On a picture-perfect weather day, North Platte’s Evan Caudy provided a photo finish at the GNAC Championships.

The Bulldog sophomore ran more like a greyhound on Wednesday, but found himself narrowly trailing Hastings’ Jaydon Walsh as the two made the turn and headed for the finish line at Iron Eagle Golf Course in North Platte.

With the enthusiastic urging of fans lining both sides of the narrow home-stretch, Caudy kicked it into another gear.

As the gap got smaller, the crowd got louder, and soon the two were stride-for-stride. As the finish line approached, Caudy’s kick catapulted him into the lead in the nick of time for the victory in a time of 16 minutes, 22.93 seconds.

Welsh finished in 16:23.53.

"Evan had a great race. Him and Jaydon are always close," North Platte head coach Jake Hasenauer said. "Going into today, Evan didn’t feel 100%, but we talked about running a smart race, not taking the lead right away and finishing like a Bulldog. The roar of the crowd helped Evan as he blazed down the straightaway and gave his very best for his team and the community."

Caudy was one of four Bulldogs to finish in the top 15, with Joel Bradley third, Tayler Kleinow eighth and Tom Moss 14th. Despite that, the North Platte boys finished second, losing out to first-place Columbus by a single point.

"It’s a heartbreaker for the boys to lose by one point, but shout-out to Columbus for running the best race they’ve run this year," Hasenauer said. "We’ve beat them the past two meets, and it’s always hard to beat a team three times in a row, so hats off to them."

Overall, the boys improved their average time as well, and perhaps got a little extra adrenaline boost from the home faithful.

"Shout-out to the boys team for having a 17:17 team average," Hasenauer said. "Our fastest team average prior to today was 17:49. It’s always great to run well at home in front of awesome fans."

On the girls side, North Platte’s Zarah Blaesi led the way with a third-place finish in a time of 19:59.81. Not only did the freshman run a great race, she also made a little school history in the process.

"I’m especially proud of Zarah Blaesi breaking the 20-minute barrier," Hasenauer said. "If my statistics are correct, she’s the first North Platte cross country girl to break 20 minutes since high school girls switched to racing a 5K instead of a 4K a decade ago."

Chelsey Espinoza finished first individually and led Hastings to a team title, as the Tigers bested runner-up Scottsbluff by 15 points.

As a team, the Lady Bulldogs finished last out of six teams with a team average of 22:07.62.

The North Platte boys and girls cross country teams will compete in the A-1 District Meet on Oct. 17 at Walnut Creek Recreational Area in Papillion.




Place, team, time, points

1. Columbus, 1:27:08.09, 47.

2. North Platte, 1:26:29.87, 48.

3. Hastings, 1:27:20.62, 64.

4. Gering, 1:28:38.70, 76.

5. McCook, 1:30:53.43, 108.

6. Scottsbluff, 1:32:54.78, 159.



Top 10

Place, runner, school, time

1. Evan Caudy, North Platte, 16:22.93.

2. Jaydon Welsh, Hastings, 16:23.53.

3. Joel Bradley, North Platte, 17:03.90.

4. Joe McFarland, Columbus, 17:03.92.

5. Douglas Davidchik, Columbus, 17:13.13.

6. Peyton Seiler, Gering, 17:18.87.

7. Abel Leon, Columbus, 17:19.29.

8. Tayler Kleinow, North Platte, 17:22.35.

9. Jonathan Lopez, Hastings, 17:23.67.

10. Tyler Nagel, Gering, 17:25.56.


Area schools

North Platte

1. Evan Caudy, 16:22.93.

3. Joel Bradley, 17:03.90.

8. Tayler Kleinow, 17:22.35.

14. Tom Moss, 17:38.11.

22. Kean Jared, 18:02.58.

26. Jonah San Miguel, 18:10.78.

30. Aaron Franz, 18:18.10.



11. Brandon Tucker, 17:36.66.

12. Eric Graff, McCook, 17:37.42.

20. T.J. Renner, 17:59.54.

27. Josh Hegwood, 18:10.86.

38. Colton Craig, 19:28.95

41. Bryce Dutton, 19:42.84.

42. Glenn Ruggles, 20:10.83.




Place, team, time, points

1. Hastings, 1:47:10.14, 57.

2. Scottsbluff, 1:48:03.46, 66.

3. Gering, 1:47:41.58, 74.

4. McCook, 1:48:40.37, 86.

5. Columbus, 1:51:29.60, 95.

6. North Platte, 1:50:38.10, 108.



Top 10

Place, runner, school, time

1. Chelsey Espinoza, Hastings, 19:09.61.

2. Brooke Holzworth, Scottsbluff, 19:39.30.

3. Zarah Blaesi, North Platte, 19:59.81.

4. Tukker Romey, Gering, 20:03.30.

5. Shailee Patton, Gering, 20:16.72.

6. Grace Cappel, McCook, 20:22.84.

7. Samantha Rodewald, McCook, 20:26.79.

8. Elsi Rodewald, McCook, 21:06.84.

9. Mary Ferrone, Hastings, 21:35.69.

10. Jamisyn Howard, Scottsbluff, 21:44.95.


Area teams

North Platte

3. Zarah Blaesi, 19:59.81.

19. Baylee Evarts, 22:15.00.

25. Alexis Hoatson, 22:36.45.

30. Malorie Ditch, 22:46.63.

31. Jenessa Arnold, 23:00.21.

37. Ashlynn Ditch, 23:56.23

Nelia Rivas, DNF



6. Grace Cappel, 20:22.84.

7. Samantha Rodewald, 20:26.79.

8. Elsi Rodewald, 21:06.84.

32. Shawna Wilkinson, 23:21.78.

33. Joslyn Hammond, 23:22.12

36. Lexi Hauxwell, 23:50.76.

38. Hailey Farr, 23:58.41.

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