Western Nebraska Observer - Observations all along the line - Kimball & the Southern Panhandle First

By Tom Southard

Trio of local runners qualify for state meet


Tom Southard

Junior Ryan Muneio and senior Laura Flores pose for a photo after qualifying for the state meet for Kimball.

Senior Laura Flores and junior Ryan Muneio will represent Kimball High at this Friday’s State Cross Country Meet being held at the Kearney Country Club Golf Course. The Longhorns failed to qualify either their girls or boys as a team, but got superb efforts from the two individual qualifiers who both have an excellent chance at bringing home state medals.

Kimball finished 6th in the girl’s team standings and 7th in the boy’s team results. Dundy County/Stratton won the girl’s team championship with 40 points followed by Perkins County with 49 and Gordon/Rushville with 51. The top three teams, along with the top 15 individuals, advance to this week’s state meet. Behind the top three were North Platte St. Pats with 59, Bridgeport 71, Kimball 72, and Chase County 80.

Jessi Smith of Bayard edged out Dani Wellnitz of Gordon/ Rushville to take top individual honors for the girls with the winning time clocked at 20:11 and runner-up time of 20:14.

Flores ran 7th as the Kimball senior qualified for the state meet for the fourth consecutive time in her rewarding high school career. Her time was 21:36, well short of her school record time of 20:25 ran earlier this season, but considering the cold weather the runners were competing in, very respectable. Sophomore Kailey Dickerson ran 18th, just 3 places out of a state qualifying spot and a district medal, with a time of 23:05. Senior Shelby Vogel ran 41st in 26:00, and freshman Olivia Ryschon was 44th in 26:34.

Chase County won the boys’ team title with 21 points followed by Dundy County/Stratton with 34, North Platte St. Pats 78, Paxton 81, Hemingford 84, Gordon/Rushville 105, Kimball 112, Bridgeport 124, Sutherland 140, and Perkins County 165, with the top three teams, like the girls, advancing to state meet competition.

The individual battle was dramatic with Muneio leading the way for the majority of the race before being over taken by a pair of Chase County runners in the final sprint to the finish. Holden Dreiling was the winner in 18:33 with Chase County teammate Indy Smith runner-up in 18:34, and Muneio third in 18:39, just 6 seconds behind the winner. Senior Mitchell Shields, a state qualifier his sophomore and junior years, didn’t make it this year but ran 26th in 19:49 and gave great effort. Freshman Jordan Greenwood ran 44th in 20:51, sophomore Rowdy Keller was 56th in 21:09, and Joel Evertson, also a freshman, was 66th in 23:07.

Tom Southard

Amanda Harrison, senior, qualified for the state meet for the Banner County Wildcats.

Kimball coaches credited Muneio with working hard the past week to get ready for District and were happy with his performance as well as Miss Flores, who gives maximum effort at all times. “We had hopes for qualifying our teams but knew it would be hard and take extreme top times from all of our kids to accomplish this,” said coach Tiffany Johnson.

“We were really hoping that Kailey (Dickerson) and Mitchell (Shields) could also qualify but we thank them both for all they have done for the program this season, and especially to Mitchell for his outstanding career” she said.

Flores will run in the Class D girl’s race to go off at 2 p.m. Central Time on Friday with Muneio to run in the D boys’ race at 3 p.m. central time tomorrow.


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