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Champions crowned at the Nebraska high school state cross country meet
CROSS COUNTRY

Champions crowned at the Nebraska high school state cross country meet

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KEARNEY, Neb. — Class A cross country saw the end of the Liem Chot era Friday and perhaps the beginning of one for Stella Miner.

Chot, a senior from Lincoln North Star, became the sixth runner overall and the third in the state’s largest class, following Nate Nielsen of Lincoln Southeast in the 1980s and Colby Wissel of Kearney in the 2000s, to be a three-time state champion.

“I didn’t get the all-class (gold), but it’s always good to defend my title,’’ Chot said. “It was my last official cross country meet in high school, so I went out and did my best.”

Miner ran the fastest 5,000 meters in a girls state meet. The freshman at Omaha Marian, who moved with her family from New Jersey during the summer, finished in 18:11.0.

Lincoln East became the first three-time girls team champion since Marian won five in a row ending in 2007. Fremont’s boys won for the second time in three years.

The boys’ gold medal went to Class C champion Carson Noecker. The sophomore from Hartington, who had run the fastest time on the Kearney Country Club course last month at the four-class UNK Invitational that mirrors the state meet, ran 15:22.1 to be the first from Class C to break 16 minutes in a state meet.

Chot was in a tight leaders pack that included eventual runner-up Gabe Hinrichs from Elkhorn South. Chot said he made his move at the 2-mile mark.

“That’s the spot where, if I’m feeling good, I’ll pick it up significantly, and if not I’ll just hang with the pack,’’ he said. “But I noticed that my competitors were not feeling their best, so I just picked it up at the two mile and got about a five-meter lead and it was like, ‘OK, I got this.’ ”

Miner couldn’t get much separation against Lincoln Southwest junior Brianna Rinn until the final 100 meters. Rinn’s 18:15.3 would have won Class A six of the first seven years that the girls have run 5,000 meters.

“It was like my legs are a machine,’’ Miner said about the final kick, “and I can keep going no matter what.’’

There are family ties in Nebraska, she said, including some farms around Wisner. She said she went out for the Marian team as a way to make friends in her new state.

Marian coach Roger Wright said she told him a stress fracture kept her out of cross country last year as an eighth-grader. Her first race at Marian, he said, she was in the low 19s.

“The first day she came out she just hopped up with my top group and ran around the lake where we were doing our run,’’ he said. “Some people try to do that and they find out they shouldn’t be there. Not her.

“She’s a hard worker. She’s able to run by herself.”

Lincoln East’s pack claimed five of the nine spots between ninth and 17th to stay atop Class A for a third consecutive year. Sophomores Izzy Apel and Kylie Muma were ninth and 12th, respectively, with freshman Peyton Svehla 13th, returning state Gatorade runner of the year Berlyn Schutz 14th and senior Jenna Muma 17th.

The Spartans won with 65 points. Fremont, which placed its top five runners between eighth and 24th, was second with 88 and Millard West third with 97. Defending champion Elli Dahl, a Fremont junior, was not at top speed this season and was 11th.

Fremont’s boys placed six in the top 20 for 58 points, which bettered Millard West’s 78 and Omaha Creighton Prep’s 104.

Owen Wagner was seventh, Nolan Miller eighth, Carter Waters 11th, Braden Taylor 15th, Zacharry McGeorge 17th and Aaron Ladd 20th for the Tigers.

BOYS

Team scoring: Fremont 58, Millard West 78, Omaha Creighton Prep 104, Lincoln North Star 131, Papillion-La Vista South 161, Elkhorn South 178, Gretna 188, Norfolk 195, Lincoln East 218, North Platte 231, Lincoln Southwest 237, Lincoln Pius X 244.

Individual results: 1, Liem Chot, LNS, 15:37.9. 2, Gabriel Hinrichs, ES, 15:43.7. 3, Samuel Kirchner, MW, 15:51.6. 4, Evan Caudy, NP, 15:51.9. 5, Isaac Ochoa, Nor, 16:00.1. 6, Daniel Romary, Lincoln Northeast, 16:00.8. 7, Juan Garcia, Grand Island, 16:03.8. 8, Grant Wasserman, LNS, 16:04.5. 9, Owen Wagner, Fre, 16:11.7. 10, Nolan Miller, Fre, 16:12.2. 11, Henry Slagle, OCP, 16:13.3. 12, Drew Snyder, LSW, 16:18.5. 13, Carter Waters, Fre, 16:18.6. 14, John Schembari, OCP, 16:19.3. 15, Piercze Marshall, MW, 16:22.7.

GIRLS

Team scoring: Lincoln East 65, Fremont 88, Millard West 97, Lincoln Southwest 102, Omaha Marian 158, Papillion-La Vista South 159, Kearney 174, Omaha Westside 176, Millard North 214, Millard South 234, Elkhorn South 243, North Platte 265.

