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State cross country meet had record attendance

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State cross country

South Sioux City runners cheer on their teammates in the boys race during the state cross country championship on Oct. 21 at the Kearney Country Club.

For the second year in a row, a record number of spectators attended the high school state cross country meet.

There were 7,609 spectators combined for the eight races on Oct. 21 at the Kearney Country Club, which is believed to be a record for all-time attendance. It marks the second year in a row that attendance topped 7,500.

When the gates opened, there was a line that stretched about 100 yards to enter the course.

Attendance this year likely got a boost from warm and dry weather that day. There were also some noteworthy races, including Hartington-Newcastle’s Carson Noecker making state cross country history. Noecker won the Class C race to become the first four-time individual boys champ, regardless of class. And the Lincoln East girls team won its fifth straight state championship.

While the number of runners who qualify for state is similar each year, participation in cross country has gone up at several schools in recent years, and many of those athletes go to state to watch. At Lincoln Southwest, there were 128 runners combined for boys and girls.

State cross country meet attendance


2022 7,609

2021 7,586

2020 6,754

2019 6,175

2018 6,262

2017 6,249

2016 6,408

2015 6,093

2014 5,499

2013 5,869

2012 5,477

2011 5,846

2010 5,300

Reach the writer at 402-473-7435 or On Twitter @LJSSportsWagner.


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Husker volleyball/women's basketball reporter

Brent Wagner has worked at the Journal Star for 19 years, including 11 years covering the Nebraska volleyball program. His other beats include Nebraska women’s basketball, high school cross country and high school soccer.

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