OMAHA -- On paper, it looked like the Lincoln Southwest girls track team breezed to its second straight Class A track and field state championship and the fourth in the past six years.

But the 106.6-59 gap in team points between Southwest and runner-up Papillion-La Vista South does not reflect the turbulence the Silver Hawks experienced on Friday before soaring to four individual gold medal performances Saturday in near-perfect weather conditions at Burke Stadium.

It began with Katie Thompson, one of the state’s top hurdlers, false starting in the 100-meter high hurdles preliminaries. Then Lindsey Blehm lost a race-ending sprint against Fremont freshman Elli Dahl for the 3,200 gold medal.

But Saturday victories by Kate Dilsaver in the 100 and 200, Blehm in the 800, Abbie Squier in the shot put and a bevy of points behind them left little doubt about the team race at the end.

“I’m just super-proud of the girls and how they responded to the adversity Friday,” said Silver Hawk head coach Brett Schuster, who is stepping down to become an administrator at Southwest this coming fall.

“They stayed mentally tough, kept fighting and competing, and good things happened for them today.”

It all started in the first event Saturday with Blehm’s 800 victory as the junior edged Lincoln East’s Jenna Muma for the gold medal, finishing in 2:16.42, just ahead of Muma’s 2:17.17. Blehm’s teammate, freshman Brianna Rinn, finished fourth.

“I like a nice photo finish, but I made sure this one wasn’t as close (as the 3,200),” said Blehm, who finished fourth in the 1,600 and also ran a leg on the Silver Hawks’ second-place 1,600 relay.

“I had a good race (in the 800). I felt good, so I went for it.”

Dilsaver has finished 13th and 16th the past two years at state cross country, and now she’s the sprint champion of Class A girls. The sophomore, who runs everything from the 100 to 800, edged out Thompson for a 1-2 finish in the 100 as both broke the previous school record. Dilsaver was at :12.08, while Thompson’s time was :12.18.

After taking third in the 400, Dilsaver blazed to a :24.90 to win the 200.

“A month ago, I didn’t think I’d be doing the 100, and now here we are,” Dilsaver said. “It didn’t matter who finished first or second, myself or Katie. Getting those 18 team point was what we were after.

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“The 400 was a tough race since it was so close to the 100, but it made the 200 seem a lot shorter.”

Squier, a Nebraska softball recruit and Super-Stater, played a major role in Southwest’s run to the Class A state softball title last fall. The junior did her part by winning the shot put with a season-best 41 feet, 10½ inches.

Squier continued a tradition that started with last year’s softball/track stars Caelyn Christiancy and Carson Fischer.

“My goal was to PR and score points for the game,” said Squier, the silver medalist in the shot put last season. “We’re all about doing multi-sports at Southwest, and I’m glad I was able to contribute.”

Thompson bounced back from her 100-hurdles incident to take second in the 100, second in the long jump (18-6) and fourth in the triple jump (36-¾).

“That was hard (the false start in the hurdles), but my coaches and teammates were there to support me and pick me up,” she said. “I had three more events to do, and I just needed to put that behind me and focus on what was ahead.”

Also scoring points for the Silver Hawks were Aleni Stoakes in the pole vault (seventh), Kaylee Berry in the high jump (tied for seventh), Jaden Ferguson in the shot put (sixth), McKenzie Steiner in the 100 hurdles (eighth) and 300 hurdles (fifth), and the 400 relay team (sixth).

Thompson and her teammates dedicated the team title to Schuster. She called him “the best coach ever.

“He always wants the best for us,” Thompson said. “He knows how to push us to do our best, but still be positive and believe in us.

“He’s incredible. I want him to stay one more year.”

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Reach the writer at 402-473-7437 or rpowell@journalstar.com. On Twitter @ronpowell_ljs.


Sports reporter

Ron Powell is a longtime prep writer for the Journal Star. He covers high school football, boys basketball and track as well as state college football and Husker and professional tennis.

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