The Fremont High School boys cross country team loves running on its home terrain at Valley View Golf Course.
That was evident Thursday afternoon during the Tigers’ annual invitational.
FHS dominated the freshmen/sophomore division by claiming six of the top nine spots and having seven medalists. Fremont won that division with 20 points while Elkhorn High was second with 84.
The Tigers were third in the junior/senior division, but junior Owen Wagner captured first place in 16:47.32 while senior Andrew Blocker (seventh in 17:07.48) and junior Zac McGeorge (14th in 17:39.95) also earn medals.
“There are a lot of people that come out to show their support,” Fremont coach Sean McMahon said. “You look around and there are athletes and parents of athletes from teams back to 15 years ago. It makes me proud as a coach that the kids run so well here.”
While Wagner took top honors in the upper-class division, Carter Waters placed first in the freshmen/sophomore class. Waters won in 17:02.62 while teammate Junior Garcia was second in 17:13.36.
“We had the front five or six about a mile in,” McMahon said. “It was fun to see them feed off the crowd.”
Tyson Baker of the Tigers was fourth in 17:24.76 while Braden Taylor (17:33.11) and Nolan Miller (17:34.58) were sixth and seventh, respectively. Aaron Ladd was ninth in 17:54.93 while Ricky Estrada ran a personal record to finish 15th in 18:54.80. All of the Tigers’ top seven were sophomores, except for Estrada.
“That was a great performance by Ricky to kind of cap off a dominating performance by that group,” McMahon said.
Matthew Ondracek was 17th in 19:04.31 while Christian Andrade was 18th in 19:07.01. Coulter Fritz (19:15.42) and Hazem Santos (19:19.57) were 20th and 21st, respectively.
Wagner, the lone returning varsity runner from the Tigers’ Class A state championship team in 2018, didn’t have his best day last year at the FHS Invitational
“It was probably the low point for him last season,” McMahon said. “He was really licking his chops for that first 1,000 meters. I told him to stay patient and when he got to the (first) mile, he looked really good. He opened up about a 10- to 15-second lead. A couple of guys narrowed that down, but he ran a 16:47.32 and beat a very good senior in Derek Madden of Elkhorn South (16:54.01).”
McMahon said it was a gratifying race for Wagner.
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“To win by seven seconds was really encouraging,” he said. “He was just determined to have a good day and lead our team.”
Tristan Thurlow of the Tigers was 24th in the junior/senior division in 18:28.56. Maxwell Brown was 32nd in 18:50.27 while Turner Blick was 34th in 18:54.75. Zach Shafer placed 53rd in 21:03.56.
The Tigers’ “second varsity” will race in the varsity division at an invitational Sept. 19 at Pioneers Park in Lincoln. Fremont’s top seven will compete in the Heartland Classic on Sept. 21 in Pella, Iowa.
Fremont 20, Elkhorn High 84, Elkhorn South 91, Columbus 109, Bennington 112, South Sioux City 112, Papillion-La Vista 163, Omaha Northwest 244.
Top 15 Finishers
1. Carter Waters, F, 17:02.62. 2. Junior Garcia, F, 17:13.36. 3. Gabe Hinrichs, ES, 17:19.48. 4. Tyson Baker, F, 17:24.76. 5. Mesuidi Ejerso, SSC, 17:29.94. 6. Braden Taylor, F, 17:33.11. 7. Nolan Miller, F, 17:34.58. 8. Cooper Willoughby, B, 17:36.10. 9. Aaron Ladd, F, 17:54.93. 10. Luke Johnson, ES, 18:00.58. 11. Michael Grigsby, EH, 18:13.41. 12. Treven Beekman, EH, 18:14.42. 13. Noah Lawrence, C, 18:27.04. 14. Sam Thompson, PLV, 18:46.14. 15. Ricky Estrada, F, 18:54.80.
Elkhorn South 64, Papillion-La Vista 66, Fremont 78, Bennington 86, Columbus 111, South Sioux City 128, Elkhorn High 144.
Top 15 Finishers
1. Owen Wagner, F, 16:47.32. 2. Derek Madden, ES, 16:54.01. 3. Collin Kotz, PLV, 17:03.06. 4. Keaton Miller, B, 17:06.61. 5. Douglas Davidchik, C, 17:07.01. 6. Eric Tomjack, B, 17:07.07. 7. Andrew Blocker, F, 17:07.48. 8. Joe McFarland, C, 17:08.58. 9. Ethan Foix, PLV, 17:13.95. 10. Luke Coltvet, EH, 17:26.70. 11. Kody Smallfoot, EH, 17:30.92. 12. JT Parr, ES, 17:34.86. 13. Jakob Tadlock, PLV, 17:36.64. 14. Zac McGeorge, F, 17:39.95. 15. Austin Woolfolk, ES, 17:43.57.