Published Friday, October 25, 2013 at 12:01 am / Updated at 1:59 am
Cross Country
'Dog wins gold as McGuire claims first in boys race

KEARNEY — When Wyatt McGuire reflects back on his high school cross country career, the North Platte senior will find plenty of highlights.

McGuire capped off what was already a stellar four years at the 2013 Nebraska State Cross Country Championships on Friday with a gold medal performance, not only in Class A but also as the all-class champion.

McGuire ran away from the competition in the final stretch, beating his nearest competitor by just under 20 seconds in a time of 15 minutes, 26.6 seconds. Finishing in second was Millard West's Seth Hirsch in 15:45.8.

Hirsch a freshman, was undefeated heading into the state meet. He and teammate Austin Post were the only two to beat McGuire earlier this year at the University of Nebraska at Kearney Invitational on the same Kearney Country Club course. Post finished in fourth on Friday behind Millard South's Reno Law.

McGuire's brother Brady won the Class A competition in 2009, giving the McGuire family two individual state championships in cross country. But Wyatt's time especially impressed North Platte coach Dennis Fornander.

"Both of the McGuires had great races [at state] but this was just phenominal," Fornander said. "That's one of the fastest times run in the state of Nebraska. To do it in that style is just amazing."

McGuire's time is the third fastest all time in Nebraska at 5000 meters and the second fastest on the present course. The 2012 champion, Joseph Harter of Millard West, ran the distance in 15:22.9 and Nate Nielsen of Lincoln Southeast ran 15:15 in 1987 on a different course setup. Wyatt's third-place time of 15:49.8 in 2012 could have won many of the competitions in the last 40-plus years.

McGuire hung back at the beginning of the race but caught up with Hirsch a little after 1000 meters. McGuire and Hirsch pulled away from the pack after the first mile and McGuire dropped Hirsch on the hill about the two-mile mark to pull away..

So what was the difference from the earlier competition against Hirsch?

"I had been battling some sickness," McGuire said. "I worked really hard and got better in my workouts, ran a lot farther and just peaked at the right time I guess."

The wind was a factor with gusts in excess of 20 mph, but Wyatt didn't seem to be bothered.

"It was a little windy but with all the people around me I didn't feel it very much," McGuire said. "Having everybody cheering me on — it just went really good.

"I gave it everything I had. It's my senior year and being at state I just gave it everything I had."

McGuire said he wasn't sure if a brother combination had ever combined for state titles in the sport.

"I don't know if two brothers have ever won state before," he said. "Winning it four years apart is something really special. We also got to run on the same team my freshman year and that was really cool."

Brady, who attended the meet as a spectator this time, was impressed with his younger siblings run.

"It was pretty awesome. It keeps the legacy going I guess," the older brother said. "I'm definitely proud of him — he deserves it."

So in years to come, will the favorite part be the Class A state title, the all-class gold medal, the exceptionally fast time, being a four-time medalist or running on the same team as his brother? Or will it just be the experience?

"It's awesome," McGuire said of the experience. "There's a ton [of people] out here. There's nothing like the state course. Just being out here with all these great competitors is really fun.

"I knew it would be tough competition regardless. I'm just happy it worked out how it did."

The North Platte team didn't fare as well, the Bulldogs finished in 12th with 290 points. Millard South won the Class A division with 50 points.

Fornander said despite the team placing he was impressed with his boys' effort.

"Six of the seven ran their fastest time of the year," Fornander said. "It was a great performance.

"We set a goal to be in the top 10 but when they run their best you have to be pleased."

North Platte boys placings:

1. Wyatt McGuire SR, 15:26.6; 86. Philip Hammer SR, 18:14.4; 89. Christian Bradley JR, 18:17.1; 93. Gilbert Seck SR, 18:30.4; 96. Brandon Edwards SR, 18:36.2; 99. Tanner Haws SO, 18:46.2; 103. Devin Jean FR, 20:42.8.

North Platte's lone participant on the girls side was sophomore Talia Martinez. Martinez finished 86th in a time of 22:42.2.

Mark Obermeier
Sports Reporter
Office: 308-535-4744 ext. 244
Fax: 308-532-9268 Email: mark.obermeier@nptelegraph.com

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