KEARNEY, Neb. — Two returning state champions and four area teams qualified highlight the regional entries in the Nebraska State Cross Country Meet, today (Friday) at Kearney Country Club in Kearney, Nebraska.

Hartington junior Carson Noecker will be going for a third consecutive Class C boys’ state title. He will face a tough field that includes seven other runners who finished in the top 15 a year ago.

Noecker will be joined at state by his full team: senior Parker Albers, juniors Isaac Kuehn, Alan Santiago and Lukas Wortmann, and freshman Cole Rosener.

Also in Class C, Bloomfield-Wausa junior Addison Smith will look to build on his 13th place finish in Class D a year ago.

The Bloomfield-Wausa girls return two runners who have top-15 finishes in Class D on their resumes. Junior Christina Martinson placed ninth each of the past two years. Senior Darla Nelson was 14th in 2019.

Hartington qualified two runners for state, senior Jessica Opfer and freshman Ava Noecker.

Also competing for Bloomfield-Wausa, which finished third in Class D a year ago, are senior Emily Woockman, junior Madie Ziegler, sophomore Carrylee Martinson and freshman Tiernee Freeman. All but Woockman and Freeman ran at state a year ago.

In Class D, Crofton sophomore Jordyn Arens will look to defend her state title. She will be challenged by Hastings St. Cecilia junior Alayna Vargas, the 2019 champion and runner-up a year ago, as well as the other three runners who finished in the top five in 2020: Katherine Kerrigan of Ainsworth (third), Hannah Swanson of Nebraska Christian (fourth) and Callie Coble of Mullen (fifth).

Five other runners who finished in the top 15 a year ago return.

Also running for Crofton, which finished 10th as a team a year ago, are seniors Kiera Altwine and Ashley Tramp, sophomore Elizabeth Wortmann and freshman Rylie Arens. Altwine and Wortmann ran at state a year ago.

Niobrara-Verdigre senior Michaela Ravenkamp also qualified for the Class D girls’ race.

The Laurel-Concord-Coleridge squad and two other area runners are qualified for the Class D boys’ race.

Laurel-Concord-Coleridge will feature senior Dillon Olson, sophomore Tyler Olson and freshmen Koby Detlefsen, Carter Korth and Preston Rose. Crofton senior Austin Guenther and Ponca sophomore Brody Taylor, both state meet competitors a year ago, will also compete in the race.

Competition begins at noon with the Class D girls’ race, followed by the Class C girls at 12:30 p.m., Class D boys at 1 p.m. and Class C boys at 1:30 p.m.

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