OGALLALA — Throughout his storied coaching career, Scottsbluff cross country coach Jim Barker has witnessed his share of strong performances.
But the dominating show put on by his Bearcat boys in claiming the Class B, District 4 championship on Thursday in Ogallala might have topped them all.
Scottsbluff put all six of its runners in the top eight in under 14 minutes to run away with the team title with a final score of 12. Lexington placed second with 54 and Hastings was third with 57.
“It’s probably one of the most amazing cross country team races I’ve ever been around,” Barker said. “To have all the guys finish under 17 minutes and be in the top eight, it was pretty dominating. It was just a remarkable and unbelievable performance today.”
Scottsbluff sophomore Matthew Barraza paced the Bearcats by capturing the individual championship in a time of 16 minutes. The Bearcats’ Anthony Parra finished runner-up in 16:07.
Scottsbluff runners crossed the finish line in four of the next six places. Brendan Taedter finished fourth in 16:41, Tayler James placed fifth in 16:49, Ben Willis-Teff was sixth in 16:54 and Justin Pritchard ended eighth in 16:57.
With the kind of performance the Bearcats put together, Scottsbluff looks to be hitting its stride at just the right time. Barker said everything the Bearcats have worked for and accomplished all season is a buildup to next week’s state meet in Kearney as his squad takes aim at a third straight Class B state championship.
“Our whole focus all season has been to prepare for state,” Barker said. “We had a very awesome and dominating performance today, but we’re not done. We’re right where we wanted to be. Our best is yet to come.”
Four other local runners finished in the top 15 to earn individual state qualifications in the boys division.
Sidney’s Sam Arterburn placed seventh in a time of 16:55 and the Red Raiders’ Jachob Wiedeburg finished 13th in 17:16.
A pair of Gering runners also qualified. Michael Mapes finished 11th in 17:15 and Aaron Pierce placed 12th in 17:16.
The Sidney boys ended fourth in the final team standings and Gering was fifth.
Both the Gering and Sidney girls qualified their teams for state with top-three finishes at Thursday’s district meet.
Gering finished runner-up with a score of 45, while Sidney placed third with 54. Lexington won the team title with 43.
The Bulldogs were led by three district medalists. Rachel Huffman finished sixth in 15:15, Kali Rimington ended ninth in 15:48 and Marisa Robles was 13th in 16:14. Also qualifying for state on Gering’s team were Damaris Martinez (16:24), Dakota Gellner (16:50) and Hadley Kirk (16:54).
Sidney also finished the meet with three medalists. Alli Ehler led the way with a seventh-place finish in 15:22. Genessa Schilz finished 12th in 16:13 and Morgan Linneman was 15th in 16:15. Also qualifying for the Raiders were Preslie Allen (16:33), Madisen Stafford (17:10) and Mia Hernandez (17:13).
Scottsbluff sophomore Taylor Muncie earned her second straight state qualification. Muncie ran to a third-place finish in a personal-best time of 15 flat.
As a team, the Bearcat girls finished fifth with a score of 70.
“We knew we were a long shot with the girls,” Barker said. “We really battled some late-season injuries and it just wasn’t meant to be. But the girls gave it everything they had and they put up a good fight. I think most of the girls put up their best times of the season, so that was a real plus, too.”
The Class B state meet will be contested next Friday at the Kearney Country Club.
Class B, District 4 Meet
Boys Team Scoring
Scottsbluff 12, Lexington 54, Hastings 57, Sidney 66, Gering 68, McCook 94, Grand Island Northwest 146, Alliance 152
Boys Individual Medalists
1, Matthew Barraza, Scottsbluff, 16:00. 2, Anthony Parra, Scottsbluff, 16:07. 3, Trevor Rosno, Hastings, 16:36. 4, Brendan Taedter, Scottsbluff, 16:41. 5, Tayler James, Scottsbluff, 16:49. 6, Ben Willis-Teff, Scottsbluff, 16:54. 7, Sam Arterburn, Sidney, 16:55. 8, Justin Pritchard, Scottsbluff, 16:57. 9, Francisco Rodriguez-Morales, Lexington, 17:08. 10, John Mark Shields, Lexington, 17:13. 11, Michael Mapes, Gering, 17:15. 12, Aaron Pierce, Gering, 17:16. 13, Jachob Wiedeburg, Sidney, 17:16. 14, Ethan Kerr, Hastings, 17:26. 15, Josue Avalos, Lexington, 17:28.
Girls Team Scoring
Lexington 43, Gering 45, Sidney 54, McCook 69, Scottsbluff 70, Grand Island Northwest 75, Hastings 82, Alliance 0
Girls Individual Medalists
1, Vanessa Ambriz, Lexington, 14:46. 2, Molly Sughroue, McCook, 14:58. 3, Taylor Muncie, Scottsbluff, 15:00. 4, Odaliz Santoyo-Garcia, Lexington, 15:08. 5, Marika Vanbrocklin, Hastings, 15:11. 6, Rachel Huffman, Gering, 15:15. 7, Alli Ehler, Sidney, 15:22. 8, Megan Billington, Northwest, 15:26. 9, Kali Rimington, Gering, 15:48. 10, Daisy Lopez, Lexington, 16:09. 11, Maureen Boyd, Hastings, 16:11. 12, Genessa Schilz, Sidney, 16:13. 13, Marisa Robles, Gering, 16:14. 14, Veronica Bair, McCook, 16:14. 15, Morgan Linneman, Sidney, 16:15.