The Sidney Sun-Telegraph - Serving proudly since 1873 as the beautiful Nebraska Panhandle's first newspaper


By Stephen McKay
Sports Writer 

Talking Sports: Spring sports coming to exciting finishes


After Sidney High School freshman Jakob Austad landed in the long jump pit last Friday at the Mitchell Invite, he bounced up and waited for the tape to be read.

He sensed it was a good one.

After the tape was stretched and the verdict read, Austad pumped his fist in excitement. It was the longest he’d ever jumped. On his next leap, he went even farther.

Believe it or not, there’s not much time left for personal-best efforts. Amazingly enough, the spring sports season has entered the home stretch. There are just 19 school days left until the Class D-11 District Championships at Morrill High School on May 13. The following day, Class B-6 teams will gather at Ogallala for their final full-squad meet of the season. State is scheduled for May 22-23, at Burke Stadium in Omaha.

Golfers in Nebraska will have a little more time with Class B districts being held at Hillside Golf Course on May 18 – that’s 21 school days from now. Creek Valley and Potter-Dix will travel to Sutherland to take on the Oregon Trail Golf Course on the same day. As for Colorado baseball, the day of reckoning is near upon us. The Peetz Bulldogs play their final regular-season game on April 21.

As for track, sure the state meet is the biggest of the year, but districts are really the most important. In just about all other sports, it’s almost taboo to even mention a game beyond the next one. Coaches don’t usually want to hear about the post season when a big regular season game looms just a few days away.

That doesn’t seem to be true about track and field. From the first day a track athlete gets out of doors to finally stretch his/her legs under the gaze of the afternoon sun, the thought of districts never seems very far away.

From the first day of practice, most track athletes set goals for themselves. But those aspirations are time sensitive. Like a bottle of milk has to be consumed before it goes bad, a track athlete has to be in peak for on the day that districts arrive – and the expiration date is fast approaching.

Not just for those with a legitimate chance to earn a state berth are districts important. It’s relevant too for all those who aspire, before this season is out, to jump or run faster than they ever have before.

For seniors, there is even more urgency as most will never don the colors of their high school again.

So best of luck to all the track and field athletes, baseball players and golfers as you seek some tangible results for all your hard work.

• • •

Bye, bye Aaron Hernandez. Once you had everything, now you have nothing. The Hernandez story is one of those that always leave me puzzled.

Hernandez, a young multi millionaire ex-NFL player for the New England Patriots, was convicted on Wednesday of first-degree murder. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Do you remember Rae Carruth? He was the Carolina Panthers wide receiver who was convicted in 2001 of arranging for the murder of his pregnant girl friend. He’s been in prison ever since and is expected to be released in October 2018.

Of course most of us remember Orenthal James Simpson, who was acquitted of killing his wife and her friend in the mid 1990s. He was later convicted of armed robbery and kidnapping in 2007. Simpson was sentenced to 33 years in a Nevada prison. He is not eligible for parole before 2016 as I recall.

Naturally, many Nebraksan’s recall the name, Lawrence Phillips? He was a star running back for the Nebraska Cornhuskers who is serving 31 years for an attack on his girlfriend and driving his car through a bunch of teenagers. Phillips is now suspected of killing his cellmate four days ago at Kern Valley State Prison in California.

There are no doubt countless variables that are involved in why a troubled human being could result to such violence as the above have. It’s certainly well beyond my scope of understanding. Environment, upbringing, etc. I don’t know why it happens. But every time it does, it’s always the same thing that crosses my mind – what a waste.

With all the resources, contacts and talent the above had – just think of all the good they could have done. That’s out the window now.

What a waste.


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