KEARNEY — It just wasn't their day.
After high expectations entering the season and a goal of a top-five team finish at the state meet, the Kearney High girls team came up short Friday at the Kearney Country Club, snagging seventh place with 163 team points.
Junior Megan Sughroue led the Bearcats with a 32nd-place finish in a 20:30 time, but that was a far cry from her two top-10 finishes in the previous two state meet events and even from her district-title winning 19:52 time last week.
It may have been some bad luck — she was battling some congestion, but she also said any mistake came early in that she went out too fast at the race's beginning. By the final stretch, Sughroue was using every ounce of energy just to cross the finish line.
And it was a hilly course and a windy day that can take its toll on any runner.
“The hill right after the 3K really got to me,” Sughroue said.
Sughroue was followed by teammate Lacie Lindner in 35th with a 20:38 time. KHS' Delaney McFadden (41st), Jade Cook (47th) and Rita Schnacker (55th) rounded out the team's scoring.
While the result was a step back from the past two seasons in which the Bearcats took third in the team standings, Kearney coach Pat McFadden remained positive following Friday's race.
“Every day is a tough day,” McFadden said. “You go out there and run as hard as you can ... and we can say 'Hey, we did the best we could.'”
Added Sughroue: “All of us ran our best we could today, and that's all we can ask for.”
McFadden said Sughroue's performance at the front was fueled by a competitive nature.
“What's a race worth if you don't put it on the line and she did,” McFadden said. “She's just a great competitior and she wants to be in the race and you have to do that. She'll have more opportuntities. She really is a great competitior and she's been a phenomenal runner for us.”
Lincoln North Star's Jeralyn Poe won her third-conescutive individual title with an 18:14 5K time. The junior could complete the high school sweep with a fourth title next season. On the team side, Lincoln Southwest placed fuve runners in the top 20 to claim the team title.
Despite maybe an unsatisfying close to the season, McFadden said he'll remember this team's camraderie.
“We think sound is faster than light because we hear them before we see them,” McFadden said. “They're always talking and having a great time when they're running together. To me, that's what is important about any team. You build that unity, you feel that closeness to one another and that makes a difference when you toe the line.”
email to: email@example.com