Norfolk Catholic's Jonah Heng

Norfolk Catholic's Jonah Heng won the Class D boys race at the Nebraska state cross country meet on Friday at the Kearney Country Club.

KEARNEY, Neb. — Jonah Heng wasn’t expecting a free-for-all down the stretch, but he was ready when it came.

The Norfolk Catholic senior beat two runners from his district in Friday’s Class D boys race — after defending champion Elijah Frasher of David City Aquinas went down — to join older brother Jarren (Class C 2008, 2009) as a state champion.

Heng led Norfolk Catholic to the boys team title, its first since 2009, while running faster than 17 minutes for the first time. The Knights finished with 61 points to 68 for Malcolm, last year’s champion.

“I went out with a good mindset today, knowing I could possibly get in the top five,” Heng said. “Just some things fell into place where I put myself in position the last 1,000 to make an impact.”

It started with Frasher not at his peak. The junior finished but was disqualified for being aided in getting up after falling during the race.

“He looked like he wasn’t on his game today. He was dying at the last 1,000,” Heng said. “That opened up opportunities for us to sneak past him.”

Heng was third, behind Crofton’s Jake Neuhalfen and Stanton’s Trenton Cadwallader, going into the homestretch at Kearney Country Club.

“A sprint to the finish, that’s what it’s been,” Heng said. “We’ve been battling all season long, and it feels great to finally get them at the end.”

Rylee Rice of Ainsworth ditched her strategy and ran away with the Class D girls title.

The freshman said she intended to stay with Hastings St. Cecilia senior Madison Hucke for most of the race. Instead, she took the lead after the first mile and breezed to the win.

Aquinas ended Crofton’s state-record 10-year hold on the Class D girls team title. Led by Frasher’s freshman sister Alex, the Monarchs finished with 71 points to 82 for Rice’s Bulldogs.

Rice became the first to break 19 minutes in the four years of the girls running 5,000 meters at state. She finished in 18:34.3 for a 40-second win.

BOYS

Team results: Norfolk Catholic 61, Malcolm 68, Stanton 75, Ainsworth 77, Dundy County-Stratton 83, Crofton 109, Thayer Central 135, Yutan 165, Bridgeport 166, Doniphan-Trumbull 185, Plainview 187, East Butler 191, Boyd County 196, Kimball 202, McCool Junction 210, Gibbon 235, Bertrand/Loomis 263, ECO 282.

Individual results: 1, Jonah Heng, NC, 16:55.1. 2, Trenton Cadwallader, Stanton, 16:58. 3, Jake Neuhalfen, Crofton, 17:03.8. 4, Benjamin Arens, Ainsworth, 17:17. 5, Brandon Barker, Kimball, 17:20.8. 6, Mason Timm, Yutan, 17:27. 7, Ty Shaw, Malcolm, 17:27.7. 8, Riley Nichols, ECO, 17:27.7. 9, Bailey Peckham, DCS, 17:28. 10, Devyn Beekman, Malcolm, 17:28.7. 11, Gage Delimont, Ainsworth, 17:29.3. 12, Trevor Doffin, Stanton, 17:33.3. 13, Brentyn Wetovick, Fullerton, 17:38.3. 14, Declan Jeffries, Bridgeport, 17:40.6. 15, Jacob Sinsel, Ainsworth, 17:47.

GIRLS

Team results: David City Aquinas 71, Ainsworth 82, McCool Junction 85, Malcolm 94, Norfolk Catholic 108, Hastings St. Cecilia 132, Crofton 133, North Central 136, Stanton 139, Harvard 177, Wilber-Clatonia 179, Hitchcock County 190, Elwood 191, Plainview 217, Bridgeport 218, North Platte St. Patrick’s 231, Ravenna 261, Shelton 290.

Individual results: 1, Rylee Rice, Ainsworth, 18:34.3. 2, Cameron Hucke, HSC, 19:14. 3, Haley Arens, Crofton, 19:35. 4, Madison Lambley, DCS, 19:47.1. 5, Madison Quist, DT, 20:01. 6, Kaitlyn Roach, DT, 20:04.2. 7, Amanda Aerts, EB, 20:16.5. 8, Tiffany Dickau, Elwood, 20:24.3. 9, Emily Pogue, Yutan, 20:34.1. 10, Sable Lambley, DCS, 20:36. 11, Audrey Stelling, NC, 20:36.2. 12, Amanda Mote, HC, 20:45.7. 13, Bree Eisenhauer, Bloomfield, 20:47. 14, Elizabeth Fields, Harvard, 20:49. 15, Alexandria Frasher, DCA, 20:58.

Reporter - High school sports

Stu is The World-Herald's lead writer for high school sports and for golf. Follow him on Twitter @stuOWH. Phone: 402-444-1041.

Commenting is limited to Omaha World-Herald subscribers. To sign up, click here.

If you're already a subscriber and need to activate your access or log in, click here.

Load comments

You must be a full digital subscriber to read this article You must be a digital subscriber to view this article.