Fremont High School showcased its youth and talent in front of the hometown fans Thursday afternoon in the A-1 district cross country meet at Valley View Golf Course.
All seven of the Tigers’ underclassmen runners placed in the top 13 on their way to capturing the team championship with 27 points. Runner-up Kearney finished with 65 while Elkhorn South, coached by Fremont native Tim Ebers, was third with 79.
“This is what we wanted leading into the state meet,” Fremont coach Jake Smrcina said. “I think we came out and executed our race plan. Putting on a good show in front of our fans is always good. I think we took away a few things we need to work on this week, but this gives us some momentum heading into state week.”
The second-ranked Tigers will compete Oct. 19 in the Class A state meet at the Kearney Country Club. Fremont has already ran there twice this season — Sept. 24 in the University of Nebraska at Kearney Invitational and Oct. 4 during the Heartland Athletic Conference Meet.
“I’m really excited for state,” Fremont freshman Elli Dahl said. “I love the Kearney course.”
Dahl dominated the A-1 field by winning the race in 18:34.67. Ally Schilmoeller of Elkhorn South was the runner-up in 19:08.93.
“This meant a lot to me today and I ran mostly for my team,” Dahl said. “It was an honor to run with everyone and in front of the fans here.”
Dahl captured the HAC championship last week and now can add district champion to her racing resume.
“This was a different style of race and she still dominates,” Smrcina said. “She is ready to do something special next week and we are really excited. We knew she was talented, but I think she has learned a lot about racing. Last week she ran away from everyone at the get-go. Today she was calm and then ran away from the pack. ... Every time she steps on the course great things are happening.”
Sophomores Emily Nau (19:34.19) and Mara Hemmer (19:43.72) were fourth and sixth, respectively, for the Tigers.
“They both worked well together,” Smrcina said. “(Grace) Bonsall of Kearney beat them both last week and today they both beat her.”
Bonsall finished eighth in 19:52.16. She was ninth at the HAC meet while Hemmer and Nau were 10th and 12th, respectively.
FHS freshmen Mia Wagner (19:50.04) and Lucy Dillon (20:02.92) were seventh and ninth, respectively.
“Mia really stepped up today,” Smrcina said. “She has ran varsity for about the last three weeks. She closed the gap and started the rally of the chase pack. It seems like every week we have someone step up for us.”
Junior Myia Johnson was 12th in 20:20.54 and sophomore Shelby Bracker was 13th in 20:28.57.
Dahl said veterans like Johnson have helped the freshmen adapt to varsity racing.
“Everyone has been so welcoming,” she said. “It has
been great to run with everyone. It has been so much fun this year.”
The Tigers will compete at 2:30 p.m. Oct. 19 at the Kearney Country Club. While the Tigers have had to battle with illnesses and minor injuries in the last few weeks, Smrcina thinks they will be in good shape for the final meet.
“I think we’re pretty healthy and they are ready to make
their last race their best race,” he said.
A-1 District Meet
At Valley View Golf Course
Team Scores — Fremont High 27, Kearney 65, Elkhorn South 79, Lincoln Southeast 84, Papillion-La Vista 120, Bellevue West 165, Omaha Northwest 211.
Top 15 Finishers — 1. Elli Dahl, F, 18:34.67. 2. Ally Schilmoeller, ES, 19:08.93. 3. Hannah Godwin, K, 19:21.53. 4. Emily Nau, F, 19:34.19. 5. Chloe Heller, LSE, 19:42.06. 6. Mara Hemmer, F, 19:43.72. 7. Mia Wagner, F, 19:50.04. 8. Grace Bonsall, K, 19:52.16. 9. Lucy Dillon, F, 20:02.92. 10. Ellyn King, LSE, 20:03.74. 11. Renee Thompson, PLV, 20:16.32. 12. Myia Johnson, F, 20:20.54. 13. Shelby Bracker, F, 20:28.57. 14. Corynne Olsen, LSE, 20:29.40. 15. Krista McNeill, ES, 20:29.80.