Photo Showcase: Nebraska state cross country
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KEARNEY, Neb. — Elkhorn Mount Michael ended a 12-year title drought in boys cross country with a narrow victory Friday over two-time defending Class B champion Scottsbluff.
Led by individual runner-up Thomas Kalil, the Knights had four runners in the top nine. They had 25 points to 32 for Scottsbluff, which had its first individual champion since 1961 in sophomore Matthew Barraza.
The Knights won four titles between 1995 and 2000 in Class C, but their only previous Class B title was in 1986.
“To get one in Class B, it tells all the other programs at Mount Michael that they can do it, too,” Mount Michael coach John Gathje said.
In the girls race, Seward won the team title for the third time in four years. Freshman Erin Lee was York’s first individual girls winner since Nora Shepherd in 1993.
John Cronin was sixth, Andrew Karlstrom eighth and Jarrett Crnkovich ninth for Mount Michael. Marcus Cronin and freshman Samuel Van Haute also competed Friday for the Knights.
Kalil, a junior, had beaten Barraza at the UNK state-preview meet last month.
“I knew he was fast and I had to go all out,” Barraza said. “I took the first mile a little faster.”
Kalil said he never gave up going for the individual title once he got passed.
“I was able to get close, but I didn’t start sprinting soon enough,” he said. “At first I was pretty disappointed, but once I started seeing my teammates come across the line one after another, I started thinking, “Hey, (a team title) is definitely possible.
“We had some great runners last year but we were second to Scottsbluff. Even though we lost some of them, we were still able to do it this time.”
York’s Lee, who won the UNK meet on the same Kearney Country Club course by 5.3 seconds, increased her winning margin Friday to 15.7 seconds. She said she passed McCook’s Molly Sughroue, who was the runner-up, with 800 meters to go.
“I wasn’t expecting this,” she said. “I was going for the top five. I wanted to stay relaxed and try not to get too pumped up.”
Seward, which had 41 points to 63 for runner-up Plattsmouth, had juniors Lauren Wilcox in 10th and Shelbi Sloup in 11th as its top finishers.
Team scoring: Elkhorn Mount Michael 25, Scottsbluff 32, Seward 85, Omaha Gross 111, Plattsmouth 111, Blair 116, Elkhorn South 120, Lexington 127, Hastings 128, York 148, Elkhorn 152, Beatrice 196.
Individual results: 1, Matthew Barraza, Scottsbluff, 16:22.1. 2, Anthony Parra, Scottsbluff, 16:28.4. 3, Thomas Kalil, EMM, 16:28.4. 4, Nick Larsen, OG, 16:42.5. 5, Trevor Rosno, Hastings, 16:44.6. 6, John Cronin, EMM, 16:48.6. 7, Ash Gandul, Elkhorn South, 16:50.5. 8, Andrew Karstorm, EMM, 16:54.7. 9, Jarrett Crakovich, EMM, 16:58.9. 10, Austin Yardley, Elkhorn, 16:59.9. 11, Brendan Taedter, Scottsbluff, 17:02.8. 12, Todd Luetzinger, OS, 17:04.3. 13, Justin Gross, Seward, 17:05.7. 14, Kole Krueger, Blair, 17:08.0. 15, Jake Dexter, Seward, 17:10.2.
Team scoring: Seward 41, Plattsmouth 63, Omaha Skutt 77, York 87, Lexington 91, Omaha Mercy 105, Gering 119, Sidney 122, Gretna 122, Omaha Duchesne 135, Columbus 146, Elkhorn 147.
Individual results: 1, Erin Lee, York, 14:55.1. 2, Molly Sughroue, McCook, 15:10.8. 3, Alli Ehler, Sidney, 15:21.1. 4, Vanessa Ambriz, Lexington, 15:22.8. 5, Marika Van Brocklin, Hastings, 15:24.8. 6, Lauren Mitteis, Plattsmouth, 15:25.1. 7, Megan Billington, Grand Island Northwest, 15:35.9. 8, Taylor Muncie, Scottsbluff, 15:38.0. 9, Rachel Huffman, Gering, 15:38.5. 10, Lauren Wilcox, Seward, 15:39.0. 11, Shelbi Sloup, Seward, 15:40.2. 12, Abbey Lenz, OS, 15:45.6. 13, Taylor Brockhaus, Ralston, 15:48.0. 14, Logan Sieck, Crete, 15:48.6. 15, Hayley Wagner, Plattsmouth, 15:53.5.
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