KEARNEY, Neb. — Thomas Feichtinger was a surprised runaway winner Friday in the Class B boys cross country meet.
“I knew I had a target on my back,” the Elkhorn Mount Michael senior said. “I expected guys to be right on me. They let me go, I guess.”
Feichtinger finished nearly 19 seconds ahead of Lexington senior and defending champion Frankin Ibarra in a time of 16:00.4. He’s the first individual champion from Mount Michael, which has seven team titles but couldn’t overtake defending champion Scottsbluff on Friday for an eighth.
“When you go to a high school you love, you want to make your mark,” Feichtinger said. “I think I have at Mount Michael.”
Lexington sophomore Odaliz Santoyo-Garcia gave her school its first individual champion. Lincoln Pius X won its eighth girls team title with George O’Boyle as coach, but its first since 2007.
Feichtinger’s emotions were much different than at last year’s meet, when he was sick and ran with “crackers and Pepto-Bismol” as his nourishment.
“After the second mile, my coach (John Gathje) was yelling, ‘Redemption, redemption,’” he said. “It still brings tears when I think about last year.”
Santoyo-Garcia, who was more than eight seconds ahead of Pius X’s Megan Drozda, had been runner-up in her district.
“I have come so far,” she said. “This is a memory I won’t forget. It’s maybe only something you get once in a lifetime, so I will remember it always.”
Scottsbluff’s boys had three runners in the top seven — Anthony Parra in third, Matthew Barraza in fourth and Justin Pritchard in seventh.
The Bearcats won their 12th team title overall and ninth since 1996 in Class B with 27 points. Mount Michael, with John Cronin sixth, was at 45.
Pius’ Drozda had two teammates in the top 10 — Sarah Nickman in eighth and Megan Asselin in 10th — and all six Thunderbolt runners were in the top 30.
They finished with 28 points to 47 for Seward, which was seeking a third consecutive title.
Contact the writer: