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Running Down the Competition: Knights XC Takes on State Meet


Run it Back Knights’ juniors Oliver Sorensen, Michael Rodgers, and Jackson Teetor pose with their medals after placing in the C-1 district meet. The cross country team has won the district meet in back-to-back seasons now, placing five of their six runners in the top 15 this year. 

After a rough finish to start the previous season, the 2023 Mount Michael Knights cross country team is hoping for some redemption. Heading into the 2022 State Cross Country Meet, the Mount Michael Knights were the fourth ranked team in Class B. The Knights were hot after winning the B-2 district meet, as well as three others and top five finishes at the rest.  

It was a warm October day with a high of about 77 degrees. Hosted at Kearney Country Club, the state course is known as one of the hardest courses in the state due to its hilly terrain and few shaded areas along the course. As they went down the list of the top ten teams, the Knights’ hope grew of obtaining a high placement. The officials concluded the list and announced the champions. The Knights’ name was never called out that day, finishing in eleventh place out of twelve teams. 

Coming into the 2023 cross country season, the NSAA announced the classifications for the upcoming season. Due to many new schools being created in Lincoln as well as Omaha, the Knights were moved to Class C. Even though they are similar in size, the two classes have vastly different levels of competition. The competition in Class C is a lot less concentrated as there are only a few schools with multiple runners in the top fifteen overall rankings.  

The Knights started the season ranked second in the state and entered the state competition in third behind Gothenburg and Lincoln Christian. The Knights are led by a strong junior and freshman class. Michael Rodgers ‘25 and Oliver Sorensen ‘25 have been the consistent top runners on the team for the entire season but are joined by Jack Carda ‘25 and Jackson Teetor ‘25. Due to the small number of runners in the senior class, these four have had to step up as leaders for the entire team. 

Throughout the season, the Knights have won two other meets this year, including the inaugural Platte River Rumble. This was the most anticipated race coming into the season since it would be hosting some of the top teams in the state. The Knights came out victorious in large part due to breakout performances by the freshmen, Max Teetor ‘27 and Mesach Nkurubujango ‘27. After this race, they cemented their spots on the varsity squad for the remainder of the season. 

The third ranked Knights entered the C-2 district meet as heavy favorites, although the fourth and fifth ranked teams were also there. Meeting expectations, the team’s top five runners all placed in the top 15 at the meet. Jackson, Rodgers, and Sorensen placed fourth, fifth and sixth respectively, propelling the team to victory. This gave the team lots of confidence heading into the state meet the following week. 

The next week came and went and soon enough the Knights were in Kearney, warming up for the state meet. Emotions were high, since the Knights knew they had a chance at the championship, if the entire team ran to their potential. Once the race started, the Mount Michael runners all settled into their paces being right where they needed to be. As they race progressed, the Knights’ frontrunners, Rodgers and Sorensen, held their spots in the top 10 and the rest of the team started slowly picking off opposing teams’ runners, and bettering Mount Michael’s team score. With about one kilometer to go, Sorensen began having leg issues, due to fatigue. This was detrimental to the Knights’ score as he ended up finishing the race in 98th place. They ended up finishing in third place, sitting 19 points behind first place and 12 points behind second place as projected, but everyone wonders how it could have been different. 

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About the Contributor
Jackson Teetor
Jackson Teetor, Reporter & Photographer
Jackson joined The Mount Journalism team in 2023. Teetor also participates in baseball, cross country, wrestling, and investment club.
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