OMAHA — Harrison Martin took care of the running fast part and beat a two-time state champion in the process.
His coach at Lincoln Lutheran, Sue Ziegler, handled the part where you get emotional about the whole deal and put in perspective what Martin’s life has been like the past five years, going from a bad go-cart accident that could have kept him from doing sports, or worse, to a state track champion.
Martin graduated from Lincoln Lutheran last week, and on Saturday capped his prep career with a championship in the Class C 110-meter hurdles at Burke Stadium.
After it was official that Martin had won the race, he rushed over to where Ziegler was waiting near the finish line, already with tears in her eyes.
“He’s been through a lot, is a great kid, comes from a great family,” Ziegler said. “I remember when he was in middle school and that accident happened and I was coaching in high school, and we had a lot of prayers for him just to come through. He loved track from the get-go when he was a little kid, and I talked to him about that today, and how truly blessed he is to be where he’s at today. I’m so proud of what he’s accomplished.”
Martin had several surgeries and doesn’t have full range of motion with his left arm.
This was the first time Martin had been at state track after taking himself out of contention last year to be part of an exchange program in Norway.
Saturday, Martin edged Antonio Flores of Malcolm at the finish. Martin’s time was 14.69 seconds. Flores, who was unbeaten in the event this year, was second at :14.81.
Flores collapsed at the finish and got medical attention on a previously injured ankle.
Martin says it’s amazing to know he’s the best in the state.
“I just thank God for the abilities he’s given me,” Martin said.
Martin said he surprised even himself with his personal-best time, and that’s what he needed to beat such a great athlete.
“He’s good competition,” said Martin of Flores. “I hope the best for him. I just thank him for a good race today.”
Flores had beaten Martin earlier this year. Martin told his coach right away that he could do better.
“Both those guys are very talented and competitive, and you saw it at the wire. It was a close finish and they ran right next to each other and hard all the way,” Ziegler said.
Lincoln North Star senior Trey Williams provided another inspiring story on Saturday. He capped what had been a disappointing season with a win in the Class A long jump.
His winning jump was 22 feet, 11¾ inches, 5 inches better than Lincoln East’s Braden Kleinschmdit in second place. Last year, Williams was 10th at state in the long jump.
After a nice start to the season, Williams learned he had a stress fracture in his lower leg.
Williams returned for districts, taking just the one jump he needed to qualify for state. He also may have been a contender in the hurdles, but was held to the long jump.
Williams was back to wearing his protective walking boot on the medal stand.
“My physical therapist said there is a 25 percent chance of me breaking my leg if I continue to compete, but I saw it as two more meets and then I’m done and I have the whole summer to heal,” he said.
There weren’t any state or meet records broken on the boys side during the two-day championships.
Creighton Prep won the Class A team title, its first since 1987. In Class B, Sidney edged Scottsbluff 42-40 for the title by winning the final event, the 4x400 relay.
Bishop Neumann won Class C with help from Jordan Fujan’s wins in the high jump and 300 hurdles, with its last title coming in 1997. Giltner won Class D.