LINCOLN (SNR) – The junior high cross country league of the Catholic schools in the Lincoln area completed their third official season Oct. 7.
The season, titled the “St. Sebastian series,” included the St. Padre Pio meet Sept. 23, the St. Francis of Assisi meet Sept. 30, and the St. Faustina meet Oct. 7. Approximately 150 students participated in each meet this year, from nine area schools in Lincoln.
Organizer Ivan Ivanov said St. Wenceslaus School in Omaha, of the Archdiocese of Omaha, has also participated the last two years.
“We hope other schools will join us as well,” he said.
Ivanov organized the program in 2014 as a club at his children’s school, Cathedral of the Risen Christ, with the permission of Msgr. Robert Tucker, then the school’s chief administrative officer. Two more schools joined with teams of their own, making some competitive meets possible. The following year, the club was an officially sanctioned sport in the Lincoln Catholic Athletic League, which also includes basketball, volleyball and track and field, and eight teams competed the first year.
The series awarded points to the top 10 individuals and top 10 teams at each meet, which Ivanov said is unique to the league.
“This promotes participation,” he explained, “because you want to have a high number of points.”
The top five athletes and top three teams are the series winners, awarding the most consistent athletes and teams.
“It is also great to see the team spirit of all the schools and how they support each other even to the last runners that come across the finish line,” Ivanov said.
The top female finishers were Helena Occansey of St. John the Apostle School in Lincoln, first place, followed by Makenna Lesiak of St. John, Bree Korta and Tenley Heimes of Cathedral of the Risen Christ in Lincoln, and Layla Frausto of St. Teresa in Lincoln.
The top boy finishers were Cole Sellhorn of St. Michael School in Lincoln, followed by Will Martin of St. Michael, and Marcus Dustin, and Sam and Jack Hastreiter of St. Joseph in Lincoln.
The top-finishing schools were St. John, St. Peter in Lincoln and Cathedral for girls, and St. Joseph, St. Michael and Cathedral for boys.