KEARNEY — Kearney High had high hopes entering the Nebraska State Cross Country Meet on Friday afternoon.
It was just the second race this season the Bearcats had a completely healthy roster, and coach Pat McFadden hoped his team could outdo their 10th place ranking in the Class A coaches ratings.
Even with star junior runner Hannah Godwin back, the Bearcats didn’t run like they envisioned. They placed last in the 12-team girls Class A race at the Kearney Country Club with 251 points.
They were 32 points from a top-10 finish and significantly behind first-place Lincoln East, who had 39 points.
"We talked about that anytime you have your toe on the line, all we can do is the best we can do that day," McFadden said. "Our girls did that. We have nothing to hold our heads down about."
The Bearcats hoped Godwin could replicate her first two seasons when she placed 12th as a freshman and fourth last year. She didn’t have that same success Friday, however.
Godwin missed most of the season with a back injury and didn’t compete in her first varsity race until last week’s district race. On Friday, Godwin placed 30th with a time of 19 minutes, 51.3 seconds, which was just over 30 seconds worse than her time last year.
"(She gave) everything she had," McFadden said. "She’s a competitor and with the delay with her being able to practice and doing the things she normally is able to do. She did awesome. She’s a great athlete."
McFadden applauded Godwin’s effort, especially with missing most of the season, including the UNK Invitational, which is held annually at the Kearney Country Club.
"Just being able to compete where she was at today was outstanding," McFadden said. "She’s a hard person to deny. She has that motor inside that puts her in a league by herself."
Senior Grace Bonsall started strong but didn’t finish the race like she hoped. After placing 26th at last year’s state race and 15th at this year’s UNK Invitational, Bonsall posted a better time than both those events with a mark of 20:10.96 but placed 41st.
Emma Bond placed 72nd, Beatrice Lebsack 78th and Kayla Anne Poggioli 85th for the Bearcats.
"Grace went out and had a great first couple kilometers and just unfortunately couldn’t hold it and started slowing down," McFadden said. "As people start passing you, it’s just really hard. She gave it everything she had."