Updated: Oct 14
Contributors: Nerd the Third and Nerd Senior
You got this
The highlight of the past week for our team was the junior high State cross country meet on Saturday. We posted a long article on Sunday that recapped the four races but that written description pales in comparison to the video that Nauj Nerd put together for the Championship races (the Open race video is here). You can click here to watch the video on our YouTube channel. I've watched the video several times, and the phrase "You got this" has stuck with me.
Whether you're a middle school kid who just wrapped us his season or you're a high school athlete running Districts later today, you got this.
No room for fear or doubt
Each fall and spring before Districts I post what's become one of our most-read articles, "No Room for Fear or Doubt." I highly it recommend for all high school kids who are anxious about the next nine days.
Find your mantra. Find your peace. Leave no room in your heart for fear our doubt.
After a busy Saturday, we were kind of hoping to relax until Districts on Thursday but Mother Nature had other plans. We're pleased that most of the races have been moved to Wednesday, but that last-minute change does impact our coverage. We likely won't make it to Kearney for the two Class A Districts there, and some early-day starts on Wednesday may be problematic since most of us have jobs or classes. We'll do our best to get to as many locations as we can, but getting to eight sites no longer seems possible. If you unsure of the changes to the District meets, you can check our results page for what we believe are accurate updates on days and times.
If you're a newbie to Districts, here's what you need to know. The top three teams at each District will qualify for State, and the top 15 individuals at each District also qualify and earn medals. In some Districts it's quite possible that a strong team could have their entire team in the top 15, and that means there are fewer individual spots up for grabs for the athletes from non-qualifying teams. We've debated in past Nerdsletters whether the qualifying rules should be changed so that, for example, at each Class A District there would be three qualifying teams plus an additional five or ten individual qualifiers who aren't on the top-three teams. However, that isn't the rule now, so the best option is to finish in the top 15 and then hope your team also qualifies.
There are no extra 'at-large' qualifiers in cross country like there are in track and field, so the field limit is 12 Class A and B teams, 15 Class C teams and 18 Class D teams and the top 15 finishers at each District race. The NSAA's cross country webpage will eventually link the results from all 19 Districts at https://nsaahome.org/cross-country/.
One more day
Nauj Nerd is thinking of posting a video the day before State with some of our best clips from the season. Towards the end of the video he wants to have a bunch of runners and coaches say “one more day”. If you want to be apart of the project, just DM a video of you saying that to cnauj.prod on Instagram. The submission deadline is this Friday, 10/13.
Results and rankings
Last week's meets were mostly conference championships. Some teams view conference titles as a huge deal, while other teams see conference week as a good time to rest athletes who are ill or a bit banged up. When we reviewed results last week, we saw a number of top athletes from Sidney, Crofton, Scotus and other schools who didn't race. We're not criticizing; it's a good idea for kids who need a little rest or time to heal.
Nerd Junior and Nerd Senior view the conference results differently in terms of rankings. Nerd Junior is responsible for Class A rankings and reflected head-to-head conference matchups in this week's rankings. Nerd Senior is responsible for Classes B-D and gives less weight to conference results and far more to results from two weeks ago at UNK. While a few conferences had deep fields (Metro, HAC, EMC), we saw a number of smaller meets where it was clear the top athletes weren't pushed.
You can find the results for 20+ meets on the Results tab at https://www.preprunningnerd.com/xcresults.
You can find rankings for this week - and the entire season - at https://www.preprunningnerd.com/rankings.
The Nerd team put out some beautiful work last week and in such large quantities that I can't keep up. As of Monday night we had posted albums from Centennial (Omaha Concordia), East Husker (Pender), Trailblazer (Nebraska City), SPVA (Grant), LouPlatte (Centura), Niobrara Valley (Summerland) and OPS Davis, and we were in the middle of uploading photos for Metros and HAC. Nerd Senior and Nerd Dawg shot the junior high State meet but both have a bit of a backlog right now, so it may be this weekend before you start to see those photos.
You can find all of our albums at https://www.facebook.com/PrepRunningNerd/photos_albums. Here are a few shots from last week:
Week ending 10/8/23
Peyton Paxton (Mullen), 20:58
Carter Hohlen (Lincoln Christian), 17:35
Gianna Frasher (Aquinas Catholic), 21:03
Jobjosiah Muthiani (Freeman),17:05
Owen Ramaekers (Palmyra), 17:30
Liston Crotty (Auburn), 19:52
Ellyan Becker (Auburn), 20:37
Riley Boonstra (Norris), 16:32
Austin Carrera (Hastings), 16:34
Ethan Walters (Elkhorn), 16:56
Eli Van Brocklin (Norris), 16:58
Kendall Zavala (Norris), 19:03
Ellie Thomas (Norris), 19:33
Ella Ford (Elk North), 19:37
Leah Robinson (Elk North), 19:59
Hailley Finkner (Norris), 20:09
This meet featured four ranked boys and nine ranked girls. Riley Boonstra remains undefeated against Class B opponents this year but Austin Carrera has ran well all season. On the girls side, Kendall Zavala won her 4th meet of the season, finishing well ahead of the field. Both Norris and Elkhorn North should coast through Districts this week before matching up again at State.
