Updated: Sep 10, 2021
Contributor: The Nerd
We're watching the following meets this week and heck, we may even attend a few of them:
Thurs, 9/9, Fremont Invite at Valley View golf course
Girls varsity at 5:00, boys varsity at 5:55, JV starts at 3:30
Teams: Bennington, Columbus, Elkhorn, Elkhorn South, Omaha Northwest, Papio, South Sioux City.
Preview: This is probably the fastest course in Nebraska, and there will be star power to push the pace. On the girls side, Elkhorn South's Jaci Sievers is coming off a big win at the Thorell Invite and will face off against Elli Dahl, the 2019 XC State champ and the 2021 1600 and 3200 State champ. Lucy Dillon and Maris Dahl are the other two Class A ranked runners in the field. The field also includes two ranked runners from Class B - #3 Gabriella Calderon from Bennington and #14 Taylor Grasz from Elkhorn.
On the boys side, we expect blazing fast times and a pack of four or five boys at two miles. Top-ranked Gabe Hinrichs of Elkhorn South faces off against four ranked Fremont boys included #2 Carter Waters, Braden Taylor, Nolan Miller and Aaron Ladd. In addition, Mesuidi Ejerso of South Sioux City is the top-ranked runner in Class B, and Luke Johnson of Elkhorn South has been running strong.
Thursday, 9/9, Pius Invite at Pioneer's Park
Races begin at 4:00.
Teams: Elkhorn North, Gretna, Lincoln Lutheran, Lincoln East JV, Lincoln Pius, Norris, Waverly.
Preview: This is a smaller meet that includes a few ranked runners, including Colby Erdkamp, Evan Liewer, Isabella Bricker and Addy Walker from Gretna, Britt Prince and just-outside-the-rankings Ella Ford from Class B Elkhorn North, and Kendall Zavala, Ellie Thomas and Laci Havlat from Class B Norris. Michael Grigsby and Jack Sinnot of Elkhorn North are just outside the rankings. Lincoln Pius has a good depth on the girls team but we see Gretna winning, with Pius and Elkhorn North close behind. For the boys, Gretna's team depth should carry the day.
Friday, 9/10, Millard South Invite at Walnut Grove Park
Girls varsity at 5:00, boys varsity at 5:30, JV starts at 3:30
Teams: Creighton Prep, Lincoln East, Lincoln Southeast, Lincoln Southwest, Millard South, Millard North, Millard West, Omaha Westside, Papio South, Omaha Marian, Lawrence Free State, Sioux Falls Lincoln.
Preview: For the girls, we see at least six ranked girls in the field, led by #2 Bri Rinn of LSW, #4 Claire White of Westside and newcomer #5 Mia Murray of Lincoln East. They're joined by Isabelle Hartnett of Millard West, Reese Young-Oestmann of Westside and Deavion Deleon of Papio South. Just outside the rankings are Kaitlyn Swartz of Papio South, Sydney Beaudin of Millard West, Molly Caruso of Millard North, Noelle Abels of Westside, Izzy Apel of Lincoln East and Lucy Gerraughty of Omaha Marian. If I've counted correctly, there are six ranked teams at this meet.
The boys field included ranked Seth Fey, Sam Kirchner and Piercze Marshall of Millard West and a lot of boys just outside the top 15. They include Joe Volkmer of Lincoln East, Denny Chapman of Creighton Prep, Jack Witte and Porter Bickley of Millard West, Max Myers of LSW and John Fiedler of Papio South.
Kearney High Invite, 9/10, Meadowlark Golf Course
JV races appear to start at 3:00
Teams: Kearney, Grand Island, North Platte, Lincoln Northeast, Holdrege, Bellevue West, Lincoln High, and Lexington
Preview: This fast course should provide fireworks with a face-off between #9 Juan Garcia of GI, #5 Daniel Romary of LNE and #6 Evan Caudy of North Platte. In addition, the Lexington boys are the #2 team in Class B and should vie for the team title. For the girls, #10 Abigail Burger (a Kearney freshman), #11 Zarah Blaesi of North Platte and #12 Kara Muller of Bellevue West are the three ranked runners, but North Platte's Marissa Holm and Evelyn Blaesi as well as Kearney's Emma Bonsall are just outside the rankings.
Saturday, 9/11, Omaha Central Invite at Walnut Grove Park
Girls varsity at 9:40, boys varsity at 10:15, JV starts at 8:30
Teams: Bellevue East, Omaha Bryan, Omaha Benson, Omaha Central, Omaha North, Lincoln North Star, Duchesne, Omaha Skutt, Norfolk, Mercy, Omaha Burke.
Preview: This meet conflicts with the ACT so we know a few juniors and seniors will be missing. While there is a little less star power here, Isaac Ochoa of Norfolk and Grant Wasserman of LNS should put on a good show. The Skutt boys bring two ranked boys, #9 Jack Wade and #11 Tommy Rice, while #8 Alex Rice will be having fun with the ACT that morning, and Skutt and LNS are likely to battle for the boys title. Three runners ranked in Class B, Evan Wentz of Duchesne and Gabi Westfall and Anika Richards of Skutt, face off in a showdown of River Cities Conference foes. We expect these two Class B teams to also vie for the girls title.
Need a few more reasons to go to this meet? Walnut Grove is beautiful on a cool Saturday morning, and it would be great to support all of these OPS schools who are finally racing again after a two-year break. On top of that, it's a chance to see the cool new Omaha North girls uniforms that feature the Omaha downtown skyline.