Individual results: 1, Stella Miner, OM, 18:11.0. 2, Brianna Rinn, LSW, 18:15.3. 3, Kaylie Crews, PLVS, 18:31.3. 4, Hannah Godwin, K, 18:33.3. 5, Claire White, OW, 19:01.0. 6, Kate Dilsaver, LSW, 19:04.6. 7, Jaci Sievers, ES, 19:06.6. 8, Shelby Bracker, Fre, 19:10.3. 9, Izzy Apel, LE, 19:15.5. 10, Emily Gilbert, MW, 19:17.0. 11, Elli Dahl, Fre, 19:18.2. 12, Kylie Muma, LE, 19:19.5. 13, Peyton Svehla, LE, 19:21.2. 14, Berlyn Schutz, LE, 19:24.1. 15, Zarah Blaesi, NP, 19:26.9.

Class B

Isaac Richards chased Ryan Zavadil for more than three years as Omaha Skutt teammates.

Friday, Richards validated his district championship by beating Zavadil by 16 seconds for the Class B boys cross country title. Their 1-2 finish helped the SkyHawks to a record-tying fourth consecutive team title on a freezing day at Kearney Country Club.

“My goal always was to beat him,’’ Richards said. “I had done it before this year, but those times he had an injury that was really bothering him so he wasn’t able to perform his best. So this one, the injury had gone away, so it really solidifies the victory.”

McCoy Haussler was ninth and Alexander Kennedy 15th to give Skutt a four-runner score of 27 that matched last year’s total. Alexander Riche and Andrew Davidson gave the SkyHawks six runners in the top 21.

Lexington (75) edged Plattsmouth (78), Elkhorn Mount Michael (81) and Hastings (83) for the runner-up trophy.

Girls champion Madison Seiler, a Gering sophomore, said she wasn’t expecting to win.

But she was coming off a district victory in which she ran the fastest time in Class B. She said breaking the 19-minute mark gave her confidence for state, where she did it again by crossing the finish line in 18:55.71.

“I said if I could do that on a flat course I can definitely push the pace here,’’ she said. “My plan was to be in the top three and just have that mindset of just finishing strong and ‘you can do this,’ but this is totally unexpected.”

Seward won the Class B girls team title for the first time since 2012. Sophomore Tandee Masco and junior Keegan Beisel finished seventh and eighth, with Samantha Hughes 14th and Karnie Gottschalk 26th. The Bluejays nipped Elkhorn 55-57.

Skutt’s boys are the first in Class B since York (1992 to 1995)to win four in a row. The other four-time team champions are from Class C — Morrill (1979-82), Norfolk Catholic (2006-09) and Milford (2012-15). The girls record is 10, by Crofton in Class D from 2006 to 2015.

BOYS

Team scoring: Omaha Skutt 27, Lexington 75, Plattsmouth 78, Elkhorn Mount Michael 81, Hastings 83, Norris 103, Gering 111, South Sioux City 114, Bennington 126, York 152, Elkhorn 153, Seward 212.

Individual results: 1, Isaac Richards, OS, 16:22.0 2, Ryan Zavadil, OS, 16:38.2. 3, Peyton Seiler, G, 16:40.6 4, Jaydon Welsh, Hastings, 16:46.3. 5, Samuel Campin, P, 16:48.4. 6, Elmer Sotelomunoz, Lex, 16:48.7. 7, Mesuidi Ejerso, SSC, 16:50.2. 8, Jack Sorensen, EMM, 16:50.8. 9, McCoy Haussler, OS, 16:53.3. 10, Kaleb Wooten, P, 16:57.4. 11, Colin Pinneo, Y, 16:59.8. 12, Jonathan Lopez Chojolan, Hastings, 17:00.7. 13, Caden Keller, GI Northwest, 17:03.0. 14, Keaton Miller, Benn, 17:03.3. 15, Conrad Schroeder, Waverly, 17:07.1.

GIRLS

Team scoring: Seward 55, Elkhorn 57, Omaha Skutt 84, Blair 86, Omaha Duchesne 87, McCook 87, Elkhorn North 104, Gering 113, Norris 136, Lexington 153, Omaha Mercy 158, York 173.

Individual results: 1, Madison Seiler, G, 18:55.8. 2, Jaedan Bunda, OS, 19:12.3. 3, Samantha Rodewald, MC, 19:19.5. 4, Kassidy Stuckey, Y, 19:27.7. 5, Britt Prince, EN, 19:47.4. 6, Madeline Yardley, Elk, 19:52.4. 7, Tandee Masco, Sew, 19:57.3. 8, Brooke Holzworth, Scottsbluff, 19:59.3. 9, Keegan Beisel, Sew, 20:05.6. 10, Ashley Hedquist, South Sioux City, 20:11.7. 11, Anna Youell, OM, 20:17.3. 12, Corinne Mead, EN, 20:19.2. 13, Hailey Amandus, Blair, 20:20.0. 14, Sienna Dutton, MC, 20:21.5. 15, Abigail Metschke, Elk, 20:22.5.

