By Russ Pankonin
The Imperial Republican
Every year, the McCook Invitational cross county meet serves as a good mid-season measuring stick for coaches to assess the Longhorn teams’ progress.
Based on the Longhorns’ efforts at McCook last Thursday, Head Coach Carl Zuege and Assistant Jonathan Beverly can’t help but be excited about the progress to this point, especially with the boys’ team.
The Longhorn boys placed two runners in the top 15 and a third at 17th to finish in third in a field that includes Class A and B schools.
What excites the coaches is the development of depth in the team thus far.
Senior Ryan Moline, who has been the team’s third or fourth runner thus far, led the team with a sixth place finish.
Coach Zuege said they worked the kids hard in practice before the McCook meet, getting them ready for the hills on the Heritage Hills GolfCourse.
That paid off for Moline. Finishing sixth in the McCook meet represents a major accomplishment, Zuege said.
It also means the team’s depth is improving.
Zuege said senior Holden Dreiling and sophomore Ike Maxwell didn’t have their best races at McCook. To have other runners step up in that situation bodes well for the team, Zuege noted.
In addition, it should be a real confidence booster for the team. “It’s nice to have six guys who can get it done when needed,” he said.
Junior Indy Smith earned a medal for his 12th place finish in the field. Freshman Will Kuenne was just two places out of the medals with a 17th place finish. Senior Stephen Welsh rounded out the scoring, finishing 21st.
Zuege said Smith had been battling some health issues and for him to come back and run well should build his confidence as well.
He added Kuenne’s 17th place finish was awesome for a freshman in this meet. The miles put in this summer are paying off.
Welsh continued to get stronger as the race went on, finishing 21st. Maxwell finished in 26th with Dreiling at 27th.
In the girls’ race, freshman Kaley Hauxwell and junior Alyssa Moreno continued to lead the team.
Hauxwell finished 21st with Moreno in 25th.
Zuege said freshman Kayla Schilke made a big jump at McCook as well, finishing 31st. She has been practicing well and ran a tremendous race, Zuege said, overcoming some knee issues.
Sophomore Rose Sullivan finished 40th in the field to help Chase County to a sixth place finish in the 10-team field.
Giovanna Welsh and Vianey Marquez finished 56th and 57th respectively.
In the jayvee boys’ race, sophomore Tagan Mays finished third, followed by juniors Caleb Bubak in fifth and Mason Meeske in sixth. Freshman Jayden German finished ninth.
Zuege said he was happy to see all four of them earn medals. “It shows we have 10 guys who can run.”
In the girls’ jayvee race, Amber Stumpff was 18th.
Junior high race
In the junior high race, eighth grader Landis Beverly won his third straight race in as many starts.
Nike Smith, Carissa Hill and Gabbi Krutsinger also competed in the junior high race but complete results were not available.
Dundy County, UNK on tap
The Longhorn teams will race twice in five days, starting with the Dundy County/Stratton meet today (Thursday) at the Benkelman Golf Club.
Then on Monday, the coaches will get another look on how the Longhorn teams stack up when they travel to Kearney for the University of Nebraska-Kearney meet.
The UNK meet is run on the Kearney Country Club course, which is the same course used for the state meet.
Zuege said this meet gives his team a feel for the layout of the state course.
After the UNK meet, only one regular season meet remains, that being the Perkins County/SPVA meet Oct. 9. The SPVA meet is held in conjunction with the Perkins County meet.
The course at Pheasant Run Golf Course north of Grant has also been selected as the course for the D-4 district cross country meet. As a result, the Longhorns will get to run on that course prior to the district meet.
McCook cross country invite
Boys’ varsity individual results—1st, Jachob Wiedeburg, Sidney, 18:02.00; 6th, Ryan Moline, CC, 19:20.00; 12th, Indy Smith, CC, 19:40.00; 17th, Will Kuenne, CC, 20:26.00; 21st, Stephen Welsh, CC, 20:45.00; 26th, Ike Maxwell, CC, 21:10.00; 27th, Holden Dreiling, CC, 21:14.00.
Boys’ varsity team scores—1st, Sidney, 20; 2nd, Holdrege, 54; 3rd, Chase County, 56 (won tie-breaker); 3rd, McCook, 56; 5th, Ogallala, 79; North Platte, 100; 7th, Dundy County/Stratton, 112; 8th, Decatur Community, 151; 9th, NP St. Pats, 190; 10th, Perkins County, 201; 11th, Hershey, 208; 12th, Sutherland Public, 208.
Boys’ JV individual results—1st, Mitchell Parish, NP, 21:03.00; 3rd, Tagan Mays, CC, 22:24.00; 5th, Caleb Bubak, CC, 22:40.00; 6th, Mason Meeske, CC, 22:41.00; 9th, Jayden German, CC, 23:54.00.
Girls’ varsity individual results— 1st, Madison Lambley, DC/S, 21:55.00; 21st, Kaley Hauxwell, CC, 25:47.00; 25th, Alyssa Moreno, CC, 26:34.00; 31st, Kayla Schilke, CC, 27:34.00; 40th, Rose Sullivan, CC, 30:22.00; 56th, Giovanna Welsh, CC, 36:33.00; 57th, Vianey Marquez, CC, 46:42.00.
Girls’ varsity team scores—1st, Sidney, 29; 2nd, Decatur Community, 34; 3rd, Holdrege, 51; 4th North Platte, 65; 5th, Perkins County, 100; 6th, Chase County, 102; 7th, Sutherland Public, 125; 8th, NP St. Pats, 130; 9th, McCook, 146; 10th, Hershey, 177.
Girls’ JV individual results—1st, Jami Flores, Sidney, 23:05.00; 18th, Amber Stumpff, CC, 42:21.00.
Junior results were not available.