KEARNEY — Lincoln High, with four in the top 12, claimed the girls team title at the Kearney High Cross Country Invitational run Friday at Meadowlark Hills Golf Course.
Lexington’s boys, with four in the top 11, locked up the boys’ team championship.
Kearney High’s girls finished second, four points behind the Links. The Bearcat boys ran fourth.
“We had a good day,” said Kearney girls coach Pat McFadden. “Right now ... we’re working on evolving our race and running what we need to do to be where we want to be. And we still have some things to do.
“We have some confidence to gain. We have some experience to gain. And we’ve got some runners to gain.”
The main runner to gain is No. 1 runner Hannah Godwin, who didn’t run Friday because of injury. McFadden said he hopes she’ll be back next week.
Even without Godwin, the Bearcats had a presence at the front of the race. Grace Bonsall chased Lincoln Northeast’s Hannah Ray from start to finish. Ray pulled away at the end, winning by 54 seconds. Bonsall was 17 seconds ahead of the third-place finisher, Kennedy Bartee of Lincoln High.
McFadden said Bonsall ran a solid race, hitting her marks throughout the race. Kearney’s second and third finishers, Kayla Poggioli and Emma Bond finished eighth and ninth.
Beatrice Lebsack placed 13th and Maggie Trenkle 15th, giving the Bearcats five medalists.
“I think, once we get out there as a full team, we’ll be formidable,” McFadden said.
Lexington coach Sam Jilka didn’t expect his boys team to contend for the title after hosting its own invitational on Tuesday. But his team surprised him.
“We ran better (than Tuesday). But our kids were excited. We look forward to it because it is Class A and we want to run against tough competition,” Jilka said.
North Platte’s Evan Caudy won the 5-kilometer race in 16 minutes, 43.07 seconds. Lincoln Northeast’s Daniel Romary was just more than a second behind. Grand Island’s Jan and Eder Garcia finished third and fourth.
Alexis Hernandez led Lexington efforts with a fifth-place finish, followed by Cyrus Rhea in sixth and Yanni Vasquez eighth. Rhea has developed his cross country skills in the past year.
“It’s all coming together for him,” Jilka said. “He’s a good kid, a hard-working kid, a coachable kid.”
At Tuesday’s race Rhea went out with the lead pack, fell back but ended up winning.
“That’s what we want him to do, to realize he does have the ability. He’s really pushed Alexis and Yanni and they’re slowly getting back into the shape they need to be in,” Jilka said.
Cisco Rivas led KHS boys, finishing between Rhea and Vasquez. The Bearcats’ Micah Torres was 16th while Matthew Dahlke was 18th and Aranim Louis 24th.
Kearney is back in action Thursday at the Lincoln Invitational.
n KHS Invitational
1, Lincoln High 43. 2, Kearney 47. 3, Lexington 95. 4, Grand Island 98. 5, North Platte 107. 6, Lincoln Northeast 119,
Top 15 Individuals
1, Hannah Ray, LNE, 19:24. 2, Grace Bonsall, KHS, 20:18. 3, Kennedy Bartee, LH, 20:35. 4, Olivia DiLillo, LH, 21:00. 5, McKenna Marsh, GI, 21:16. 6, Zarah Blaesi, NP, 21:16. 7, Taylor Kruse, LH, 21:17. 8, Kayla Poggioli, KHS, 21:19. 9, Emma Bond, KHS, 21:20. 10, Kayla Barrrios, LEX, 21:30. 11, Aubry Pikop, GI, 21:31. 12, Lola Agena, LH, 21:35. 13, Beatrice Lebasck, KHS, 21:43. 14, Kennadi Ureste, LEX, 21:57. 15, Maggie Trenle, KHS, 21:59.
1, Lexington 53. 2, Grand Island 58. 3, North Platte 65. 4, Kearney 95. 5, Lincoln Northeast 98. 6, Lincoln High 137.
Top 15 Individuals
1, Evan Caudy, NP, 16:43. 2, Daniel Romary, LNE, 16:44. 3, Juan Garcia, GI, 16:52. 4, Eder Garcia, GI, 17:04. 5, Alexis Hernandez, LEX, 17:98. 6, Cyrus Rhea, LEX, 17:16. 7, Cisco Rivas, KHS, 17:22. 8, Yanni Vasquez, LEX, 17:25. 9, Joel Bradley, NP, 17:29. 10, Jackson McNesse, LH, 17:45. 11, Sean Worthman, LEX, 17:54. 12, Gage Long, GI, 17:56. 13, Tom Moss, NP, 17:59. 14, Tate Le, LNE, 18:02. 15, Zander Beard, LNE, 18:10.