PENDER — If you’ll pardon the pun, Norfolk Catholic ran away with the boys division, but Crofton won the girls title in a tie-breaker here at the D-2 district cross country meet at Twin Creeks Golf Club.

We’ll get to the team finals later, but freshman Jordyn Arens from Crofton ran away from the field in the girls’ contest.

In fact, she was over a minute and 30 seconds ahead of her nearest competitor in her inaugural run in her high school postseason career.

“I kind of just go out and run,” Arens said. “That sounds kind of bad, but that’s what I do. I like it better when someone is running right behind me. I’m glad I stayed in front for my team, and now we’ll move on to state.”

Only three runners are scored in Class D cross country this year, but to determine the girls’ winner, it went down to the fourth runner to break the tie.

“It came right down to the wire,” Crofton coach Nicolette Koch said. “Our kids do what we ask of them and they respond without question. We had a good run here today, and we’ll see how that works into next week.”

The Warriors are perennial powers in cross country, regardless of class, for both their girls and boys programs.

“We support each other,” Koch said. “And we work our tails off.”

And they hope that work pays off at state.

“There will be hills at state,” Arens said. “We run hills every day. We have our hills in Crofton.”

Although the individual race wasn’t close, the team race came down to the wire.

Crofton and Norfolk Catholic tied for the title with identical team scores of 17.

Tie-breaker rules require the fourth runner from each team be counted to break the tie, and the nod went to the Warriors.

“We were very happy the way we ran and competed here today,” Knight coach Jon Krings said. “The scoring change (going to three runners) is advantageous for us.”

Krings is in his first year at the head of the Norfolk Catholic cross country program.

“We had a lot of personal bests today,” he said. “I am proud we punched our team ticket to state.”

Chaney Nelson of Oakland-Craig came in second while Alea Rasmussen of Wisner-Pilger was third.

A pair of Norfolk Catholic runners rounded out the top five with Emily Faltys in fourth and Cecilia Kann in fifth.

Norfolk Catholic outdistanced Bancroft-Rosalie/Lyons-Decatur 14-42 to take the boys title and earn its way to Kearney next week, but a Homer runner won the individual title.

Grant Lander crossed the tape around 13 seconds in front of Kolter Van Pelt of Stanton.

“This was my first time running in a Nebraska district,” Lander said. “It was fun.”

He gave much of the credit for his success to his coach.

“My coach is the one who pushed me to be my best,” Lander said. “It really helped the mental part of running and just sticking to the plan.”

Abraham Larson from Stanton was third and Norfolk Catholic’s Ben Hammond was fourth.

Conner Arens finished just under three seconds ahead of the next Knight runner, Dalton Brunsing.

“Originally, I went out for cross country to get in shape,” Brunsing said. “But we have a great team and I just want to get better and better. It gives me a sense of accomplishment to know I did my best, and to share it with teammates is great.”

The Knights’ Dominic Liess, a freshman, was right behind Brunsing and placed seventh.

The 2020 Nebraska State Cross Country Championships will be Friday, Oct. 23, at the Kearney Country Club.

D-2 boys district

Top 15 individuals

1. Grant Lander (11) Homer 17:03.45; 2. Kolter Van Pelt (10) Stanton 17:16.56; 3. Abraham Larson (11) Stanton 17:25.17; 4. Ben Hammond (11) Norfolk Catholic 17:27.33; 5. Connor Arens (12) Crofton 17:28.97; 6. Dalton Brunsing (11) Norfolk Catholic 17:31.26; 7. Dominic Liess (9) Norfolk Catholic 17:47.89; 8. Caleb Schlichting (10) BRLD 18:02.85; 9. Brody Taylor (9) Ponca 18:07.60; 10. Caleb Preister (12) H/LHF 18:08.55; 11. Wyatt Ash (12) Norfolk Catholic 18:12.78; 12. Travis Kalous (12) Norfolk Catholic 18:16.51; 13. Payton Biermann (12) Wisner-Pilger 18:27.10; 14. Brock Pfeifer (9) Humphrey St. Francis 18:31.99; 15. Garret Zach (10) Humphrey St. Francis

Team scores and top three team qualifiers

1. Norfolk Catholic 14: Ben Hammond 17:27.33; Dalton Brunsing 17:31.26; Dominic Liess 17:47.89; Wyatt Ash 18:12.78; Travis Kalous 18:16.41;

2. Bancroft-Rosalie-Lyons-Decatur Northeast 42: Caleb Schlichting 18:02.85; Zachary Hegge (12) 18:48.46; Micah Henschen (12) 19:18.25; Brayden Hegge (9) 20:06.83; Braden Hardin (9) 20:14.81

3. Crofton 45: Connor Arens 17:28.97; Austin Guenther (11) 18:57.06; Colby Zuhlke (12) 19:58.41; Zachary Arens (9) 20:15.76; David Phillips (12) 20:27.88

4. Humphrey St. Francis 50; 5. Wisner-Pilger 52; 6. Stanton 60; 7. Laurel-Concord-Coleridge 82; 8. Ponca 85; 9. Pender 98; 10. Humphrey/Lindsay Holy Family 110; 11. Oakland-Craig 112; 12. Twin River 118; 13. Norfolk Lutheran High Northeast 122; 14. Randolph 143.

Top 15 individuals

1. Jordyn Arens (9) Crofton 19:05.28; 2. Chaney Nelson (10); Oakland-Craig 20:36.85 3. Alea Rasmussen (9) Wisner-Pilger 20:42.46; 4. Emily Faltys (12) Norfolk Catholic 21:31.92; 5. Cecilia Kann (10) Norfolk Catholic 21:32.54; 6. Daisy Korus (12) Humphrey-Lindsay Holy Family 21:48.69; 7. Alexis Bodlak (11) Pender 22:04.27; 8. Elizabeth Wortmann (9) Crofton22:13.19; 9. Charli Fischer (11) Norfolk Catholic 22:27.34; 10. Kiera Altwine (11) Crofton 22:52.36; 11. Kelsey Schieffer (12) Crofton 23:16.60; 12. Allie Hassler (9) Wisner-Pilger 23:33.98; 13. Christina Brandl (9) Humphrey St. Francis 23:51.24; 14. Jordan Aschoff (9) Norfolk Catholic 23:54.42; 15. Kayla Svoboda (11) Wisner-Pilger, 24:05.77

Team scores and top three team qualifiers

1. Crofton, 17: Jordyn Arens (9), 19:05.28; Elizabeth Wortmann (9), 22:13.19; Kiera Altwine (11), 22:52.36; Kelsey Schieffer (12), 23:16.60; Abigail Steffen (12), 24:43.87

2. Norfolk Catholic, 17: Emily Faltys (12), 21:31.92; Cecilia Kann (10), 21:32.54; Charli Fischer (11), 22:27.34; Jordan Aschoff (9), 23:54.42

3. Wisner-Pilger, 27: Alea Rasmussen (9), 20:42.46; Allie Hassler (9), 23:33.98; Kayla Svoboda (11), 24:05.77; Riley Theroes (11), 24:45.76; Sarah Von Seggern (12), 25:05.63

4. Oakland-Craig, 32; 5. Humphrey-Lindsay Holy Family, 54; 6. Laurel-Concord-Coleridge, 66; 7. BRLD, 74

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