PENDER — The David City Aquinas boys and the Oakland-Craig girls won district cross country titles here at Twin Creeks Golf Course on Thursday evening.
Aquinas outran Bancroft-Rosalie/Lyons-Decatur Northeast 33-40 while Stanton grabbed the other team spot at next week’s state meet in Kearney after scoring 62 points as a team.
The Monarchs had runners finish first, third, 14th and 15th for their 33-point total, but Stanton and BRLD had two and three runners in the top 15, respectively.
The Mustangs had runner-up finisher Abe Larson, who completed the course in 17 minutes, 13.80 seconds while teammate Kolter Van Pelt was fourth in 17:33.70. Larson outsprinted Peter Sisco from Aquinas Catholic over the final 150 yards for the silver medal.
“I just decided I wasn’t going to lose,” Larson said. “I ran my race as I planned and I was where I wanted to be at the end and just passed one last guy before the finish.”
Larson trailed Sisco coming into the final corner before the finish but ran past him down the stretch.
The Wolverines had runners in fifth, seventh and 10th on their way to the second-place team finish, led by Brayden Anderson.
Anderson ran the course in 17:39.60 to pace his squad for a team trip to Kearney next week.
“I really started my race kind of slow like I normally do,” Anderson said. “I don’t know why I do that, but I just do.”
He found himself outside of the top 25 early on but started passing runners until he got to the top 10 by the 2-mile mark of the race.
“I got ahead of five more from there and ended up where I ended up in fifth,” he said.
The sixth man in for the BRLD back-to-back state championship basketball team appreciates the individual aspects of cross country coupled with the team aspects after the race.
“In cross country, you rely just on yourself to get the job done,” Anderson said. “All the training is done with your team and, after the race, you enjoy your accomplishments together. But on the course, it is entirely up to what you do.”
For the girls, Oakland-Craig edged Pender 32-34 in a race that saw Pender standout runner Paige Steinman, arguably the pre-race favorite, not make the final tape.
Steinman went down with around 200 yards left in the race after battling the entire run with a leg injury. Her sister, Piper, did the honors and won the individual title with a run 21:01.60, 14 seconds in front of runner-up Elizabeth Polk of Hooper Logan View.
Piper ran back up the straight-away near the finish line to check on her sister and accompanied her from the race in an ambulance to the Pender Community Hospital. No word was received on Paige’s condition by the time the race crowd dispersed.
Oakland-Craig, aware of the circumstances of the race, was joyful for the title but very concerned about the fellow runner down at the end of the straight-away.
“I had tears of joy in my eyes for us and tears in my eyes for Paige,” O-C coach Megan Unwin said. “It is just too bad what happened, but we ran our races and put ourselves in a place to win the meet.”
The Knights’ top two runners were freshman Chaney Nelson and senior Samantha Linder.
Nelson credited Linder for talking her into even running cross country this fall.
“I played volleyball before,” Nelson said. “But some of the older girls talked some of us into running cross country this fall. I’m glad they did, I love it.”
Linder took a shine to her teammates from the beginning.
“It brings tears to my eyes how great these younger runners have been this fall,” Linder said. “They call me ‘Mom’ and I couldn’t be more proud of them. It’s the best feeling ever.”
Logan View grabbed the last team spot for Kearney with a score of 39 and a couple of runners in the top 15, including the runner-up, Polk.
1. David City Aquinas 33; 2. Bancroft-Rosalie/Lyons-Decatur Northeast 40; 3. Stanton 62; 4. Hooper Logan View 69; 5. Wisner-Pilger 75; 6. Winnebago 114; 7. Winside 138; 8. Madison 140; 9. Fremont Bergan 149; 10. Humphrey/Lindsay Holy Family 171; 11. Pender 176; 12. Laurel-Concord-Coleridge 204; 13. Ponca 219; 14. David City 228; 15. Oakland-Craig 255.
1. Payton Davis, DCA, 16:39.10; 2. Abraham Larson, STA, 17:13.80; 3. Peter Sisco, DCA, 17:14.90; 4. Kolter Van Pelt, STA, 17:33.70; 5. Brayden Anderson, BRLD, 17:39.60; 6. Payton Biermann, W-P, 17:41.10; 7. Devin Hegge, BRLD, 17:44.50; 8. TJ Larson, STA, 17:52.20; 9. Luis Hernandez-Jiminez, LV, 17:53.00; 10. Zachary Hegge, BRLD, 17:56.30; 11. Lane Sorensen, LV, 18:01.40; 12. Dakota Gullickson, MAD, 18:04.30; 13. Max Nosal, FB, 18:05.20; 14. William Eller, DCA, 18:11.80; 15. Jacob Witter, DCA, 18:15.00.
1. Oakland-Craig 32; 2. Pender 34; 3. Logan View 39; 4. Humphrey St. Francis 60; 5. Wisner-Pilger 67; 6. Humphrey/Lindsay Holy Family 87; 7. Bancroft-Rosalie/Lyons Decatur Northeast 109.
1. Piper Steinman, PEN, 21:03.60; 2. Elizabeth Polk, LV, 21:17.20; 3. Chaney Nelson, O-C, 21:37.90; 4. Samantha Linder, O-C, 21:56.90; 5. Daisy Korus, HLHF, 22:04.80; 6. Leah Podliska, HSF, 22:11.60; 7. Jocelyn Stara, DCA, 22:15.10; 8. Maelee Beacom, LV, 22:26.40; 9. Faith Morris, PEN, 22:47.40; 10. Jessica Krueger, PEN, 23:03.70; 11. Jadin Ostrand, FB, 23;06.60; 12. Madison Stricklin, HSF, 23:10.60; 13. Sydney Guzinski, O-C, 23:11.00; 14. Laura Ramirez-Torres, W-P, 23:16.50; 15. Emma Larson, FB, 23:18.00.