FCHS boys, AHS girls lead way at Arlington XC Invite

Pioneers win team title, Eagles earn two 2nds

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The Fort Calhoun cross-country boys team edged out the second-place Eagles for the Arlington Invite title.
The AHS girls, meanwhile, beat out the third-place Pioneers for second behind Douglas County West.
Nobody, however, beat Eagles junior Keelianne Green on Thursday at the Washington County Fairgrounds. For the second-straight race of her burgeoning cross-country career, the first-year long-distance runner won by a wide margin. Coach Michaela Curran's top runner finished 5 kilometers in 19:23.55, while second-place Olivia Malousek of DC West stopped the clock at 20:49.77.
“I went out a little fast, definitely,” Green said, a bit more tired after the second race of her high school career than the first. “But, I just kept trying to push. Really attack those hills and I felt like I did that really well.”
Bria Bench, meanwhile, led the FCHS girls with a fourth-place finish. Coach Kyle McMahon's sophomore set her new time to beat this fall, 21:18.45.
“I'm good with my time for my first actual run this season,” she said. “I think it was better than my first one last year, so I'm hoping to get my time a bit more down this year.”
From there, Arlington freshman Hailey O'Daniel was fifth in 21:23.96, while Calhoun's Dala Drowne clocked in at 21:55.56 for eighth. The Eagles' Whitney Wollberg added a 14th-place finish in 22:31.67, while teammates Brynn Eckhart and Kelise Cook-Krivohlavek were 17th and 20th, respectively. Brooke Hilgenkamp was 25th.
The Pioneers' Tess Skelton was 19th ahead of teammates Kaitlyn Thalman (23rd), Harley Schwarte (28th) and Xinzhi Huang (33rd).
On the boys' side of the Arlington competition, Fort Calhoun's Ely Olberding was second behind DC West's Parker Gaston in 17:24.13. He was pleased with the Pioneers' tight pack to start, but still sees room to improve individually.
“I felt good in the race as far as physically,” Olberding said. “But, yeah, I guess I need to practice my technique — my form in running. We practice that in practice all of the time.”
AHS sophomore Nolan May earned third behind the Pioneer, finishing in 17:25.66.
“It wasn't so much about time today. More about competition,” he said. “We had a couple of really good teams here today.”
Lance Olberding, Ely's brother, was next in at fourth. He finished in 17:40.83 before the Eagles' Connor Flesner, who claimed fifth in 17:46.72 by beating out Logan View's Kayl Francis by 0.1 seconds.
“You're really tired when you first come in,” the Arlington sophomore said. “But when you see that person come up on your side, you get that sudden boost of energy and kick it all the way.”
Fort Calhoun's Jacob Rupp was eighth, Dallin Franzluebbers of AHS was ninth and the Pioneers' Travis Skelton was 12th. The host's Kolby Tighe also medaled in 14th, giving the Eagles four top-15 finishers with FCHS.
“That's good news to hear,” May said.
The Pioneers' Johnathon Schwarte and Lawson Tjardes were 18th and 19th, respectively, while Arlington's Barrett Nielsen and Luke Hammang were 20th and 23rd.
Overall, the Eagles and their Washington County neighbors proved to be pace-setters at the fairgrounds, earning top individual and team finishes.

JV, JH runners compete
While there wasn't a junior varsity girls race Thursday in Arlington, Gage Nixon did lead the Fort Calhoun JV boys with a second-place finish in 18:36.42.
Landon Olson, meanwhile, led the Arlington JV boys in fifth with a time of 20:06.88.
In the junior high races that started the day of competition, the Fort Calhoun girls and the Arlington boys won team titles. Maelie Nelson (second), Rae Ann Massey (third) and Bella McLaughlin (sixth) led the Pioneers with top-10 finishes, while Jack Blake (third), John Morrison (fourth), Luke Sharp (sixth) and Ethan Hilgenkamp (seventh) did the same for the Eagle boys.
Will Dennis of Fort Calhoun won the 2,400-meter boys' race in 8:38.79, while Sofie Lewis led the Arlington girls in 11:12.74 for ninth.

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