Class A XC review, Sept. 10

This past week was the first time that most of Nebraska Class A’s teams were in action. A few of the key meets:

The Lincoln North boys captured the Charlie Thorell title, edging Skutt 25 to 34 in a meet where only the top four runners were scored. The Seward course is more challenging than most, and Thursday’s high temps made it even more difficult. Liem Chot of LNS won the race in 16:42, one second ahead of Zach Vanbrocklin of Norris. Derek Madden of Elkhorn South was third in 17:08, followed by Ryan Zavadil (Skutt) in 17:22 and Grant Wasserman (LNS) in 17:25. The average time for 4th-ranked LNS was 17:26, which they’re sure to beat at the Nike Preview meet on 9/14.

Elkhorn won the girls title by one point over Elkhorn South. Maddie Yardley (EHS) won in 20:08, followed by Jaeden Bunda (Skutt) in 20:21, Lizzy Kramer (Pius), Ally Schilmoeller (ESHS) and Jaci Sievers (ESHS). Elkhorn was not rated in the pre-season rankings but jumped to 5th a few days after this meet. Despite the slim margin, Elkhorn South is not yet ranked in the coaches’ poll. Full Thorell meet results are here.

I attended the Augustana Twilight meet on Friday night. The Twilight meet is run in the same soccer complex as Nike Regionals and is effectively four laps in an ‘H’ shape – so it’s incredibly flat but also features 25+ 90-degree turns. Fremont was the only Nebraska team entered in the girls’ varsity race, and they did not disappoint. While sophomore Alea Hardin of Sioux Falls O’Gorman blazed to a 24-second win in 17:50, Fremont was equally impressive in winning the team title in a 25-team race over Sioux Falls Lincoln, 87 to 129. Elli Dahl led the Tigers with a 18:56 (16th), while the next five Fremont girls were 19:32 or faster. The average time for 2nd-ranked Fremont’s top five was 19:13, which will likely be a top mark for District seeding purposes.

The Augustana boys’ race featured teams from Fremont, Creighton Prep and Omaha Central as well as a few runners from Crofton and York. Andrew Lauer of Sioux Falls Lincoln blazed to a comfortable win in 15:18; Andrew’s older brother runs at Stanford, and Lincoln will be at the Millard South meet this Friday. Jack Schembari of Prep finished 5th in 16:02 for the top Nebraska finish, but was followed closely by Owen Wagner (7th, 16:04) and Carter Waters (11th, 16:10) of Fremont, Eric Seger-Pera of Omaha Central (12th, 16:23), and Connor Arens of Crofton (19th, 16:31). Lincoln won the title with 97 points, Fremont was 2nd with 106, Prep 4th with 137, and Central was 17th. Fremont runners were 7, 11, 28, 34, 39 and 40; Prep was 5, 22, 23, 46,56 and 59. Colin Mahoney, 20th at the 2018 State meet, did not run for Prep. Fremont jumped from 4th to 2nd this week while Prep remains 5th. Twilight results are here.

The six-team Titan Classic was held Saturday at Walnut Creek. Lincoln Southwest placed 5 in the top 8 to win the team title 22 to 43 over Papio South. Tyler Boyle of top-ranked LSW won the race in 16:19, just off the 16:18 that Adam Murphy of Millard West ran on the same course one week earlier. Trevor Acton of LSW was 2nd in 16:42, Dillon McNeill of PLS was 3rd in 16:40, and Thomas Oliver of Lincoln East was 4th in 16:57. LSW won handily despite not having Jack Nolley compete. Jack had an injury-filled junior year, so we hope that his senior year will be even better than his break-out sophomore season. I would not be surprised if Papio South trained through this meet based on their times and their focus on winning State, but after this weekend they fell from 1st to 6th in the coaches’ poll.

On the girls’ side, top-ranked Lincoln East won the title 22 points to 3rd-ranked Papio South’s 47. Freshman Berlyn Schutz won the race in 19:00, followed by Jenna Muma (LE) in 19:14, Olivia Rosenthal (PS) in 19:16, and freshman Kylie Muma (LE) and Kaylie Crews (PS) both in 19:17. As an 8th grader, Berlyn was the 6th fastest Nebraska girl at Nike regionals, ran 5:10 1600 indoors in mid-February and a 5:01 in May, and won the USATF age-group steeplechase national championship in July. While also in 8th grade, Kylie Muma ran the fastest Nebraska time (18:37) at Nike Regionals, topping Kaylie Crew’s time by a fraction of a second, as well as a 5:07 1600 in May. This fall’s State meet promises to be exciting with this young talent joining a packed group of experienced competitors. The boys and girls Titan Classic results are here.

The last meet of the weekend with a substantial Class A presence was the 10-team Burke Invite at Walnut Grove. Millard West won the team title in all four races and has a solid collection of freshman and sophomores to add their experienced runners. Adam Murphy won his second meet in the past week, posting a 16:31 on his home course. Lincoln Northeast’s Daniel Romary overcame a slight ankle injury earlier in the week to finish 2nd in 16:48, followed by Tony Miller (MW, 16:50), Felix Cruz (South, 16:53) and Logan Hauschild (Burke, 16:58). Millard West placed 6 in the first 12 and won the varsity title with 29 points, with Burke in second at 99. Of special note, after finishing 29th at State XC last year as a freshman, Daniel Romary didn’t compete in high school track. However, he had a full summer season, ending with a 51.8 400 and 1:55.4 800 (3rd place) at the USATF national championships in late July. I saw him run the 400, 800 and 1600 in February at the Concordia pre-season meets, and it will be fun to see how his mid-distance speed translates to cross country.

Nick Abdalla, who finished 7th at the 2018 State meet, has transferred from Omaha Bryan to Omaha South. He won the Burke JV race in 16:33, just off of Adam Murphy’s winning time in the varsity race. I don’t know if Nick will be eligible to run varsity this season, but he continues to be an amazing talent.

Allison Louthan won the girls’ title at Burke in 19:37, holding off Hannah Ray (LNE) by one second. Allison was 9th in State XC as a freshman but fell to 29th last year. Her times at the first two meets this year are over one minute faster than last year, so she’s off to a great start. Isabelle Hartnett (MW), who won the Class of Metro frosh title last week, was 3rd in 20:22, followed by Grace Bonsall (Kearney, 20:23) and Vanessa Neri Lara (OS, 20:27). Sixth-ranked Millard West edged 7th-ranked Kearney for the team title, 76 to 77. Hannah Godwin did not compete for Kearney, so Kearney appears to have solid depth. Complete Burke Invite results are here.

I’m between interviews so this may be the only time I provide this weekly summary, there were a lot of interesting races this past week. If you like the analysis, show me some love on Twitter and I’ll try to keep doing it.

As an aside, a number of the athletes referenced here are featured in articles on the NETC blog, including Liem Chot, Tyler Boyle, Trevor Acton, Jack Nolley, Hannah Ray, Ally Schilmoeller, Jenna Muma, Kaylie Crews and Olivia Rosenthal. Be sure to check them out.

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