District A-3 Cross Country

Senior Karla Zavala of Fremont High School trails Lilia Alvarez of Omaha South during last week’s A-3 district meet at Pioneers Park in Lincoln. Zavala eventually won the individual championship to help the Tigers earn the team title. Alvarez was third.

Gwyneth Roberts, Lincoln Journal Star

LINCOLN – Fremont High School’s girls cross country team took another step forward on Thursday.

After getting fourth at the district meet last year, the Tigers posted a first-place finish on Thursday in the A-3 District at Pioneers Park in Lincoln. Winning the district championship qualifies Fremont to race in next Friday’s state cross country meet.

“After getting fourth last year, it was great to not only qualify but to come away with the district win today,” said FHS girls cross country coach Jake Smrcina. “It was a big moment for our program and the direction the girls are taking it. We went from seventh two years ago, to fourth last year, to winning this year, and a lot of girls are really starting to believe in each other.”

Fremont won the district championship with 61 points. Omaha South was second with 70 and Norfolk took third with 71.

Senior Karla Zavala finished in first place overall in 20:03, beating second-place Megan Means of Norfolk by 24 seconds.

“Karla Zavala put an exclamation point on a stellar senior year by working her way into the top 5 and eventually into the lead, where she slowly pulled away from the field to win the race by 24 seconds,” Smrcina said. “Around the two-mile mark, Karla was stride-for-stride with the leader before taking over with a little over 1,000 meters to go.

“She beat Megan Means of Norfolk, who is one of the strongest girls in the state, and looked very in control and focused the whole race and executed our race plan to perfection. Karla has been the driving force of our team all summer and season, and it was very exciting to see her put a complete race together and come out as the individual district champion.”

Teammate Myia Johnson recorded a fifth-place finish in 21:06.

“Myia Johnson had a very solid day to finish fifth overall,” Smrcina said. “After finishing 17th at conference last week, she really turned it around today and ran well to give us two in the top 5.”

Fremont’s Mara Hemmer was eighth in 21:15 while Emily Nau was 17th in 21:51. Also competing for the Tigers were: Alexa Mahnke, 30th, 23:22 Madison Ustohal, 32nd, 23:25 and Aubrey Rathke, 36th, 24:02.

Team results

Fremont 61, Omaha South 70, Norfolk 71, Omaha Central 73, Lincoln High 110, Bellevue East 112.

Top 10 individuals

1, Karla Zavala, Fremont, 20:03. 2, Megan Means, Norfolk, 20:27. 3, Lilia Alvarez, Omaha South, 20:53. 4, Brooklyn Larimore, Bellevue East, 21:03. 5, Myia Johnson, Fremont, 21:06. 6, Isabella Reineke, Lincoln High, 21:12. 7, Cristina Lara-Flores, Omaha South, 21:14. 8, Mara Hemmer, Fremont, 21:15. 9, Haley Hatcher, Bellevue East, 21:16. 10, Emily Robles, Omaha South, 21:22.

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