KEARNEY — Trevor Jacobsen nearly pulled off the stunner of the day.
The Minden senior came out of nowhere at the two-mile mark and passed 16 runners ahead of him heading into the final kick. Only Mitchell’s Levi Avila stood in his way of a Class C boys state title.
Both jockeyed for position. They couldn’t shake one another.
It didn’t come down to who wanted it more, rather who had the most left in the tank.
“It was pretty much neck-and-neck,” Jacobsen said. “Sometimes I was in front of (Avila), sometimes he was in front of me. There was no clear person running better than the other.”
By the slimmest of margins, Avila prevailed.
Less than a tenth of a second kept Jacobsen from executing the perfect race plan and stealing gold at the Nebraska High School Cross Country State Championships on Friday.
“I didn’t leave anything in my body,” said Jacobsen, who finished with a time of 17:04.5. “I pushed as hard as I could. It wasn’t quite there but that’s alright.”
The race execution was exactly the way Minden coach Shawn Wheelock drew it up.
The pace was right. There was no panic from the senior, who finished 10th at state last year. Jacobsen stuck to his strength. Avila was just too strong.
“He put a big move in at two miles because he’s not gifted with a lot of foot speed,” Wheelock said. “He’s got to pound you. (Avila) earned it. I promise you that.”
Jacobsen’s second place finish was a different story than the last time he was at the Kearney Country Club. He finished in 19th at the UNK Invite on Sept. 30, which was 75 seconds slower than his time on Friday.
The race that’s supposed to be the state indicator wasn’t so for Jacobsen.
“At the UNK Invite — he’s a very solid runner and rarely has a poor race — I don’t even remember what he got,” Wheelock said. “That wasn’t him.”
Wheelock didn’t have any concerns that Jacobsen didn’t take home a district title. Friday was the performance he expected to see.
“I wasn’t surprised. I knew he could do it. That was our plan all along,” Wheelock said. “But saying and doing it are two different things. He put in the work and earned every bit of it.”
Jacobsen ended his high school career with his finest moment. He came as close as he could’ve come to a state title.
What if he’d made his push a few strides early? What if he could’ve leaned a little further at the finish line? What if he had another 10 feet to race?
Those questions, however, won’t eat at Jacobsen. He’ll use them as motivators, not deterrents.
“It hurts. My goal was actually to win,” Jacobsen said. “In my heart it hurts but God has plans for everything. Maybe this will push me in the future if I decide to run in college. You’ve got to find something good in everything that happens.”
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