Another year, another downright hot 5-kilometer race to start the cross-country season in Plattsmouth.
Weak knees and sudden illness were common at the finish line Tuesday evening in Rhylander Park as runners accepted a bottle of water and cold-soaked rags to place on their sweat-drenched skin.
One Blair Bear, however, looked perfectly comfortable as if in midseason form as she strolled in, stopping the clock for her seventh-place finish — the top finish for either BHS or Fort Calhoun in the opener.
“I felt pretty good, honestly,” Mary Roskens said, cracking a smile while everyone around her was still trying to catch their breath. “There was nothing coming up.”
The junior was seventh and classmate Grace Galbraith was eighth to lead the Blair girls to a third-place finish. Fort Calhoun, led by Kelsie Premer's 11th-place finish, was fourth.
The BHS boys, meanwhile, were fourth and Fort Calhoun was seventh.
“I was really excited,” Roskens said of race No. 1. “It's the first race, so, obviously, the tension is sort of high. You don't know what to expect from this year, but we did a lot of hard training over the summer, so I felt super prepared.”
Her team's efforts proved it. The Bear clocked in at 22:39.06, while Galbraith finished in 22:54.25. Sophia Baedke and Lillian Knudtson also clocked in within medal territory, finishing 12th and 15th.
Katie Matney was 33rd in 25:39.45.
“We have a lot to be excited for,” Roskens said.
The same could be said for the Fort Calhoun girls.
“I think all of us have improved a lot,” Premer said. “The boys, I know their race was faster by a minute than our scrimmage a week ago. We're all pushing.”
The Pioneer senior crossed the line in 23:04.61, while Morgan Miller took 14th in 23:21.1. Freshman Dala Drowne added a 19th-place finish in her debut, and Tessa Skelton and Savannah Lukasiewicz were 23rd and 26th, respectively. Katie Barta was 36th in 26:39.83.
Boswell leads county boys
“I wanted to go fast,” Zac Boswell said after earning Washington County's top finish in the boys' race. “Just don't go out too fast.”
The senior Blair Bear ran his race like a veteran, earning 12th in 18:38.74.
“I'm really happy with that, yeah,” he said. “I maybe could have pushed a little harder first mile, but not too much.”
Fort Calhoun, meanwhile, was led by freshman Ely Olberding who clocked in at 20:17.34. He thought he could have done better.
“Pretty much, yeah,” the ninth-grader said when asked if Tuesday's race was somewhat of a practice test. “It's a lot different than junior high.”
Blair high schoolers Aiden Klanderud, Ethan Funk and Jacob Rupp finished their 5K race in 16th, 18th and 27th, respectively. Klanderud crossed the line in 18:52.4, while Funk stopped the clock in 18:55.88.
After Olberding, Fort Calhoun's only returner — John McKennan — was 30th in 20:26.64. He was followed by Luke Gustafson (31st), Lance Olberding (34th), Xander Slatten (44th) and Riley McKennan (45th).