Pospisil: Lincoln High's titles, 58 years apart, didn’t come easy

Lincoln High’s Darius Luff wins the 300-meter hurdles, helping the Links to their first Class A boys team championship since 1960. Luff said Bob White, Lincoln High’s coach since 1983, deserves credit for the title. “This is all because of him.”

With the gates to the football field locked, Bob White was forced to take the long way around to get to his team.

Counterclockwise around the southeast segment of the Burke Stadium oval, counter to track’s turn-left mantra.

Call it a victory walk. The Links, whom he has coached since 1983, were going to hoist the Class A boys track championship trophy for the first time since 1960.

It already had been a slow descent in the east grandstand Saturday evening for the coach. A decade ago, White lost his left leg after a car accident caused by a drunken driver. But it didn’t derail him from teaching and coaching.

His school and its students and athletes are the better for it.

“I can’t say how good it feels for him,” champion hurdler Darius Luff said. “He’s such a good coach and he’s finally getting credit for what he’s produced at Lincoln High. This is all because of him.”

There is a little irony involved with Lincoln High’s title, the first in boys track for the state capital since Lincoln Southeast in 1992. It was Millard South — the school that ended the Links’ football playoff hopes early last November — that came out of the slow heat of the 1,600 relay to place fifth overall and bump Lincoln Southwest into seventh and out of the title.

Another team’s misfortune contributed, too. With the title also within its reach, Fremont’s relay dropped the baton early in the race. Had Fremont won, it would have finished with 76 points, Lincoln High would have moved from fourth to fifth place, giving it 75 points, and Southwest would have been eighth for 74.5 points.

Back to 1960. Lincoln High went through a bizarre incident, too. Its miler, Dick Ripley, as he was about to finish fourth and clinch the team title, misjudged the finish line at Memorial Stadium, stepped off the track and collapsed on the finish-line pole. He never officially finished the race.

Thus the Links had to sweat out the mile relay — they hadn’t qualified — and were elated when Columbus and Beatrice, the latter with legendary Bob Hohn on anchor, couldn’t get the placings needed to overtake them.

Lincoln High, incidentally, lost the grand championship that year to Columbus. So this year’s Gregg McBride Award was the first time the Links finished on top of the gold-medal scoring since 1951.

You have to feel sorry for Fremont and Lincoln Southwest. The latter came so close to its first title in boys track.

What other current Class A track schools, you ask, haven’t won titles?

In boys, it’s Bellevue West, Columbus, Elkhorn South, Gretna, Lincoln Northeast, Lincoln North Star, Millard North, Omaha Benson, Omaha Bryan, Omaha Burke, Omaha Northwest, Omaha South, Papillion-La Vista, Papillion-La Vista South and South Sioux City.

In girls, it’s Columbus, Fremont, Gretna, Lincoln East, Lincoln Northeast, Lincoln North Star, Norfolk, Benson, Bryan, Northwest, Omaha South, Omaha Westside, Papio South and South Sioux.

Giltner’s 89.5 points in winning its fourth consecutive Class D girls title spurred me into updating our state track scoring records. The Hornets wiped out the record of 80 points, set by Eustis-Farnam in 1991 with six-place scoring and matched by Lindsay Holy Family in 2012 with eight-place scoring. The changeover came in 2007.

Giltner also matched Eustis-Farnam’s 49.5-point winning margin.

The book on track season closes later this week with final season charts online and in the newspaper this weekend.

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Reporter - High school sports

Stu is The World-Herald's lead writer for high school sports and for golf. Follow him on Twitter @stuOWH. Phone: 402-444-1041.

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