Grace Bonsall

Kearney High’s Grace Bonsall, left, leads a group of runners during the Heartland Athletic Conference cross country meet Thursday at the Kearney Country Club. Bonsall finished ninth.

KEARNEY — The Kearney High girls finished fifth and the boys ninth at the frigid Heartland Athletic Conference cross country championships Thursday at the Kearney Country Club.

With wind chill dipping to about 20 degrees, the Bearcats had one top 15 finisher in Grace Bonsall, who was ninth in the girls race.

“This was one of Grace’s fastest times on this course. She ran 19:44 ... which is pretty darn good. I’m happy, happy for her,” KHS coach Pat McFadden said.

The weather — cold, cloudy and windy — was completely opposite of the conditions the runners faced two weeks ago at the University of Nebraska at Kearney Invitational where temperatures reached 90 degrees.

“I tell you what, cross country runners are tough,” McFadden said. “This is a day that a lot of people were thinking we weren’t going to have it just because of the cold and wind. The deciding factor was, I don’t think we had as much rain as other places ... but it still made it pretty tough, tough conditions to run.”

In several ways, it was an historic meet. In the boys team race, Lincoln Southwest won the team title for the first time in school history and in the process, ended an 18-year championship run by Fremont, which settled for second.

Lincoln East runners swept the individual titles with Thomas Oliver winning his first-ever gold medal and freshman Berlyn Schutz winning her sixth meet in six tries. The East girls, with three in the top five, scored 33 points to runner-up Fremont’s 50. Lincoln Southwest and Lincoln Pius X followed the Tigers in front of Kearney.

“This is the premier conference in the state of Nebraska,” McFadden said. “Fremont came in ranked No. 1, Lincoln East No. 2, Lincoln Southwest is ranked No. 4. I think we were ranked No. 9 — I don’t see why we were No. 9. We should have been higher than that. But hey, that’s OK — but Pius is ranked sixth, so you’ve got a lot of really good teams here.”

Kearney had a solid “pack” finish with its second through ninth runners — Beatrice Lebsack, Emma Bond, Emma Bonsall, Kayla Poggioli, Maggie Trenkle, Acacia Rivas, Hannah Godwin and Lauren Kohtz— finishing in a 30-second group. Godwin, who started the year as Kearney’s No. 1 runner, was the second Bearcat to finish but it was her first race after a long absence because of injury. She was designated as a junior varsity runner.

“We talked to her about this being a run instead of a race. (We told her to) just get out, enjoy being healthy and that’s what she did,” McFadden said. “When we get Hannah back ... I still think we’re going to be further up there than a lot of people realize.”

For Kearney High’s boys, Cisco Rivas led the way with a 31st-place finish. Micah Torres was 42nd.

n Heartland Athletic Conf.


Team Scores

1, Lincoln East 33. 2, Fremont 50. 3, Lincoln Southwest 111. 4, Lincoln Pius X 117. 5, Kearney 180. 6, Lincoln Southeast 193. 7, Lincoln High 197. 8, Lincoln North Star 210. 9, Norfolk 228. 10, Grand Island 259. 11, Lincoln Northwest 266.

Top 10 Individuals

1, Berlyn Schutz, LE, 18:33. 2, Elli Dahl, FRE, 18:55. 3, Brianna Rinn, LSE, 19:05. 4, Kylie Muma, LE, 19:07. 5, Jenna Muma, LE, 19:08. 6, Lizzy Kramer, LPX, 19:08. 7, Mara Hemmer, FRE, 19:17. 8, Hannah Ray, LNE, 19:17. 9, Grace Bonsall, KHS, 19:44. 10, Mia Wagner, FRE, 19:51.

Other KHS Varsity

38, Beatrice Lebsack 21:15. 43, Emma Bond 21:17. 44, Emma Bonsall 21:17. 46, Kayla Poggioli 21:21. 50, Maggie Trenkle 21:37. 52, Acacia Rivas 21:57.


Team Scores

1, Lincoln Southwest 33. 2, Fremont 71. 3, Lincoln East 102. 4, Grand island 104. 5, Lincoln North Star 107. 6, Lincoln Pius X 147. 7, Lincoln Northeast 206. 8, Norfolk 224. 9, Kearney 253. 10, Lincoln Southeast 258. 11, Lincoln High 261.

Top 10 Individuals

1, Thomas Oliver, LE, 15:59. 2, Tyler Boyle, LSW, 16:04. 3, Owen Wagner, FRE, 16:26. 4, Liem Chot, LNS, 16:31. 5, Gavin Skorup, LPX, 16:33. 6, Trevor Acton, LSW, 16:35. 7, Grant Reid, LSW, 16:43. 8, Drew Snyder, LSW, 16:44. 9, Daniel Pierce, LNS, 16:46. 10, Jack Nolley, LSW, 16:47.

KHS Varsity

31, Cisco Rivas 17:28. 42, Micah Torres 17:47. 57, Sam Lewis 18:14. 58, Trapper Fryda 18:17. 65, Cade Haffener 18:27. 71, Matthew Dahlke 18:38. 74, Aranim Louis 18:45.

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