Anna Fitzgerald (Doniphan-Trumbull), 20:41
Nolan May (Arlington), 17:06
Mason Houghton (Syracuse), 17:17
William Dennis (Fort Calhoun), 17:17
Hailey O’Daniel (Arlington), 20:28
Raeann Massey (Fort Calhoun), 20:56
Avery Carter (Milford), 16:58
Gavin Dunlap (Milford), 17:07
Lilly Kenning (Milford), 20:25
Mason McGreer (Perkins County), 16:28
Jarrett Miles (NP St. Pat’s), 16:53
Elijah Goodell (Perkins County), 16:54
Haven Hauxwell (Chase County), 17:21
Jarrett Miles and Elijah Goodell have been one-upping each other throughout the year, with Miles coming from behind to edge Goodell at the line. McGreer has been absolutely dominant this season, throw in Jacob Swanson with these three guys and there should be a battle for the top four spots in Class D.
Jacob Swanson (Nebraska Christian), 17:30
Hannah Swanson (Nebraska Christian), 21:00
Another meet, another Swanson sweep, and both will be favored at the D-4 District meet. I'm sure we've had other siblings in recent years who have been consistently winning the same meets; however, I'm struggling to come up with someone right now.
Juan Gonzalez (Fremont), 15:40
Isaac Ochoa (Norfolk), 15:48
Max Myers (LSW), 15:55
Wes Pleskac (Fremont), 16:03
Easton Zastrow (LNS), 16:10
David Krier (Pius), 16:12
Joe Dustin (Pius), 16:13
Mia Murray (LE), 18:34
Peyton Svehla (LE), 19:06
Abigail Burger (Kearney), 19:14
Chloe Hemmer (Fremont), 19:37
Hope Riedel (LNS), 19:37
Sadie Yager (LE), 19:43
Ella Herzberg (LE), 19:53
Syndey Wendt (Lincoln), 19:56
The HAC and Metro meets had the largest concentration of Class A teams last week. With the top three boys at HAC under 16:00 on the State course, is it possible that we could see ten boys break that benchmark at State?
On the girls side, Mia Murray notched another drama-free race while dipping well under 19:00... again. Peyton Svehla ran exceptionally well and was rewarded by Nerd Junior with a move up the rankings. Lincoln East had four of the top seven and seems ready to nab another State title.
Tommy Rice (Skutt), 15:55
Jack Wade (Skutt), 16:31
Gus Lampe (Roncalli), 16:39
Lincoln Wolfe (Skutt), 16:50
Michael Rodgers (Mt. Michael), 16:53
Gabi Westfall (Skutt), 19:55
Lorena Valdivia (South Sioux City), 20:05
Maggie Lickteig (Duchesne), 20:16
Cece Kramper (Duchesne), 20:48
Tommy Rice took home the RCC title over a field that included Class C #1 Gus Lampe. Rice missed the Platte River Rumble with an illness but has gotten better almost every week since then. The girls' race was a preview of the B-1 District where Omaha Skutt and Duchesne will be battling with Elkhorn for the 2nd and 3rd qualifying spots. We'll go out on a limb and say that Elkhorn North has that District title locked up.
AJ Raszler (Platteview), 16:33
Elijah Dix (Plattsmouth), 16:45
Mallory Robbins (Plattsmouth), 20:04
Lydia Stewart (Platteview), 20:24
Brooklyn Kermmoade (Platteview), 20:58
Ranked runners AJ Raszler and Elijah Dix were the best in the field and they ran together for about 4000 meters before Raszler pulled away. Similarly, Mallory Robbins let Lydia Stewart be the pacemaker for much of the race before pulling away. I watched Robbins run her first 5k six or seven weeks ago and it's clear that she's learned quite a bit this season in terms of racing strategy.
As an aside, I was also impressed by freshmen Ellie Warford (Wahoo, 4th) as well as Esten Kohl (3rd) and Brooklyn Kermmoade (3rd), both from Platteview.
Tyler Hetz (Gothenburg), 16:09
Parker Graves (Gothenburg), 16:26
Samuel Cederburg (Minden), 16:37
Nikolas Schrock (Holdrege), 16:42
Ethan Olsen (Gothenburg), 16:43
Lindee Henning (Ogallala), 18:47
Katherine Kerrigan (Ainsworth), 19:31
Emma Cappel (McCook), 19:40
Ashlyn Schauda (Broken Bow), 20:28
Tyler Hetz and Gothenburg are really good. Lindee Henning is outstanding.
