KEARNEY — Kearney Catholic’s girls cross country overcame the heat to place third in the Class C team standings at the University of Nebraska at Kearney Invitational at the Kearney Country Club.
Junior Grace Oberg placed 11th to lead the Stars, who had 114 points and finished behind winner Columbus Scotus, who had 55 points, and runner-up Milford on Monday afternoon.
Kearney Catholic senior Nicole Messbarger was nearly 30 seconds behind Oberg and placed 18th. Senior Kelsey Borowski also posted a top-30 finish for the Stars.
"It kind of gives us a heads up that we could possibly do really well at state and place," said Oberg on the Stars’ third-place result.
With the temperature hovering in the low-90s, the individual race times were negatively impacted. Oberg ran the race in 22 minutes, 22.1 seconds, which was about 40 seconds worse than her time last year when she placed 12th.
The time difference from last year to Monday’s race was common for most of the runners. Oberg was pleased with how she overcame the heat to post a top-15 finish and lead the Stars to a top-three result, she said.
Mitchell Senior Regan Hodsden won the race with a time of 21:23.3. Oberg was about 58 seconds behind Hodsden.
"It was pretty difficult because it was really hot, and I’m struggling with my back right now," Oberg said. "But I pushed through and finished."
The state cross country meet, which also occurs at the Kearney Country Club, is on Oct. 25. Last season, Oberg was the Stars’ top finisher. She completed the state meet in 20:54.26 for a 12th-place finish. Her time was only five seconds away from earning a top-seven finish.
Oberg believes the UNK Invitational is a strong measuring stick for the state meet. She hopes to build on the performance and be at 100 percent for the state event in about three weeks.
"It gives me in a way know how state is going to turn out because I place similar here as I do at state," Oberg said.
Minden freshman Jessie Hurt was the top finisher from the Hub Territory, placing sixth with a time of 21:56. Holdrege senior Kenzie Hurlbert also recorded a top-10 mark, as she completed the course in 22:07.5 for eighth.
Class C Girls Team Results
1, Columbus Scotus 55; 2, Milford 107; Kearney Catholic 114; 4, North Bend Central 132; 5, Aurora 134; 6, Hartington-Newcastle 147; 7, Lincoln Christian 153; 8, Mitchell 186; 9, Fort Calhoun 192; 11, Wayne 197; 12, Auburn 198; 13, Douglas County West 215; 14, Minden 219; 15, Chase County 247; 16, O’Neill 250; 17, Gothenburg 255; 18, Holdrege 289; 19, Sidney 290; 20, Conestoga 294; 21, Ashland-Greenwood 298; 22, Central City 330; 23, Fairbury 331; 24, Elm Creek 337; 25, Broken Bow 414; 26, Ogallala 444; 27, South Central 476.
Top-10 Area Finishers
1, Regan Hodsden, Mitchell, 21:23.3; 6, Jessie Hurt, Minden, 21:56.0; 8, Kenzie Hurlbert, Holdrege, 22:07.5; 11, Grace Oberg, KCHS, 22:21.1; 18, Nicole Messbarger, KCHS, 22:53.7; 26, Kelsey Borowski, KCHS, 23:29.5; 51, Hannah Keim, Elm Creek, 24:28.4; 60, Abby Rehtus, Minden, 24:45.7; 62, Lacy Biltoft, Holdrege, 24:52.3; 67, Jaden Donley, Minden, 25:25.1; 73, Addison Pierzina, KCHS, 25:48.5.