KEARNEY - Hartington-Newcastle cross country sent four runners down to the state championship race in Kearney on Friday afternoon.
Brayden Kathol, Dagen Joachimsen, Sara Reifenrath, and Sara Burbach represented the Wildcats well, but did not quite meet the goals they set for themselves.
Sara Reifenrath was closest to medaling with a 16th place finish. She ran the five kilometer race in 21:11.1 and was five seconds behind the 15th place runner who earned the last medalist place for the girls.
I wish I could have gotten a place higher and medaled, but I ran better than I thought,” said Reifenrath I wasn’t sure I could even get close to medaling. I wanted to though so I was really proud at how I did.”
Sara Burbach was 30 spots behind Reifenrath, running a 22:41.7 to come in 46th place. It was the second time the sophomore had ran at State, and she said the experience helped her prepare for the race.
“It was not as nerve-wracking because I had already been there,” said Brubach. “I knew what to expect, but it was even more exciting because this was the second time that I got to do it.”
The boys performed well too, with Kathol coming in 28th place with a time of 18:20.9. Kathol said his goal was to run under a 17:30 but Kearney’s course was more difficult and he was happy after looking at everyone’s times.
“I was fairly impressed and happy with my time.”
He also said having Joachimsen there was a benefit as the two prepared for the race.
“I’m glad I didn’t have to go down to State alone. That would have been rough warming up by yourself is just not the same. It is good to have someone to push you.”
Joachimsen had a rough go down in Kearney, finishing in 60th place. Having battled illness through the fall, Jachimsen said the sudden warm temperatures affected his performance.
“I think the weather has been a kind of big factor,” said Joachimsen. “In the past couple of weeks it has been kind of cold and then down at State it was a lot warmer than what it has been.”
None of the four will be graduating this Spring, and all four seemed anxious when looking ahead to track in the Spring and cross country next Fall. The boys team will have a lot of potential with three eighth grade runners — Carson Noecker, Carson Arens, and Alan Santiago — joining the team after strong performances in junior high.
“Well it is looking pretty promising for State [next year]. We are looking pretty good right now,” said Kathol. “Everyone PR’ed and everyone on varsity was under 19 minutes at districts. It is really impressive if we can have that for next years District and bring a couple more boys with us. I guarantee we will be State-worthy.”
For the girls, they just need one more runner to complete a team that already has three strong runners in Reifenrath, Burbach, and Jayda Bernecker.
“I think if we get a team, and I think we have some people that are willing to do it, that we can run really well and maybe even win Districts,” said Reifenrath. “I think we will do well and hopefully can all run down at State.”
28 Brayden Kathol 18:20.9
60 Dagen Joachimsen 19:04.4
16 Sara Reifenrath 21:11.1
46 Sara Burbach 22:41.7
To read more please log in or subscribe to the digital edition https://etypeservices.com/Northeast%20Nebraska%20News%20CompanyID379/