The Boone Central Cardinals completed their quest for a two-year unbeaten record and second straight state title Friday in the 2020 Nebraska State Cross Country Championships at the Kearney Country Club.
Proving their hopes and goals were far from impossible, the Boone Central girls braved biting temperatures and parlayed two medalists, a strong third runner and their outstanding team depth into the Class C state championship, finishing 26 points ahead of runner-up Douglas County West.
No, not impossible – an incredible two seasons.
Boone Central capped an undefeated 2019 campaign that included Mid-State Conference and district championships with the Class C crown one year ago in Kearney. The Cardinals returned every runner, plus senior Sam Weeder, a past state medalist who missed the entire ‘19 season with injury.
With targets on their backs, the BC girls shrugged off any pressure and all challenges in 2020, again winning conference and district titles, and finally the second state championship.
As had been the case all season, Friday’s performance featured Boone Central’s stellar depth. Senior Jordan Stopak led the Cards with a third-place finish, with sophomore Alicia Weeder not far behind in seventh. Sam Weeder placed 18th among team competition runners to give BC a huge boost as third runner, and Autumn Simons (47th) put the final nail in the coffin of Cardinal challengers.
That’s what champions are made of.
“The girls ran so well Friday,” Card Coach Justin Harris acknowledged. “We talked about the weather and being prepared for it all week. I think that was an advantage for us, as we have so many runners who have experienced different weather conditions throughout their careers.
“We asked Jordan and Alicia to be in the top ten in the first couple miles, but not be out in front. Then, at the two-mile mark, just to see what they had left. They both ran excellent races and executed the plan well.
“Sam ran her best race of the season, and it proved to be the most deciding factor for us winning. She beat every other number three runner and even beat some teams’ number one! I’m so happy she was able to compete again at a high level (this season). Autumn ran a smart race and did what we needed her to do.
“We knew going in that it was going to need to be a total team effort, and that is what we got,” Harris said.
Further details on state cross country in Print & Online editions of Albion News