The Thayer Central Titans Cross Country team held its annual Randall Smith Invitational last week on a balmy day at the Hebron Country Club golf course. The invitational is held in memory of longtime Hebron coach Randall Smith who was able to last visit the meet in 2004 when he was 90 years old. A Hebron coach for football, track and cross country, Smith trained high school athletes for 35 years, 14 of which were spent in Hebron.
During his tenure as coach of the Hebron cross country team in the 1960s, the team earned the Southern Nebraska Conference championship every year there had been a meet. In district competition, the team claimed the championship titles in 1964-65, 1969, and 1971. Hebron also won the state championship under Smith’s tutelage in 1967 and 1971. In the 14 years that Smith coached track and cross country, the teams earned a combined 80 trophies.
The day was perfectly sunny with a slight breeze aiding the runners over the course which started on the first hole fairway.
“I was very happy with our showing on our home course,” said Thayer Central coach Andy Long. “We are getting better with each meet.”
The McCool Junction boys’ team finished the boys’ race first with 31 points while the Fillmore Central girls’ team took the championship in the girls’ race with 20 points.
The Thayer Central boys finished fifth with 70 points while there are not enough girls out for Thayer Central to constitute a team.
Individually, Thayer Central’s Bailey Linton finished third for the girls in a time of 15:35.2. Fillmore Central’s Beam earned the top finished with a time of 14:48.7.
Thayer Central’s Jasmine Kovacs finished the race in 20:20.3.
For the boys, Thayer Central’s Russ Heitmann finished ninth in a time of 17:09.4 while Hastings St. Cecilia’s Portzeba finished first in 15:32.8.
Other finishes on the Titans team included Adam Hellbusch (19:23.9), Heath Fink (20:51.5), Ben Baden (21:18.2), Cameron Asche (21:18.7), Ethan Friesen (21:33.9), Caden Mikkelsen (25:05.7), and Tanner Mumm (25:36.2).
Thayer Central also attended the UNK meet on Monday. The competition includes all classes; for Class D, 203 boys representing 44 schools competed. For the girls, 164 competed.
Bailey Linton finished 25th overall with a time of 17:28, while Russ Heitmann led the boys finishing 33rd in a time of 19:22.3.
The Deshler Dragons also attended the invitational where Craig Meier finished the race in a time of 21:12.8.
The Dragons attended the UNK meet; Meier finished the race in 24:17.5. Christina Hoops finished the girls’ race in 20:35, and Mackenzie Mohrmann finished in 23:15.1.