The Charlie Thorell Invitational, Seward’s home cross country meet, brings athletes from schools of all size, from Omaha Westside to David City Aquinas.
“We’re pretty proud of our meet,” SHS Coach Kurt Holliday said. “From the spectators to the runners to the kids – it’s pretty neat to see how it’s getting bigger.”
Holliday thanked everyone who chipped in to make the meet special.
“It is a big undertaking,” he said. “It’s a big team effort. We do things a lot of other meets don’t. We appreciate all the people who donate.”
Seward brought home four individual medals this year. Samantha Hughes and Keegan Beisel were sixth and 13th, respectively, for the girls, and Nathan Nottingham and Ethan Ideus were 15th and 16th for the boys.
The Bluejay girls were sixth and the boys were fifth in the team standings.
“Our goal was the top seven for both,” Holliday said. “We thought that would be pretty good with the caliber of competition.”
He was happy with Hughes's run, a 52-second improvement in her time.
"I was pleased with that top six against quality runners," he said.
Beisel was disappointed with her placing because she finished third last year, but Holliday said it's a long season and she'll get back to where she wants to be.
Karnie Gottschalk was Seward's third runner and ran well.
"As a freshman, she's still learning," Holliday said.
Liz Gokie was the fourth Bluejay to finish. Holliday said if Gottschalk and Gokie can get closer to Hughes and Beisel, the Jays will have a solid girls' team.
For the boys, Ideus ran a strong race, maybe starting faster than he should have.
"But why not?" Holliday said. "He went for it. We want them to find what they're capable of. That's part of the process."
Nottingham has been improving and gained experience and confidence last season.
"Who knows what he's capable of? The sky's the limit," Holliday said.
Brennan Taylor turned in a good race, as did Isaac Rolf and Matthew Sherman.
Michael Peery is back from an injury last season and cut over a minute off his time.
"Both teams are great to coach," Holliday said. "They are all positive and all there for each other. They want to be there and work hard."
Up next for Seward is the Aurora Invitational Friday, Sept. 13. It's a smaller meet, more like what the district meet will be, Holliday said.
"We have a good chance to get the combined trophy," he said.