KEARNEY — The final race of his high school cross country career proved to be a memorable and a history-making one for Bridgeport senior Cody Franklin.
Already a four-time state qualifier, Franklin became the first runner in Bridgeport High School history to win a state championship when he topped the field of the Class D state meet on Friday at the Kearney Country Club.
“It feels really good. I trained four years for this,” Franklin said. “It wasn’t my fastest time. But for the course and the circumstances, I would honestly say it was my best run ever.”
Franklin finished first with a time of 16 minutes, 33.9 seconds. He pulled away from a trio of Lincoln Christian runners, who swept the next three places. Franklin crossed the finish line eight seconds ahead of runner-up Jahn Landrigan of Lincoln Christian (16:41.9).
Sticking to his strategy, Franklin settled in near the front end of the pack for the majority of the race. At just the right spot on the course, he made his move to the front before kicking it into another gear to pull away.
“I sat back for most of the race and wanted to really take off going up the final hill to the finish line. I was fourth about the whole way until I got to that point,” Franklin said. “I slowly moved up as other people started slowing down and I finally took the lead going up the hill. I kept my speed going all the way up and then just held on from there.”
Enjoying success at the state meet is nothing new for Franklin. After finishing 42nd during his freshman year, he collected an eighth-place medal as a sophomore and a fourth-place medal last year as a junior. Right at the conclusion of last year’s race at state, Franklin immediately took aim at a top finish this year.
“After finishing fourth behind three seniors last year, I really set my sights on winning it this year,” he said. “I trained hard over the summer, trusted my coach, and was able to get it done.”
Franklin, who finished second at last week’s district meet, said he felt proud to become Bridgeport’s first cross country state champion and couldn’t have asked for a better ending.
“I couldn’t ask for a better way to end my season,” he said. “I have a great coach [Craig Johnson] and I’m glad I was able to get him his first cross country state title.”
Two other local boys competed in the Class D state meet. Kimball’s Ryan Muneio finished 48th in a time of 18:23.6 and Kimball’s Mitchell Shields was 75th in 19:04.4.
In the girls Class D state meet, Bayard freshman Montana Belford just missed out on a medal in her first state competition. Belford finished 16th with a time of 16:17.7.
Kimball’s Laura Flores ran to a 19th-place finish in 16:25.4 and Banner County’s Amanda Harrison placed 47th in 17:22.9.
The Crawford girls finished 15th in the final team standings. Sara Tweet led the Rams with a 51st-place finish in a time of 17:27.4. Also for Crawford, Sharla Maginnis was 78th in 18:45.1, Bryttnee Lemmon was 81st in 18:46.6 and Rachel Nixon was 113th in 21:29.2.
Class D Boys
1, Nebraska Christian, 46. 2, Ainsworth, 71. 3, Stanton, 75. 4, Crofton, 76. 5, Yutan, 88. 6, McCool Junction, 112. 7, Kenesaw, 125. 8, Paxton, 129. 9, Ord, 129. 10, Grand Island Central Catholic, 152. 11, CWC, 167. 12, Hastings St. Cecilia, 171. 13, Dundy County Stratton, 184. 14, North Platte St. Patrick’s, 205. 15, Shelton, 238.
1, Cody Franklin, Bridgeport, 16:33.9. 2, Jahn Landrigan, Nebraska Christian, 16:41.9. 3, Hans Epp, Nebraska Christian, 16:52.2. 4, Warren Dexter, Nebraska Christian, 17:01.1. 5, Kellan Willet, Malcolm, 17:01.4. 6, Andrew Fields, Ord, 17:07.1. 7, Garrett Perlinger, Paxton, 17:09.5. 8, Daniel Greblunas, Yutan, 17:21.6. 9, Zachary Welch, Ainsworth, 17:23.1. 10, Brett Pacha, West Holt, 17:29.9. 11, Coleman Cogswell, McCool Junction, 17:32.3. 12, Lane Tibbs, Kenesaw, 17:36.9. 13, Dexter Patterson, Stanton, 17:40.3. 14, John Walnofer, CWC, 17:40.8. 15, Drew Eskins, Crofton, 17:41.9.
Local Individual Finishers
1, Cody Franklin, Bridgeport, 16:33.9. 48, Ryan Muneio, Kimball, 18:23.6. 75, Mitchell Shields, Kimball, 19:04.4.
Class D Girls
1, Crofton, 23. 2, North Platte St. Patrick’s, 76. 3, Malcolm, 80. 4, Bertrand/Loomis, 108. 5, Stanton, 120. 6, Ord, 126. 7, Thayer Central, 131. 8, West Holt, 141. 9, Ainsworth, 143. 10, Perkins County, 152. 11, Oakland-Craig, 158. 12, Weeping Water, 161. 13, LHF/HSF, 172. 14, Elba/North Loup-Scotia, 203. 15, Crawford, 204.
1, Marissa Dewispelare, Aquinas Catholic, 15:08.8. 2, Danielle Riesberg, Crofton, 15:47.1. 3, Mackenzie Gray, Winside, 15:51.5. 4, Logan Clark, Ainsworth, 15:59.4. 5, Katherine Lansman, Ord, 16:03.6. 6, Braska Patterson, Stanton, 16:05.4. 7, Kendy Kube, Crofton, 16:05.7. 8, Kelsey Randall, Franklin, 16:08.8. 9, Sarah Pogue, Yutan, 16:09.2. 10, Breana Gallup, Bloomfield, 16:11.9. 11, Emily Locke, Malcolm, 16:13.7. 12, Alyssa Kinning, Ainsworth, 16:14.4. 13, Quinn Wragge, Crofton, 16:14.8. 14, Tiffany Tramp, Crofton, 16:15.0. 15, Lexi Hoffman, Doniphan-Trumbull, 16:15.8.
Local Individual Finishers
16, Montana Belford, 16:17.7. 19, Laura Flores, Kimball, 16:25.4. 47, Amanda Harrison, Banner County, 17:22.9. 51, Sara Tweet, Crawford, 17:27.4. 78, Sharla Maginnis, Crawford, 18:45.1. 81, Bryttnee Lemmon, Crawford, 18:46.6. 113, Rachel Nixon, Crawford, 21:29.2.