Photo by Leland Poppe
Hirsch and McGuire, about two miles into the course.
KEARNEY-Wyatt McGuire of North Platte High School won the state cross country championship on Friday, four years after his older brother won the same honor. Wyatt, a senior, toured the Kearney Country Club course in 15 minutes and 26.6 seconds -- the best time in all classes.
"He ran a great race," North Platte Cross Country Coach Dennis Fornander said.
McGuire outran his closest competitor, Millard West freshman Seth Hirsch, by 19 seconds. He took the lead at the two-mile mark and extended it over the last 1.1 miles.
In doing so, McGuire avenged a loss to Hirsch on Sept. 30 at the UNK Invitational. On that day, Hirsch defeated McGuire by 18 seconds.
"Wyatt felt he ran erratically in that race," Fornander said. "But this time, he had a 4-minute, 54-second time in the first mile. His two-mile time was 10:10. He motored at a constant pace the whole race."
"I really feel his senior strength helped him," Fornander said. "He's worked hard for four years."
McGuire's time was the third fastest in the state meet since 1980, when the race went to a length of 5-kilometers instead of 2.5 miles.
And, it marks the fourth straight year that McGuire has medaled at state. He was 12th as a freshman, 12th as a sophomore, third as a junior and then he won it all.
"That is quite a feat," Fornander said.
Seven North Platte runners made the trip to state, and six of them had their personal best times, Fornander said.
Wyatt’s older brother Brady won the state cross country title in 2009 as a junior.
Like Wyatt, Brady took the lead that year at the two-mile mark and never gave it back.
Sophomore Talia Martinez represented the North Platte High School girls at the state meet. Martinez finished in 86th place.