BEATRICE – York head coach Eric Rasmussen saw his talented team of Duke cross country runners make a late surge on Thursday and finish second at the B-3 District meet in Beatrice to earn a spot in the team finals on Friday in Kearney.
“It was a lot closer on the girls side than expected. Second through fifth in the team race was really close on the girls side and we were probably in fifth place as a team heading into the last mile,” said Rasmussen. “We had the advantage of having Kassidy Stuckey finishing second, significantly ahead of most teams’ top runner.”
Stuckey was the Dukes only medalist as she finished second behind Norris freshman Kendall Zavala. The York sophomore was clocked at 19:17.25, 10 seconds behind Zavala and 12 seconds ahead of third place runner Ellie Thomas of Norris who ran a 19:29.62.
Norris won the team title with a first, third, fourth and fifth place effort for 13 points, York finished with 56 and Seward was third with 61.
After Stuckey it was sophomore Emory Conrad in 16th, (just out of the medals) with a time 21:06.36, freshman Lainey Portwine was 18th with a clocking of 21:29.02 and rounding out the York scoring was Cailey Faust in 20th with a time of 21:26.59.
“We probably would not have made state without those runners pushing the other teams’ top runner back. Kassidy was our only medalist on the girls side. I don't think I have ever seen a team make state with only one medalist,” explained Rasmussen. “Emory Conrad and Lainey Portwine were our next two runners. In addition to having an advantage for our top runner, we also had an advantage with our fourth runner. Cailey Faust had a really strong race as our fourth runner, passing several Waverly and a couple of Beatrice girls over the last mile. She was 10 spots ahead of Seward's fourth runner, four spots ahead of Beatrice's fourth runner and two spots ahead of Waverly's fourth runner. It was great to see her finish the race strong.”
York senior Chloe Holmes ran a time of 21:55.34 for 25th and Zoe Kreifels, a senior, was clocked at 22:14.52 for 28th place.
The York girls will take to the Kearney Country Club course at 2:30 p.m. on Friday.
Final team standings–1.Norris 13, 2.York 56, 3.Seward 61, 4.Beatrice 64, 5.Waverly 66, 6.Schuyler 97, 7.Crete 131.