The strong run continues

Wildcats’ cross country success rolls into third meet

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Photo Courtesy of Addison Hayes

The Millard West boys varsity team starts the race out strong. The Wildcats’ were able to start this race strong which allowed them to stay up front the entire race. “The start is one of the most crucial parts of the race, and could be argued the most important part,” Marshall said. “A good start is needed in order to get a good placement because being out in the front of the pack allows for better pacing, and it is easier to pass people ahead of you when you aren’t in a large group.”

Joseph Ebmeier, Staff Reporter

On Thursday, September 17, the Millard West Cross Country team ran in their third meet of the unusual 2020 season. The Wildcats competed alongside Bellevue East, Elkhorn South, Hastings, Kearny, Lincoln, Lincoln East, Lincoln Northwest, Lincoln Pius X, Lincoln Southeast, Lincoln Southwest and Seward. This race was held at the Pioneers Park course in Lincoln, and it was their first time running this course this year for the Wildcats so the new course presented some new challenges.

The varsity boys team sent eleven total runners to the meet, all shaving multiple seconds off of their previous times. These cut seconds also allowed the team to finish better in the cumulative standings. The Wildcats also took half of the top 10 spots, and that helped their placing as well. Junior Sam Kircnher led the way for the Wildcats, finishing second overall in the meet with a time of 16 minutes and 19.70 seconds. Finishing soon after Sam Kirncher, with a fifth place finish overall, was senior Austin Goetsche with a time of 16 minutes and 47.30 seconds. Finishing directly after Goetsche was junior Aidan MacLeod with a time of 16 minutes and 51.40 seconds. Continuing the back to back finishes for the Wildcats was sophomore Piercze Marshall with a time of 16 minutes and 52.30 seconds, this time yielded him a seventh place overall finish. Coming across the line in ninth place overall, fifth for the Wildcats, was junior Seth Fey with a time of 16 minutes and 58.40 seconds. Those five runners all placed inside the top ten and were only spread out by 38.70 seconds.

I believe that our varsity team packed up and ran together a lot better in this meet,” Marshall said. “We placed a lot closer to each other compared to the previous meet. We set ourselves up for success by getting out in the front early, running our race and not letting other runners dictate our pace.

The next six varsity runners were spread out by a total of 54 seconds. Finishing 14th overall, sixth for the Wildcats was sophomore Joey Hartnett with a time of 17 minutes and 4.70 seconds. Crossing the line in seventh for the Wildcats was junior Cole Haith with a time of 17 minutes and 18.50 seconds, putting him in eighteenth place overall. Coming in 21st place overall, eighth for the Wildcats was freshman Porter Bickley with a time of 17 minutes and 25.50 seconds. Next up for the Wildcats; in 31st place overall, ninth for Millard West was junior Christian Naujokaitis with a time of 17 minutes and 43.80 seconds. Soon after Naujokaitis in thirty-sixth place overall was senior Daniel Nixon with a time of 17 minutes 55.50 seconds. Directly after Nixon was junior Drew Figura with a time of 17 minutes and 58.00 seconds.

The varsity boys team had a great effort all around and was able to capture first place in the meet, just another feather in the Wildcats cap as they continue to have success in the still young season.

The girls varsity team sent 10 runners to the meet. All ten of the girls’ runners were able to shave multiple seconds off their times and that allowed them to place well too. Leading the way for the Wildcats was junior Em Gilbert with a time of 20 minutes and 3.60 seconds. This time yielded Gilbert a sixth place overall finish as well. Next up for Millard West was sophomore Isabelle Hartnett with a time of 20 minutes and 17.60 seconds. Isabelle Hartnett was the ninth runner overall. Finishing in thirteenth place overall, third for the Wildcats was junior Sydney Beaudin with a time of 20 minutes and 33.90 seconds. Soon after Beaudin in eighteenth place overall was senior Molly Bies with a time of 20 minutes and 49.40 seconds. Soon after Bies was junior Samantha Vojslavek in twenty-first place with a time of 21 minutes and 1.00 seconds. Those five runners all yielded top twenty-five finishes and were only spread out by 57 seconds.

“The varsity girls did improve from the first meet,” Gilbert said. “I think everyone ran a little smarter, since it was our second meet, we all knew more of what the course would be like, when to surge, who to run next to and what the competition would be like.”

The other half of the varsity girls runners were spread out by only 44 seconds. Finishing 23rd overall, sixth for the Wildcats was freshman Thea Kutash with a time of 21 minutes and 2.70 seconds. Coming in seventh for Millard West was sophomore Callie Kirchner with a time of 21 minutes and 21.20 seconds, this time gave her a 29th place total. Finishing after Callie Kirchner was sophomore Samantha Ullman with a time of 22 minute and 4.90 seconds. Next up for the Wildcats was sophomore Meredith Burklund with a time of 22 minutes and 39.00 seconds. Soon after Burklund was junior Niah Kirchner with a time of 22 minutes and 46.30 seconds.

The varsity girls team combined to finish third place overall. Although they ended the same place as the last meet, they faced strong competition and many girls dropped their times which gives them optimism for the rest of the season.

Other highlights of the meet for the Wildcats included junior William Fraizer finishing second in the boys junior varsity race with a time of 18 minutes and 29.60 seconds.Also in the boys junior varsity race, Millard West grabbed three of the top five spots in the race. In the girls junior varsity race, sophomore Abby Hutteger finished in second place overall with a time of 22 minutes and 33.30 seconds. The boys jv team was able to capture first place while the girls jv came home in third.

“Having a couple of races under our belt and getting used to the feeling of racing again has helped kids figure out how to push themselves, especially when they start hurting and getting tired during the race,” coach Colin Johnston. “Racing on a different course than Walnut Creek helped. Walnut Creek is one of the tougher courses and although Pioneers (park) is also one of the harder courses we run on, I think Walnut Creek helps mentally and physically prepare our team to run fast.”

The varsity teams will be back in action Saturday, September 26, this time at the Fremont course. It will be their first time seeing the course this season which will provide new challenges, but the Wildcats will definitely be ready and hope to continue their success into the next meet.