The Blair cross-country team earned two seventh-place Class B finishes Friday during the NSAA State Championships in Kearney.
Bears Dawson Fricke and Kaitlynn Amandus medaled, too. And, yet, the BHS campsite was in a reserved mood after the races.
“We had a mixed bag,” coach Darren Harsin said, noting the Bears' high expectations entering state competition. They'd earned two runner-up finishes at the district meet and sought more medals and quicker team results.
“Sometimes when you have to run as hard as we had to get here, sometimes this happens,” Harsin said. “It's hard to go two weeks in a row at the top of your game.”
Friday just wasn't Blair's best day.
“One of the things with cross-country that makes it tough, is that you've got to have everybody on the same page on the same day,” the coach added. “Some days it happens — last Thursday it happened — but this Friday, we weren't all there.”
Fricke, however, earned ninth in 17:00.32. The junior passed a few runners down the stretch to claim his medal.
“I got a little bit over what I wanted to get for time, but that kick at the end was awesome,” he said. “Harsin and coach (Julia) Warner were both at the end saying, 'You're in 12th place.'”
Fricke heard his coaches and reacted accordingly.
“I just pushed for the last 600 meters as hard as I could,” he said.
Amandus, meanwhile, capped her high school cross-country career with a 15th-place finish in 20:41.81. The senior earned her state medal by pushing all thoughts from her head during the 5-kilometer race.
“My mind was pretty blank the whole time,” she said. “I think it was a good thing because I wasn't thinking bad thoughts.”
Though her team wasn't able to meet its overall expectations, the 15th-place Bear was pleased with her effort.
“I gave it all I got,” Amandus said. “It wasn't the best like last meet, but it was good.”
Allie Czapla was 22nd in the girls' race, too, finishing in 21:07.57. She was ahead of 45th-place Chloe Schrick, while Zac Keeling also earned 45th in the boys' race.
“I just kind of did what I could on uphills and downhills,” he said. “I just did what I could.”
BHS' Nolan Slominski was 47th in the boys' race ahead of Calin O'Grady (60th), Nick Wayman (79th) and Zyler Wyman (80th). On the girls' side, Hailey Amandus, Cayli Penner and Sophia Baedke added 61st, 64th and 76th-place finishes, respectively.
“Overall, as far as seasons go, it was a great season,” Harsin said. “Both teams are here.”
The Bears made the season enjoyable for their coach, too.
“Great group to work with,” he said. “I'm very proud of them.”
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