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06/01/2019 - From The Press Box: 2018-19 Sports Year Full Of Heartache, Excitement


From The Press Box

Better late than never, right?

My final "From The Press Box" column for the 2018-19 school year was supposed to be written and submitted last week.  Work-related stuff kept me from accomplishing that, but I figure this is the perfect time to do it since we're in to June.

No doubt was the sports year full of highs and lows for yours truly.  Definitely exciting for some Lincoln schools in a number of sports.

Back on August 19, my father (Jerry Motz) passed away after battling some health issues in the past year-and-a-half, including cancer.  Death certainly doesn't discriminate when one's life passes.  It was the first week of the high school football season.

As my family and I grieved his loss, the help of my radio co-workers like Chris Schmidt stepped in to cover the first game of the season August 23 with East and Pius X,  one that I was supposed to cover.  It happened to be the day of dad's funeral.

Like a true pro, Schmidty stepped in and did the game.  I can't thank him enough for switching at the last minute to accommodate myself at a time of sorrow.  I was able to do the North Star/Southwest game the next night.

The bright spot was finding out in early April that dad will be inducted into the Nebraska High School Sports Hall of Fame in September as a "Greatest Moment" for his performance as a senior at Northeast in 1964, when he broke the Class A single-game scoring record in basketball with 57 points. 

That record still stands, by the way.  For those that may be confused, Omaha Benson's Andre Woolridge has the state tournament scoring record of 50 points, while dad's is the overall record.  Regardless, both are outstanding performances and I saw Woolridge score 50 in that 1992 Class A title game against Hastings.

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Congratulations to the Lincoln East and Lincoln Pius X girls cross country teams for winning the Class A and Class B team titles respectively! 

The Spartans gave head coach Brian Kabourek his first state championship as a head coach, while it marks another state title run for Thunderbolts' coach George O'Boyle.   

Cross Country is a sport that doesn't get the attention its earned and deserved.  I competed in the sport at Northeast for three years and it's grueling.  But it can be beneficial for athletes who excel in other sports.

To the Lincoln Southwest softball team and head coach Mark Watt, you are also very deserving of recognition for your run to another Class A state title last fall.  Georgia Tech bound Emma Kauf this week was just named Nebraska's Gatorade State Softball Player of The Year.

Southwest also made state title runs in girls swimming and diving once again last winter and in girls track this spring. 

Football was fun in Lincoln last fall.  Lincoln High, Southeast, Southwest, East, Pius X, Lincoln Lutheran and Waverly all made the playoffs.  Waverly ended up getting the farthest, finishing in the Class B semifinals to eventual champion Omaha Skutt.

Pius X, Waverly and Lutheran also had good runs into the State Volleyball Tournament.  Pius X and Lutheran each finished runner-up in Class A and Class C1 respectively, while Waverly was a semifinalist in Class B.

Pius X boys basketball went out with a high note in 2018-19, going 27-2 and winning the Class B state championship that took three overtimes in two games to accomplish.  They beat Omaha Skutt in the semifinal in overtime, then went double OT to wear out a highly-talented Omaha Roncalli squad. 

Charlie Easley, Austin Jablonski and the rest of the 'Bolts made the tournament exciting to cover, in giving head coach Brian Spicka his first state title.

Girls basketball in Lincoln was just as exciting.  While Southwest and Lincoln Christian each finished runner-up, East and Pius X were semifinalists at the State Tournament, it capped a great year of high quality girls basketball action.  Props to Waverly in Class B for a great run that ended too soon in the semifinals to eventual state champion Grand Island Northwest.

Congratulations to the Lincoln Southeast girls tennis team for winning the Class A state title!  East came in second and Pius X third in the team standings.

Finally, congratulations to Waverly and Norris in baseball.  They were the only two teams in the immediate Lincoln area that made the state tournament field.  While neither one of them made it to the Class B championship game, they provided much excitement during the tournament.

Now it's time for Legion Baseball this month, before the area tournaments start in mid-July.  Next thing you's football season!  Enjoy the summer!

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