Antelope County runners earned 11 All-Conference honors at the Niobrara Valley Conference cross country meet on Friday.
Allison Stineman of Elkhorn Valley was the NVC conference champion with a time of 19:11. Also earning honors were Neligh-Oakdale's Emma Bixler with a 4th place finish in 19:46, followed by her teammates Hailey Bixler in 13th (22:57) and Rachel Higgins in 14th (23:09).
In the boys race, conference honors went to Hunter Bennett of EV in 2nd with a time of 16:42, followed by Brayden Effle of EV in 4th (16:52), Cole Belitz of N-O in 6th (17:08), Griffin Claussen of N-O in 11th (17:56), Christian Carothers of N-O in 12th (17:57), Damian Smith of EV in 14th (18:22), and Dillon Stewart of EV in 15th (18:25).
Neligh-Oakdale Coach Rick Eickholt was impressed with his team's efforts.
"Six All-Conference honorees ties the highest number we've achieved in one year," Eickholt said. "I'm especially proud of our only senior that raced today, as Rachel (Higgins) had a great charge down the last 800 meters to move her up 6 places and gain her first-ever All-Conference honors for cross country. Cole earned All-Conference honors for the third straight year and will have a chance next year to be our first-ever four time All-Conference honoree."
He said many runners ran their all-time personal bests, and Emma Bixler and Cole Belitz both set new school records for 5K races. Emma's time of 19:46 was 9 seconds faster than the old record held by Kasi Grosserode, and Cole ran a 17:08, breaking his own record set earlier in the year (17:34).
Those surpassing barriers they've never reached before were Emma 19 minutes; Hailey 22 minutes; Christian and Griffin 17 minutes; Cameron 18 minutes; Logan 19 minutes; and Dominque 22 minutes.
High school results:
Girls - 1. Allison Stineman, EV, 19:11; 4. Emma Bixler, N-O, 19:46; 13. Hailey Bixler, N-O,
22:57; 14. Rachel Higgins, N-O, 23:09; 18. Madi Grosserode, N-O, 23:46; and 24. Audrey Chvala, EV, 30:14. The Neligh-Oakdale girls finished 3rd overall in team scoring.
Boys - 2. Hunter Bennett, EV, 16:42; 4. Brayden Effle, EV, 16:52; 6. Cole Belitz, N-O, 17:08; 11. Griffin Claussen, N-O, 17:56; 12. Christian Carothers, N-O, 17:57; 14. Damian Smith, EV, 18:22; 15. Dillon Stewart, EV, 18:25; 16. Cameron Wilkinson, N-O, 18:26; 18. Isaiah Greenhalgh, EV, 18:49; 24. Logan McConnell, N-O, 19:47; and 34. Dominque Wright, N-O, 22:30. The Elkhorn Valley boys earned 3rd as a team and Neligh-Oakdale was 4th.
In the junior high division, seven Antelope County runners earned medals at the NVC meet.
Elkhorn Valley's Carney Black was 2nd in the JH girls race with a time of 10:03, followed by teammate Taylor Hasebroock in 6th (10:21) to claim medals for the falcons. Amaya Smith and Madison Schaffer, both of EV, finished in 14th and 16th, respectively.
In the JH boys race, medalists were Colten Rystrom of EV in 4th place (9:26); Ian Larson of EV 5th (9:29); Thomas Johnson of N-O 7th (9:44); Walter Furstenau of EV 8th (9:51); and Ashton Higgins of N-O 9th (9:53). Others competing in the boys race were Conner Klein of EV 11th (10:11); Nate Halsey of EV 13th (10:15); Dylan Wright of EV 14th (10:34); Vance Chance of N-O 15th (10:56); and Ethan Gregory of N-O 22nd (14:21).
Eickholt said Thomas Johnson and Ashton Higgins "both shaved about 20 seconds off of their times from the same course earlier this year to gain conference medals in the JH race."
Antelope County high school runners will compete again next week in separate district meets on Thursday, Oct. 12. Neligh-Oakdale will run in the D-5 meet at the Ainsworth Municipal Golf Course, and Elkhorn Valley will compete in the D-2 meet at the Twin Creeks Golf Club in Pender. The N-O girls race is set to begin at 4 p.m., and the EV girls race will begin at 4:30 p.m. The boys races will follow.