Scottsbluff, Gering cross country girls finish strong
     2016-09-30      By Jerry Purvis    news@geringcitizen.com
One of the larger meets of the year, the High School Cross Country Invitational is hosted by the University of Nebraska at Kearney on Sept 26. With 20 teams from across the state competing, the Scottsbluff girls took third place, and Gering was close behind in fourth among Class B schools.

“The meet at Kearney is a great opportunity for a lot of schools to get a chance to run on the course used for the state meet,” said Gering Cross Country Coach Rick Marez. “For us, we got a feel of where we are when it comes to conditioning. I also like the idea of seeing schools we don’t usually run against.”

Scottsbluff’s average time for the girls’ team was 20:32.70, with a 21:21.01 average time for Gering.

Among the 175 runners on the girl’s team, Gretna’s Maize Larsen topped the list at 19:08.05. Whitney Riesen of Scottsbluff was close behind in second at 19:25.07. Teammate Kaylee Bentley crossed the tape at 20:00.01 for a sixth place finish.

“We were real close to being runner-up among a couple of solid teams,” said Scottsbluff Cross Country Coach Jim Barker. “The Aurora girls won the meet and last year’s defending champion Elkhorn South came in second.”

Barker said Scottsbluff had a solid meet and their top two girls couldn’t have done better. “We’re excited about the rest of the season. With a little fixing, we’ll be ready for the state meet.”

For the Gering girls, Rebekah Rawlings also placed in the top 10 at 20:21.96, good enough for eighth place. Teammate Tukker Romey missed the top 10 by a hundredth of a second, coming in 11th at 20:30.48.

“I’m excited about how the girls might finish at the state meet if we can qualify,” Marez said. “They don’t stand out, but they’re pretty consistent in the competition. I think we’ll be even better in a couple of weeks.”

On the boys’ side, local teams had more of a struggle at Kearney. Abdul Mohamed of South Sioux City turned in the meet’s best individual time of 16:21.36. Scottsbluff’s Josh Hergenreder came in seventh at 17:02.15 and twin brother Noah Hergenreder was at 17th with a 17:30.56 time.

“I think the Hergenreders ran superb races,” Coach Barker said. “The boys are kind of a young team and with more than 200 competitors, it was just a great meet for everyone.”

Team scores had Scottsbluff in 13th place with an average time of 18:23.28. Gering was in 18th with an average time of 19:14.53.

“I would have liked to finish in the top 10, but we’re happy with 13th,” Barker said. “Most of the teams we saw will be back for the state meet. Hopefully, we’ll be one of them.”

Gering had only one of the boys’ team finish in the top 20 at Kearney. Xavier Arellano placed 14th with a 17:23.32 time.

“It think Xavier Arellano ran one of his best races of the season,” Marez said. “He got fatigued on the hills because we’re not quite used to that yet, but he was excited about his finish.”

Next up for both Scottsbluff and Gering is the Western Conference meet in Chadron on Oct. 1. Then Gering heads west for the Cheyenne East Invitational on Oct. 7, while Scottsbluff is in Lexington the same day for the Greater Nebraska Athletic Conference meet.

Both teams will be back for the district meet, scheduled for Oct. 13 in Ogallala. The state meet is in Kearney on Oct. 21.

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