The East Butler girls cross country team placed 15th in Class D on Oct. 20 at the NSAA State Cross Country Championships in Kearney.

Ainsworth won the team title with 60 points followed by Aquinas with 90.

“I was happy with the girls team at the state meet,” East Butler coach Dan Nielsen said. “It was great to finish the season at State, that was a big goal that they accomplished and they were pretty happy afterward.”

With temperatures in the mid 70s and south winds gusting up to 36 mph, runners faced an extra challenge on top of the hills at Kearney Country Club.

Ainsworth Rylee Rice won the Class D and all-around gold with a time of 18:44.

Sophomore Amanda Aerts led the Tigers in 10th with a time of 20:51.

“Amanda had a tough race. She gave it her best shot and just did not have the kind of day she wanted,” Nielsen said. “She is an amazing competitor and rallied to finish well after a rough stretch during the second mile.”

Aerts won every race she competed in throughout the season, including the District D-1 championship.

“She will use this experience to help her in the future, a small setback after an undefeated season that she handled gracefully,” Nielsen said.

Hallie Zitek finished next for the Tigers, just inside the top 100 in 99th with a time of 24:20. Olivia Bohac was 109th in 24:47, Abbie Christensen was 126th in 25:44, Sydney Christensen was 136th in 26:41, and Madison Spatz was a 141st in a time of 27:38.

East Butler lose senior Hallie Zitek on the team. The Tigers have the potential to finish better at state next season.

“The entire girls’ team was excited to be at the State Meet,” Neilsen said. “We lose Hallie, who has had a nice career, but the rest of the team is excited and motivated for next year.”

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