OMAHA — It came down to the final heat of the Class B boys 1600-meter relay, but Lexington held off McCook for the boys team title on Saturday.
"It was very gratifying because the kids worked so hard for it," Lexington head coach Sam Jilka said. "McCook is a very talented team, so for it to come down to the final race and our kids to come through was very exciting."
The Minutemen closed out their 2019 track and field season by edging the Bison 70-68 in team points, which remained undecided heading into the final race of the day.
The Minutemen understood the implications of the race, and despite competing in different heats they edged the McCook’s time of 3:31.80 by clocking 3:30.66.
The win was something that Jilka attributed to a question the team wanted to answer on their own terms.
"We talked about it earlier in the year," Jilka said. "We asked them what sort of legacy they wanted to leave behind and I feel like the responded."
Lexington walked away from the Class B track and field championships with multiple gold medals, led by senior Ajack Waikur, who snagged gold in the high jump, triple jump and 300-meter hurdles.
Waikur also finished with all-class golds for the high jump and triple jump, while adding a silver in the long jump.
Saturday’s feat marks the first boys track and field team title for Lexington since 1988.
Smith wins 3 gold medals
Good things come in threes.
Lexington’s Madison Smith ended her stay at this year’s Class B track and field championship on Saturday at Burke Stadium with such a sentiment.
Smith, who had collected bronze and silver medals in the 100, 200 and 400-meter finals a year ago, finally got her gold, winning three of four individual events that included the long jump, 100-meter and 200-meter sprints. Smith got third in the 400.
"It was really satisfying," Smith said. "I worked so hard to come here and get what I wanted to do all these other years."
The Lexington junior foreshadowed her newfound dominance early on Friday with a 19 foot, 1-inch long jump on her first attempt at state, but the best was yet to come.
After earning the second best qualifying sprint for the 100, 200 and 400 finals Friday, Smith jumped off the blocks and into redeeming herself with two more golds.
She ran a 12.3-second 100-meter final, and later added another first place finish with a 25.05 200 to end her junior season.
But even with three gold medals around her neck, Smith admitted that some wins carry more weight than others.
"Winning the 100 was special to me," she said. "I’ve been working hard for the long jump, but I was kind of very confident going into that. The 100 was something that I had to have because I had worked really hard for."