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Woody Greeno Cross Country meet brings new experience for freshmen runners
Abby Richter
Antelope Staff
Photo by Abby Richter
Team captain Thomas Neemann finishes up his race where he finished 59th out 341 runners.

Usually, a regular season high school cross country meet doesn’t have more than 100 runners.  This weekend’s Woody Greeno Cross Country Invite, held on Sept. 19, was a different case for the freshman runners at UNK.

As the UNK girls lined up and waited for their race to start, 256 other anxious runners accompanied them.  Despite the fret and nerves that this race brings to many, freshman Lauren Kongsjord, a visual communications major from Seward, felt that the meet was a great experience.  

“It was fun, but it was really weird to start out with so many people ahead of me,” Kongsjord said.  “In high school I was usually more towards the front of the pack, and it is just a completely different experience when you’re running with 256 other girls.”

On the other hand, the men's race had a few more competitors, as the total number of runners who crossed the finish line was 341.  Freshman Travis Walker, an industrial distribution major from Kearney, had mixed feelings about the race.  “I liked the atmosphere, but I didn’t like how I raced because with so many people, I got behind and boxed in,” Walker said. “All in all though, I like college races more because the competition is at a higher level and the atmosphere is awesome.”  

Overall Coach Brady Bonsall was really pleased with the freshmen at this meet.  

“I think that by having the UNK Twilight meet two weeks ago, it helped the freshmen get a lot of their nerves out about running their first college race,” Bonsall said.  “Even though it [UNK Twilight] didn’t have near the amount of runners as the Woody Greeno meet, it was good to get a race out of the way so that the freshmen wouldn’t be coming into their first college race with 250 to 350 runners.”

Bonsall did try to ease the freshmen by giving them a little bit of strategy.  “I told some of the freshmen last night to take a race of 300 runners and break it down by finding a teammate and running with them,” Bonsall said. 

“This is especially true of the men’s team because there isn’t a lot of difference between the sixth and 12th runners, so it is easier for them to find a teammate to run with.”

The women’s team finished 15th out of 27 teams overall and the men’s team finished fifth out of 26 teams overall.  The Lopers will compete again at South Dakota on Oct. 3.


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