Class C

Back to her house of horrors, Alexus Sindelar finally conquered Kearney Country Club.

The junior from Pierce won the Class C girls cross country title Friday at what hadn’t been her favorite place.

Her sophomore year in the UNK Invitational, she passed out on the far east end of the 5,000-meter course. When she returned for the state meet, she said she was spooked and mentally struggled making that corner. After taking third as a freshman, she was 13th.

“It made me nervous and more scared, but at least I finished last year,’’ she said. “That was my motivation to finish this season as hard as I could, give everything I had, especially the last year I could run with my brother.”

Mason Sindelar, a senior, finished second for the second straight year to Hartington sophomore Carson Noecker in the Class C boys race.

Alexus Sindelar finished 10.5 seconds ahead of runner-up Lindee Henning, an Ogallala freshman.

“Having Lindee there with me, it helped me,’’ Sindelar said. “She was always there right behind me on my shoulder. If it wasn’t for her I wouldn’t have pushed through this race as hard as I did.”

Boone Central put three in the top 16 to repeat as girls team champion. Jordan Soto-Stopak was third, sophomore Alicia Weeder sixth and Samantha Weeder 16th, with Autumn Simons their fourth runner, as the Cardinals scored 70 points to 93 for runner-up Douglas County West.

The Falcons saw freshman Olivia Malousek take ninth, with Morgan Morrison, Maria Malousek and Paxton Paulson finishing as a pack from 27th to 29th.

In Class C boys, Noecker’s winning time of 15:22.1 was nearly 32 seconds faster than Sindelar.

“I knew it was going to be hard,’’ Noecker said. “Running against Mason is tough.”

Milford overtook Fort Calhoun, the leader at the 2-mile mark, to take the Class C team title for the first time since 2015. Elliott Reitz was seventh, Carter Roth 17th, Hudson Mullet 29th and Maddox Baack 34th as the Eagles led Sidney 87-99, with Fort Cahoun two more points back.

BOYS

Team scoring: Milford 87, Sidney 99, Fort Calhoun 101, Lincoln Christian 102, Aurora 104, Malcolm 110, Columbus Scotus 111, Minden 125, Pierce 125, St. Paul 126, Gothenburg 132, Broken Bow 135, O'Neill 172, Boys Town 205, Louisville 244.

Individual results: 1, Carson Noecker, Hartington, 15:22.1. 2, Mason Sindelar, P, 15:53.9. 3, Conner Wells, SP, 16:43.9. 4, William Anderson, G, 16:51.6. 5, Thomas Lokken, Wilber-Clatonia, 16:54.8. 6, Zach Cloud, GICC, 16:58.0. 7, Daniel Bashtovoi, Sid, 17:01.8. 8, Caden Knutson, Mitchell, 17:02.8. 9, Dylan Riley, Aur, 17:04.3. 10, Brady Thompson, O'Neill, 17:05.3. 11, Elliott Reitz, Mil, 17:05.5. 12, Brandon Mitzel, West Point-Beemer, 17:06.8. 13, Jacob Rupp, FC, 17:11.1. 14, Gavin Geneski, 17:12.5. 15, Ty Brockhaus, Mal, 17:13.7.

GIRLS

Team scoring: Boone Central 74, Douglas County West 100, Lincoln Christian 101, Ogallala 107, Chadron 112, Pierce 117, Sidney 120, Fort Calhoun 126, Milford 132, Minden 148, Columbus Scotus 148, Aurora 149, GICC 170, Ashland-Greenwood 174, Platteview 174.

Individual results: 1, Alexus Sindelar, Pi, 19:18.1. 2, Lindee Henning, O, 19:28.6. 3, Jordan Soto-Stopak, BC, 19:49.6. 4, Jessie Hurt, Min, 19:49.7. 5, Danie Parriott, Conestoga, 20:06.1. 6, Sadye Daniell, LC, 20:11.1. 7, Alicia Weeder, BC, 20:15.2. 8, Abbie McGuire, Mil, 20:15.8. 9, Bria Bench, FC, 20:16.7. 10, Olivia Lawrence, Pl, 20:17.0. 11, Olivia Malousek, DCW, 20:17.5. 12, Talissa Tanquary, Sid, 20:18.2. 13, Izzy Clarke, Pl, 20:19.6. 14, Miah Hoppens, O, 20:31.2. 15, Sydney Binder, Auburn, 20:32.1.

Class D

Payton Davis repeated Friday as Class D’s boys cross country champion.

