Hailey O'Daniel ran 3 kilometers Saturday and beat 261 runners to the finish line.
How about that!
The Arlington seventh-grader earned first place in the girls' open division of the Nebraska State Junior High XC Championships at Walnut Creek Park in Omaha. The Eagle finished in 12:09.4, more than 6 seconds quicker than second-place Annie Carda and about 12:09.4 faster than I could have done it.
The junior high state events kind of surprise me whenever they show up on the schedule. I never knew of such a thing when I was in school and I feel they are almost under-appreciated now, at least by those without junior high kids or newspaper types like myself.
I think it's great that there is state competition for junior high athletes, which is why I'm dedicating this column to Saturday's results for runners from Arlington and Fort Calhoun.
O'Daniel took first in the girls' open 3K, while her teammate, Kelise Cook-Krivohlavek, was 26th in 13:49.5. That means she beat 235 runners, by the way.
The Eagles' Brynn Eckhart was 76th.
One Pioneer also ran the girls open race. Kaylee Taylor was 72nd in 14:41.6.
On the boys' side of the state meet in Omaha, Arlington's Dallin Franzluebbers earned sixth in the open race. He finished in 11:53.3, while sixth-grader John Morrison took 14th in 12:03.9. Connor Flesner was 33rd, Kolby Tighe was 64th, Luke Sharp was 88th, Jack Blake was 146th and Wyatt Flesner was 260th out of 333 runners.
Michael Maxon of Fort Calhoun, meanwhile, was 19th in just 12:14.9. His teammate, Trey King, was 28th in 12:28.6. Jonathan Schwarte added a 49th-place finish, while Chase Premer was 79th and James Miller was 133rd.
Congrats to these athletes for their efforts and their future success.