KEARNEY — Fremont High School overcame adverse weather conditions to finish second during the Heartland Athletic Conference Girls Cross Country Meet on Thursday at the Kearney Country Club.
The Tigers competed in 92-degree temperatures at the club during the University of Nebraska at Kearney Invitational Sept. 30, but Thursday was cold with wind gusts of 40 mph.
“It was a complete 180-degree turn weather-wise from 10 days ago in Kearney,” Fremont coach Jake Smrcina said. “It was wild ends of adversity to say the least, but our girls have proven tough in any conditions and today was no exception.”
The Tigers beat Lincoln East at UNK, but Spartans’ freshman Kylie Muma returned Thursday from a knee injury to place fourth overall. The Spartans finished with 33 points while the Tigers had 50.
“East was back at full strength and showed why they are the best team in the state right now,” Smrcina said. “Our girls still competed well, but we know there are a few things we can improve on in the next two weeks.”
Freshman Berlyn Schutz of East was the individual champion in 18:33.31. Fremont sophomore Elli Dahl was second in 18:55.79.
“Elli ran well today,” Smrcina said. “When Schutz broke away around halfway, Elli covered the move well as the two ran away from everyone. Schutz lit up the last 2K and continued her undefeated season, but Elli still held her ground all alone and ran her fastest time of the season on a less-than-ideal day.”
Junior Mara Hemmer of the Tigers finished seventh in 19:17.45.
“Mara fell off the chase pack around halfway, but rallied well to get seventh,” Smrcina said. “We know she is at her best in championship season and she will bring it the next two weeks.”
Sophomore Mia Wagner placed 10th in 19:51.72.
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“Mia continued her great racing, working together with Myia (Johnson) and Emily (Nau) through the two-mile (mark) before sneaking into the top 10,” Smrcina said. “She has been running with a lot of confidence and isn’t backing down from anyone — exactly the attitude we are looking for these next few weeks.”
Nau placed 15th in 20:03.40 while Johnson was 16th in 20:04.04. Teammate Shelby Bracker was 17th in 20:08.95 and sophomore Lucy Dillon cracked the top 20 by finishing 19th in 20:24.24.
“Emily, Myia and Shelby all competed well and held their position most of the race, as did Lucy to give us all seven varsity girls in the top 20,” Smrcina said. “As I said, East showed why they are undoubtedly the team to beat the next two weeks, and with good reason with their three front runners. Our girls have talked all year about being in control of ourselves and focusing on the right things, which is working together to bring out the best in each other. That will be our goal these next two weeks.”
The Tigers will compete in the A-2 district meet at 2:15 Thursday afternoon at the Walnut Creek Recreation Area in Papillion. Lincoln Southeast, Lincoln Southwest, Millard South, Norfolk, Omaha Bryan, Omaha South and South Sioux City will also be in the field.
“As coaches, we were impressed with the girls’ toughness again today,” Smrcina said. “We know we are still a race away from really putting everything together both on and off the course. It was another day with really tough conditions, but all 17 girls who raced brought their best and it was a great learning experience.”
Alex Sasse of the Tigers was second in the junior varsity division in 20:46.56 while Avry LaFavor was ninth in 21:20.30.
Team Scores — Lincoln East 33, Fremont 50, Lincoln Southwest 111, Lincoln Pius 117, Kearney 180, Lincoln Southeast 193, Lincoln High 197, Lincoln North Star 210, Norfolk 228, Grand Island 259, Lincoln Northeast 266.
Top 15 Finishers — 1. Berlyn Schutz, LE, 18:33.31. 2. Elli Dahl, FHS, 18:55.79. 3. Brianna Rinn, LSW, 19:05.43. 4. Kylie Muma, LE, 19:07.78. 5. Jenna Muma, LE, 19:08.10. 6. Lizzy Kramer, Pius, 19:08.20. 7. Mara Hemmer, FHS, 19:17.45. 8. Hannah Ray, LNE, 19:17.49. 9. Grace Bonsall, K, 19:44.91. 10. Mia Wagner, FHS, 19:51.72. 11. Taylor Searcey, LE, 19:54.38. 12. Izzy Apel, LE, 20:01.03. 13. Abbie Schmidt, 20:01.54. 14. Ellyn King, LSE, 20:02.26. 15. Emily Nau, FHS, 20:03.40.