The Lincoln North Star boys cross country team isn’t second anymore.
The Navigators won the team championship at the Lincoln Public Schools cross country championship Friday, ending a string of three consecutive second-place finishes at the meet.
This time the Gators were the favorites going in and delivered with a convincing 39-56 win against runner-up Lincoln East. Southwest was third.
Other highlights included some really fast races for both the boys and girls winners. North Star senior Liem Chot won the boys race in a school-record time of 15 minutes, 41 seconds, for 5,000 meters, with Chot creating quite a buzz among the spectators at Pioneers Park with one of the all-time best times on the course.
And there was also a school-record run in the girls race, with Southwest junior Bri Rinn winning in 18:49. Favorable conditions, with cool and dry conditions, aided the runners to fast times.
North Star put each of its five boys runners for the team score in the top 20. Grant Wasserman was fourth, Ethan Zaborowski was seventh, Matt Montes was 11th and Matt Dunaski was 16th.
“This feels great,” Zaborowski said. “It’s been quite a while, since 2009, so it feels great to finally bring it back to North Star and get that traveling trophy home.”
Southwest had won the city championship the previous four years.
Zaborowski was key to the Gators winning, and improved his personal record by about 10 seconds. Dunaski also had his best race of the year.
The Gators expected they’d need to beat Southwest to win the team title.
“My goal coming in here was to beat Southwest’s second runner, and I saw I was super-close to him so I used all the energy I had and tried to catch him,” Zaborowski said. “I think if I would have had 5 more meters I would have got him, but I came up a little short.”
North Star coach Matt Musiel said the underclassmen badly wanted to win the team title for Chot and Zaborowski, the two seniors on the varsity squad. It’s the fifth city championship for North Star.
“The last one for the boys was 2009, and that’s too long,” Musiel said.
Chot won the city meet a third time and gave the North Star boys program its eighth individual champion at the meet.
His time of 15:41 was both the North Star school record, improving Chot’s time of 15:50 from the state meet last year, and the course record for North Star (previously 15:54 by Mohamed Hamdan). Chot’s previous best on the course was 16:00.
Chot said he “felt amazing” during the race.
“After (3,000 meters) I was smiling because my body felt so good. I was like, 'Let’s go,’” Chot said.
Drew Snyder from Southwest finished second in 15:49.
Rinn had her eyes on the school record on the course for most of the season, and got it on her final time racing at Pioneers Park this season. The previous record was 19:04 (Anna Hurlbut in 2013.)
“Sub-19 (minutes) is kind of a big landmark for girls cross country, so it feels awesome to be able to go under that at a really difficult course,” Rinn said.
East won the girls team title for the sixth straight year. The competition for the team championship was close, with East edging runner-up Southwest 25-30.
The scoring runners from the Spartans were sophomore Izzy Apel (second), freshman Peyton Svehla (third), sophomore Berlyn Schutz (fourth), freshman Brooke Rasmussen (seventh) and sophomore Hannah Hanger (ninth).
Schutz passed a Southwest runner in the final 30 meters that was key in the team race.