LEXINGTON — What a difference a year can make.
The Minden boys track and field team went from heartache in 2012 to tears of joy Thursday.
In last season's district meet in Grand Island, the Whippets were just seconds away from qualifying for the state meet in the 1,600-meter run, the 3,200, the 1,600 relay and the 3,200 relay. Instead, Minden sent just one representative to state — then-senior Jarod Speer in the 200.
But this year, the Whippets qualified eight events for next week's state meet in Omaha and finished second at the Class B, District 5 meet Thursday with 68 points.
"You saw the Whippets today. They meant business," said Minden head coach Shawn Wheelock, who was overcome with emotion after the meet had concluded. "It was such a sick feeling a year ago. I don't know what to say. I'm speechless."
Cozad won the boys competition with 96 points, while Adams Central placed ninth with 28 points. The Patriots had three individuals qualify for state.
The Minden girls had four individuals qualify for the state meet along with two of its relay teams, while only one Patriot girls athlete will be making the trip to Omaha.
Minden finished in fifth place with 57 points and AC was eighth with 16. Holdrege won the meet with 126 points.
Addison Woodward led the Whippets, placing second in the 100 (12.56) and the 200 (26.38). She was also part of the 400 and 1,600 relay teams that placed second to qualify. The 400 relay had a time of 50.72 seconds and the 1,600 finished in 4:08.43. Woodward will be making her second straight state appearance.