Keelianne Green and Nolan May are Nebraska Capitol Conference (NCC) cross-country champions.
“That's a pretty nice accolade,” the Arlington junior, Green, said Thursday after her 5-kilometer race at the Washington County Fairgrounds.
“It's sounds a lot better than the first half of the season,” said May, a sophomore who's hit his stride in recent weeks. “That's for sure.”
The lead-Eagles helped coach Michaela Curran's squads earn two runner-up finishes on their home course. The Douglas County West girls edged AHS by just three race positions in the team standings, while the Fort Calhoun Pioneers dominated the boys' race by 23.
FCHS coach Kyle McMahon said his lineup didn't even run its best race Thursday, fading late in some spots.
“I don't think we achieved quite all of our team goals today,” he said. “But we looked stronger overall as a boys team.”
2 Eagles earn 1st
The Washington County Fairgrounds course was the first Green's run twice during her debut cross-country season. She won her NCC title wearing Arlington colors in 18:50.2.
“I felt like this one went by a lot quicker,” the junior said. “I mean, I ran a way better time than I did the first time, but I knew exactly how much I had to go. I knew exactly where I was at.”
May, meanwhile, pulled away for his conference win during the final stages. Rounding the outfield fence of the baseball field, the Eagle made his move. He took the lead and sprinted the final straightaway to the finish in 17:02.05.
Behind both Green and May, several more of coach Curran's Eagles placed highly, too. Hailey O'Daniel was third in the girls' race, clocking in at 20:39.46, while Kevin Flesner finished seventh in the boys' in 17:58.04.
Whitney Wollberg earned an 11th-place finish, Brynn Eckhart a 16th and Luke Hammang a 17th, too. Kelise Cook-Krivohlavek (21st) and Brooke Hilgenkamp (32nd) rounded out the AHS girls' NCC lineup, while Kolby Tighe (23rd), Barrett Nielsen (27th) and Lane Johannes (30th) filled Curran's boys roster.
The Eagles next compete 4:30 p.m. this Thursday during the Class C1 District meet at Fort Atkinson — the home of the Fort Calhoun Pioneers.
FCHS boys win title
Coach McMahon was focused on the district meet immediately following the conference races last Thursday. He anticipates proper preparation between the NCC and C1 meets will allow the Fort Calhoun cross-country team to run its fastest times of the season.
Before the Pioneers return home to Fort Atkinson, though, they won a conference title in Arlington. Ely Olberding, Lance Olberding and Jacob Rupp finished second through fourth to lead FCHS, securing times of 17:12.21, 17:22.8 and 17:24.27, respectively. They finished ahead of teammates Travis Skelton in 16th, Johnathon Schwarte in 22nd and Lawson Tjardes in 33rd.
The Fort Calhoun girls, meanwhile, earned third in the NCC with Bria Bench's fifth-place effort leading the way. The sophomore clocked in at 20:53.4 ahead of Dala Drowne, who was ninth in 21:56.45.
“Good, solid race the for the girls team,” McMahon said, noting its fastest average team time of the 2021 season.
Tess Skelton added a 23rd-place finish for the Pioneers, while Harley Schwarte was 29th, Kaitlyn Thalman was 31st and Xinzhi Huang was 35th.
If his fourth, fifth and sixth runners improve their standing over the next two meets — districts and state — McMahon said his squads could contend for trophies.
Last week, FCHS earned its first plaque — the NCC Champions one.