KEARNEY – Conestoga runners had composed a series of noteworthy moments prior to Friday’s state cross country race in Kearney.
They ended the season with a crescendo of confident times and smiles.
The Conestoga girls captured sixth place in the Class C State Meet with a team score of 98 points. Bella Hogue, Danie Parriott, Jasmine Rainey, Lachlyn Swim, Bridget Wagner and Jessica Poirier created melodies in a field filled with powerful programs. Holdrege was the defending state champion and Columbus Scotus, Fort Calhoun and Boone Central/Newman Grove had all won state titles in the past seven years.
Conestoga head coach Sean Trampe said he was pleased to see the Cougars shine at Nebraska’s premier meet. All six runners participated in their first career state races. Conestoga revived the cross country program this season after more than a decade on the sidelines.
“This team set the standard for what we want to do here at Conestoga,” Trampe said. “When you look at how many good teams are out here, getting sixth place in your first year back as a program is a huge deal. I don’t think I can overstate how big of an accomplishment this is. I’m very pleased with the way everyone ran today.”
Holdrege repeated its 2017 state title with a winning total of 50 points. Fort Calhoun (62), Columbus Scotus (66), Lincoln Christian (79) and Boone Central/Newman Grove (81) secured the next four spots.
Trampe said he felt the Cougars learned valuable lessons from their previous experience at Kearney Country Club. The team competed in the University of Nebraska-Kearney Invite Sept. 24 and gained knowledge about the course’s layout and conditions. Hogue (25 seconds), Parriott (18 seconds), Rainey (63 seconds), Swim (29 seconds), Wagner (98 seconds) and Poirier (97 seconds) all improved their times on Friday.
“I think it was a big plus for us,” Trampe said. “This is a really good course, so it helps to know what’s coming up around the next corner and what you have to watch out for. I think the girls were more comfortable running the course today, and it showed in our times.”
Hogue earned a fourth-place medal with a career-best mark of 20:26.30. Parriott finished 23rd in 21:30.40 and Rainey netted 43rd place in 22:34.70. Swim (24:41.50, 79th), Wagner (28:50.00, 92nd) and Poirier (29:00.20, 93rd) all helped the Cougars during the day.
Trampe said the positive mindsets of team members played a key role in the group’s state success. He said their willingness to expend time and energy earlier in the fall led to a harmonious outcome in Kearney.
“When we started the year we had two girls who had running experience and four others who wanted to join the team and make contributions to our program,” Trampe said. “All of them worked hard during the year and had great attitudes. Being able to get sixth place at state is a testament to their work ethic and dedication. I’m extremely proud of what all of them have been able to do this season.”
Class C Girls Team Results
Holdrege 50, Fort Calhoun 62, Columbus Scotus 66, Lincoln Christian 79, Boone Central/Newman Grove 81, Conestoga 98, Kearney Catholic 112, Mitchell 125, Ogallala 137, Milford 139, O’Neill 142, Auburn 177
Top 15 Results
1) Lucia McKeag (Ogallala) 19:49.00, 2) Jordan Soto-Stopak (Boone Central/Newman Grove) 20:05.60, 3) Alexus Sindelar (Pierce) 20:13.20, 4) Bella Hogue (Conestoga) 20:26.30, 5) Taya Skelton (Fort Calhoun) 20:29.30, 6) Sydney Reed (Holdrege) 20:32.00, 7) Ashley Kroese (Milford) 20:38.40, 8) Natalie Engel (Cozad) 20:49.30, 9) Regan Hodsden (Mitchell) 20:50.50, 10) Avery McKennan (Fort Calhoun) 20:52.40, 11) Kenzie Hurlbert (Holdrege) 20:53.00, 12) Grace Oberg (Kearney Catholic) 20:54.30, 13) Samantha Weeder (Boone Central/Newman Grove) 21:01.40, 14) Grace Reiman (Adams Central) 21:02.50, 15) Olivia Fehringer (Columbus Scotus) 21:06.20
Bella Hogue 20:26.30 (4th), Danie Parriott 21:30.40 (23rd), Jasmine Rainey 22:34.70 (43rd), Lachlyn Swim 24:41.50 (79th), Bridget Wagner 28:50.00 (92nd), Jessica Poirier 29:00.20 (93rd)