Denny Chapman (Prep), 15:51
Jack Witte (MW), 15:56
Braden Lofquest (Gretna East), 16:19
Dalton Heller (MS), 16:22
Eli Jones (Prep), 16:33
Porter Bickley (MW), 16:34
Sergio Martinez (Omaha South), 16:36
Dylan Lender (MS), 16:38
Jayden Wall (Westside), 16:42
Stella Miner (Westside), 19:05
Claire White (Westside), 19:09
Kate Ebmeier (MW), 19:41
Kaitlyn Swartz (Papio South), 19:46
Gracie Suppes (Papio), 19:55
Kara Muller (BW), 19:59
Nerd Junior and Nerd Senior disagree about whether conference meets are predictors of State results. Senior argues that coaches of top runners will often train through a conference meet while Junior thinks that the top athletes run to win at these meets. Chapman edged Witte, just as he did on the same course at Class of Metro, and Chapman cut eight seconds off his August time. Lofquest cut 11 seconds off his Class of Metro time. Eli Jones was the surprise of the meet in finishing 5th.
On the girls side, the usual contenders ran well. Miner and White ran together for much of the race, as they always do, and Kate Ebmeier was a surprising third.
East Husker Conference:
Dawson Meyer (Oakland-Craig), 17:15
Emma Williams (North Bend Central), 20:23
Hadley Walsh (Pender), 20:31
Alea Rasmussen (Wisner-Pilger), 20:40
Dawson Meyer and Emma Williams have been running well the last four weeks. Meyer has been ranked the last three weeks while Williams is on the cusp of being ranked. Look for both to do well at State. We believe this is the first time that Hadley Walsh has been the top scorer for the top-ranked Pender team that goes four deep.
Ethan Smith (Northwest), 16:41
Isac Portillo-Munoz (Lexington), 16:41
Lazaro Adame (Lexington), 16:50
Miguel Cruz (Lexington), 16:55
Herson Rodriguez (Lexington), 17:05
Kassidy Stuckey (York), 18:30
Tessa Greisen (Seward), 19:25
Anna Perdue (York), 19:59
The season is almost over but here's some great news: we get three more years of Ethan Smith and Isac Portillo-Munoz racing each other. Lexington showed its depth and should be fresh for State. Kassidy Stuckey is still running well and her freshman teammate Annah Perdue keeps improving.
Axton Stone (Gering), 16:50
Luke Tegtmeier (North Platte), 17:20
PRR and Blazing Tiger
The second annual collegiate Platte River Rumble will be held this Friday, October 13 at Mahoney State Park starting at 1:00 p.m. with the women's race. Participating teams include hosts UNO and Creighton, Nebraska, Marquette, South Dakota State second team, UNK second team, Bellevue, Benedictine, Buena Vista, Cloud County, Iowa Western and Peru State. Due to the smaller size of the meet, parking is available on site by with an annual or daily park pass.
The Blazing Tiger NAIA meet will be held on Saturday, October 21 at Mahoney State Park. The women's field will include the #1, #3, #6, #7, #8, #15 and #27 ranked teams in the NAIA. On the men's side the field will include #4, #5, #7, #13, #15, #24 and #29 ranked teams. Southern Oregon, College of Idaho, and Taylor (IN), will be making the trip. Because the GPAC is such a great conference, there has been muted criticism that Nebraska teams don't race against strong teams from other regions prior to the national meet. The Blazing Tiger meet certainly addresses that issue.
Live the Nerd lifestyle
We introduced the Nerd clothing line in Spring 2022 as a joke, and then ordered a ton of t-shirts last fall that are still cluttering up Fashion Nerd's old bedroom. She can't visit until we sell all of the t-shirts, so do the Nerd a solid and take a look at our store at https://www.preprunningnerd.com/shop.
Like this coverage of Nebraska high school distance running? There's more of this at www.preprunningnerd.com. Check out the Blog tab for our frequent stories and and the Results tab for every Nebraska high school race we can find. Once the season starts, we'll also rank the top 15 athletes in each Class at the Rankings tab. If you want to see meet photos or just need to kill a few hours on social media, follow us on Twitter and Instagram @PrepRunningNerd or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/preprunningnerd.
Finally, if you think runners, jumpers and throwers are the best things on earth, you'll enjoy our two most popular articles. In 2018 we published "The Runner with the Broken Heart" about a high school boy who finished last in nearly every race he ran. In 2022 we published, "The Fall and Rise of Emmett Hassenstab," a story about a high school triple jumper who became a quadrapalegic after a swimming accident.