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The Student News Site of Gretna East High School

The Wingspan

The Student News Site of Gretna East High School

The Wingspan

Graver, Lofquest, Reece hit the trail today at Class B championships

Cross country trio makes history as first-ever state qualifiers for State Championship

The first-ever state qualifiers for cross country, junior Braden Lofquest and sophomores Elliot Reece and Evynn Graver are in Kearney, Neb. today at the Kearney Country Club to represent the school in the NSAA State Cross Country Championship.

Seems pretty cool to get this exclusive title,” Lofquest said, “Especially to have state qualifiers as a first-year school.”

The girls Class B race will be at noon and the boys Class B race will be at 1 p.m. Awards will be at 2:00 p.m. 

 The team previously ran at the same location earlier in the season, on Sept. 25. Lofquest placed 2nd, Reece placed 70th and Graver placed 75th.   

“Kearney is the toughest course we run on all year,” Graver said. “The hills that we face are like none we see in regular season.” 

With the Kearney course not being their favorite course, the three are prepared and know what to expect. 

“I feel okay about the course,” Reece said, “It’s not the worst but it’s also not the best. It could either go really well or not good at all.

While these runners are the first GEHS qualifiers for the state, for Lofquest and Graver, it’s not their first time qualifying in general.  They are second-year qualifiers as they competed for Gretna High in 2022.

“I placed 10th in Class A at last year’s state meet,” Lofquest said.

Graver placed 80th last year but hopes to do better this year since she is healthier.

“This will be my second time at state cross country,” Graver said, “I went as a freshman for Gretna High when we qualified as a team. I was our fifth runner on the team, coming back from an injury that had me out most of the season.”

Injuries are a big concern for cross-country runners, especially the further they get into the season. Hyperextended muscles, shin splints, and many other injuries occur during the season.  These can pose a challenge for state.

“Physical challenges such as pain are a given with the sport of cross country,” Lofquest said.

Being uncomfortable throughout the race is expected from the three-mile effort, but Reece is still grateful for the opportunity to run.

“It feels good to be the first qualifiers, it took a lot of work to get here and it feels good that it all paid off,” Reece said.

 

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Leena Macklin, Reporter
As a first-year on staff, sophomore Leena Macklin is excited. While working her way up to the top, she earns her role on the Wingspan’s staff as a reporter. Journalism is new to her, and by preparing for this year she attended Journalism Camp at the University Of Lincoln. Outside of our newsroom, she does lots of acting and cross country in her free time. Macklin has many people she looks up to, but her journalistic inspiration is Wingspan Editor-in-Chief, Madeline Petrick, who got her to commit to Journalism.
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