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Time Trial Determines Varsity Lineup

Graphic+by+Cole+Kalkowski+%2719
Graphic by Cole Kalkowski '19

Graphic by Cole Kalkowski '19

Graphic by Cole Kalkowski '19

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A quick saying of the Lord’s Prayer, followed shortly thereafter by some rhythmic clapping and chanting, kicked off this year’s annual cross country time trial. Each runner then gathered at the starting line to compete for one of six varsity spots before the first meet of the year.

The time trial was also a way for the coaches to gauge how the team might shape up for the season.

“[The team] is looking good so far, though we’ve got some improving to do time-wise. But, I think it’s nice that we’ve got a lot of talent. I’d say we have twelve guys that are going to be fighting for the six varsity spots, so that’ll be exciting,” Head Cross Country Coach John Gathje said.

The coaches also use the time trial to gauge the improvement of the runners from year to year.

“I enjoy the sport, and I wanted to give that enjoyment to other people,” Coach Gathje said. “I love seeing people improve, and it’s not always the top runners but the very last kid on the team, seeing how he goes from running maybe 30 minutes at the start of the season to running 25 minutes by the end. That’s always exciting. It’s always exciting.”

This year’s time trial winner, Jacob Gathje ‘20, finished the race with a commanding lead. With a time of 11 minutes, 34 seconds coaches and runners have high expectations for the varsity meet at Plattsmouth.

“I came into the race shooting to win. I was kind of sick that day, so I was kinda worried about how I would finish. And, my hamstring had been bothering me the day before, but I was still shooting to win,” Jacob Gathje said. “Now it’s time to get on with the season.”

Coming in second as the only underclassman in the top six, Jack Sorenson ‘21 finished with a time of 11 minutes, 46 seconds. He’s proud to hold an official spot on the varsity team.

“It feels great to be on varsity. It was something that I wanted to do last year, but I couldn’t quite make it, so I’m thrilled to be on varsity this year,” he said.

Sorenson always strategizes before running a race. The time trials were no different.

“I knew Jacob was gonna go out pretty fast, so I tried to find him and stick with him.” he said. “I usually try to find a fast person and stay with them as long as possible. I also ran with Koubsky because I knew that he did really well last year. … Whenever I saw someone that I thought I was going faster than, I said to myself, ‘I’ve gotta catch them,’ and it got me to second today,”

In third place, Sam Wooten ‘20, secured a time of 11 minutes, 47 seconds, just one second behind Sorenson. And fourth place went to newcomer John Schroll ‘20 with a time of 11 minutes, 49 seconds. Making varsity on one’s first year of cross country is no easy feat, but Schroll’s hard work and previous running experience led him to a successful race.

“I wasn’t expecting to make varsity, but I’m really excited to make it this year. I mean it’s my first year, and I put in a lot of good work to get here, but I can still do better. I want to keep practicing and keep going until I’m the best at Mount Michael and possibly in the state,” Schroll said.

The last two varsity spots went to Kolton Koubsky ‘20 for his time of 11 minutes, 50 seconds and to Alex Crnkovich ‘19 with a time of 12 minutes, 2 seconds. Team members are hopeful going into the season for a good showing in districts and state, but their expectations will settle after the first meet in Plattsmouth.

“We’ll have to wait and see who will make it to state,” Coach Gathje said. “Tuesday will be a good chance for us to find this out when we go to Plattsmouth because Elkhorn is there, Blair is there, and South Sioux City is there. Those are what I would think to be the top three teams in our district at this time, so if we can get close to one of those teams or pick one of them off, then I think our chances are looking pretty good for districts and maybe state.”

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