Ainsworth Cross Country Girls Win Broken Bow Invite and Boys Take 3rd

Strong thunderstorms and lightning in the area could only temporarily slow the Ainsworth Cross Country teams’ warm-up Saturday, September 9th during the Broken Bow Invitational.

After sitting on the bus for over an hour in an attempt to let the severe weather pass, the Ainsworth Cross Country squad made good use of the cooler than forecasted morning to race to some impressive marks. Highlighting the morning was the Ainsworth girls’ team victory over the always-impressive Broken Bow Invite teams and the individual wins of sophomore Rylee Rice in the girls division and junior Ben Arens in the high school boys.

Four medalists paced the Ainsworth ladies on their way to the victory. Rice led the way and picked up the win with a time of 19:36.1. With the meet having a new distance, this will count as the Broken Bow Invite meet record. Rice built a huge lead by the end and defeated runner-up Katie Roach of Doniphan-Trumbull by 52 seconds. Following Rice was freshman CeeAnna Beel. Beel ran 21:41.5 to capture the 6th place medal. Senior Elizabeth Salzman had a great early season meet, with a 21:58.9 to finish in 10th place. Freshman Molly Salzman would grab a medal as she crossed in 18th place with a time of 22:25.2. Junior Mikki Arens would finish in 32nd with a time of 24:44.6. Freshman Cailin Orton easily had her best outing of her young career as she crossed in 45th place with a time of 25:05.3.

Ainsworth won easily in the team scoring by putting up a very impressive low score of 29. Minden was second with 69 points. Cozad was third with 71, while Broken Bow scored 74 points. North Platte St. Patrick’s rounded out the top five of thirteen full teams present. Ainsworth’s win was just the second in school history at the Broken Bow Invite. The last win for the girls came in 2004.

On the boys side, Arens led a group of three Bulldogs to the medal stands. Arens ran well and broke away from the 2016 Class C State Cross Country champion, Aidan Wheelock of Minden, shortly after the mile to pickup the win. Due to the new course, Arens’ time will also count as a new meet record, as he crossed in 16:39.4. Not far behind Arens was senior Sinsel. Sinsel ran a strong race as he gathered a third place medal, crossing with a time of 17:26.6. Junior Trey Schlueter made it three Bulldogs in the top ten as he finished 9th with a time of 18:25.4. Tate Fernau completed Ainsworth’s scoring as he crossed 90th with a time of 22:16.1. Senior Luke Peters was 104th in 22:57.8. Junior Henry Beel was 125th with a time of 24:54.5.

In the team scoring, McCook’s balance proved to be too much as they won easily, scoring 30 points. Doniphan-Trumbull was second with 57 points. Ainsworth led a close group of teams by finishing third with 80 points. St. Paul was fourth with 83 points, while host, Broken Bow, was fifth with 88 points.

On the middle school girls side, it was Allison Arens leading the way for the Bulldogs. She crossed the line in a time of 7:15.8, which was good for 19th place. Maren Arens was 40th in 8:19.3. Allison Cole ran to a large personal best as she crossed in 8:59.1, good for 44th. Jayden Keezer was 46th with a time of 9:23.9.

On the middle school boys side, Ben Flynn picked up the lone medal for the Bulldogs as he finished in 8th place with a time of 6:11.5. Corbin Swanson easily had the best outing of his young career as he finished in 29th place with a time of 7:03.5. Dylan Peacock was 32nd with a time of 7:09.9. Atley Titus was 46th in 7:34.9. Grant Taylor established a new personal best, finishing with a time of 7:40.0. Taylor’s time was good for 49th place. Keith Cole survived a fall to finish 64th with a time of 8:24.5. Ethan Arens was 73rd with a time of 9:07.1.

“Overall, I am pleased with where we are at right now,” commented head coach Jared Hansmeyer. “With a new course distance, it’s impossible to break down numbers and get a good feel for how we ran, but any time you can come down to this meet (Broken Bow) and compete with the top teams, then you’re usually going to be alright. For us to get better, we need to see our gaps continue to close. We know we have quality runners at the front, but we need to see some 1-4 and 1-6 gaps shrink under the two-minute mark on the girls’ side and under three minutes on the boys’ side. If we can do that, then we’ll be alright. For our girls, this was a nice win today. Broken Bow team titles are rare for us, so this was special. Next week is an always tough Crofton team, so we’ll see if we can get the legs back under us and set ourselves up to be dangerous when it matters in five weeks.”

The Bulldogs will be back in action this Friday, September 15th at the O’Neill Invite. Races are scheduled to begin at 3:30 p.m. with the high school girls at the O’Neill Country Club.

Team Scores

High School Girls: 1. Ainsworth - 29, 2. Minden - 69, 3. Cozad - 71, 4. Broken Bow - 74, 5. North Platte St. Pat’s - 78, 6. Gothenburg - 102,

7. Hershey - 109, 8. McCook - 127,

9. Ord - 145, 10. Maxwell - 152, 11. Eustis-Farnam/Med. Valley - 198,

12. Arcadia-Loup City - 218 and 13. Sandhills/Thedford - 232.

High School Boys: 1. McCook - 30,

2. Doniphan-Trumbull - 57, 3. Ainsworth - 80, 4. St. Paul - 83, 5. Broken Bow - 89, 6. Minden - 116, 7. Ord - 118,

8. Gothenburg - 126, 9. Cozad - 130,

10. North Platte St. Pat’s - 172, 11. Hershey - 186, 12. Valentine - 206,

13. Arcadia-Loup City - 222 and 14. Elwood - 225.

Middle School Girls: 1. McCook - 18, 2. Cozad - 37, 3. Minden - 51,

4. Broken Bow - 59, 5. Doniphan-Trumbull - 71 and 6. Ainsworth - 88.

Middle School Boys: 1. Cozad - 41,

2. Minden - 48, 3. McCook - 65, 4. Doniphan-Trumbull - 83, 5. Valentine - 86, 6. St. Paul - 91, 7. Ainsworth - 93, 8. Hershey - 104 and 9. North Platte St. Pat’s - 112.

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