And then the David City Aquinas senior acknowledged he wonders what he could have done the two previous years when he was out for football instead.

“I’ve already admitted before it was probably the dumbest mistake of my life,’’ Davis said at Kearney Country Club after getting pushed by Benjamin Flynn of Ainsworth. “All my friends were in cross country and I’m like, ‘I like running, I might as well be running.’”

Davis is the fifth winner from Aquinas and the fourth in six years. Elijah Frasher won in 2015 and 2017.

That’s another regret for Davis.

“He could have made me so much better when he was a senior and I was a freshman,’’ he said.

With Peter Cisco finishing third — “he just ran the run of his life,” Davis said — and Jacob Witter 10th — Aquinas brought home its third boys state title and first since winning in 2002 and 2003. The senior-led Monarchs had 14 points in the first year of top-three scoring to 19 for Norfolk Catholic.

In the girls race, winning didn’t make Jordyn Arens numb. That feeling came early on in the Class D girls race for the freshman champion from Crofton.

“I just let my legs take me. My legs felt numb. Everything feels numb,’’ Arens said as snow flurries fell in freezing temperatures.

Arens, whose older sister Haley was champion five year ago, finished 43 seconds ahead of the runner-up, defending champion Alayna Vargas of Hastings St. Cecilia.

McCool Junction won its first Class D girls cross country title by one point over three-time champion Ainsworth. In the first time for three-place scoring, the Mustangs had sophomore Payton Gerken, senior Alyssa Plock and freshman McKenna Yates finish in the top 18 for 41 points to 42 for Ainsworth and 47 for Bloomfield-Wausa.

The Arenses are the most recent of the school’s five individual winners. Crofton has the state record in cross country with 19 team titles.

Jordyn said while her brothers and sisters all have been in cross country, her parents never pressured them to run.

“For me it doesn’t matter if I win or lose,’’ she said. “It’s all about the journey along with improving my personal best.”

BOYS

Team scoring: David City Aquinas 14, Norfolk Catholic 19, Freeman 61, Axtell 68, McCool Junction 69, Ainsworth 72, Sandhills Valley 78, North Platte St. Patrick's 82, Garden County 83, BRLD 95, Mullen 99, West Holt 115, Shelton 118, Crofton 123, Osmond 136, Ravenna 139, Bayard 149, Doniphan-Trumbull 179.

Individual results: 1, Payton Davis, DCA, 16:41.1. 2, Tylan Schlueter, Ain, 16:48.0. 3, Abraham Larson, Stanton, 17:10.0. 4, Kolter Van Pelt, Stanton, 17:11.1. 5, Grant Lander, Homer, 17:20.9. 6, Peter Sisco, DCA, 17:21.5. 7, Ben Hammond, NC, 17:21.7. 8, Trevor Kuncl, Mul, 17:24.5. 9, Dalton Brunsing, NC, 17:28.6. 10, Tyler Neville, MCJ, 17:29.0. 11, Jacob Odea, Southwest, 17:29.1. 12, Logan Larson, Tri County, 17:30.7. 13, Addison Smith, Bloomfield-Wausa, 17:31.1 14, Jarrett Miles, NPSP, 17:42.3. 15, Dominic Liess, NC, 17:48.9.

GIRLS

Team scoring: McCool Junction 41, Ainsworth 42, Bloomfield-Wausa 47, North Central 57, Ravenna 57, North Platte St. Patrick's 58, Tri County 71, Norfolk Catholic 73, Fullerton 77, Crofton 80, Palmyra 83, Hastings St. Cecilia 102, Wisner-Pilger 108, Axtell 130, Bridgeport 147, Hemingford 160, Hi-Line 169, Bayard 185.

Individual results: 1, Jordyn Arens, Cro, 19:06.6. 2, Alayna Vargas, HSC, 19:49.3. 3, Katherine Kerrigan, Ain, 19:50.9. 4, Hannah Swanson, Nebraska Christian, 19:59.3. 5, Callie Coble, Mullen, 20:06.1. 6, Kacey Dethlefs, Rav, 20:07.5. 7, Emily Frey, Pal, 20:26.3. 8, Ashlei McDonald, Johnson County, 20:27.1. 9, Christina Martinson, B-W, 20:27.3. 10, Kate Stienike, NPSP, 20:29.9. 11, Ceeanna Beel, Ain, 20:38.3. 12, Payton Gerkin, MCJ, 20:42.3. 13, Julianna Maxfield, Ful, 20:44.5. 14, Chaney Nelson, Oakland-Craig, 20:48.0 15, Brekyn Kok, Bellevue Cornerstone, 20:48.4.

Omaha World-Herald: Nebraska Prep Zone

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Stu is The World-Herald's lead writer for high school sports and for golf. Follow him on Twitter @stuOWH. Phone: 402-444-1041.

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