand strong today.
The 400 relay team of Bovill, Penner, Niles and Carter ran a 43.6, now fifth on the list, but just two tenths off the all time mark set in 2010.
The 3200 relay of Bovill, Todd Regier, Rick Nachtigal and Kevin Schneider ran a 8:04, which stands second all time. The 1981 team of Bovill, Troy Goertzen, Nachtigal and Schneider was five seconds faster.
The 1600 relay team was an all-timer.
The foursome of Bovill, Regier, Penner and Carter ran a 3:21 at the state meet, which still stands today as not only a school record, but a Class B state and meet record.
Hopefully, it’s as much fun for everyone else to look back at these pages as it is for myself to go hunting for them. If anything, just enjoy the retro advertising.
RICHARD RHODEN can be reached at

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