Husky boys cross country title run filled with life lessons

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Tony Sigler and Zach High had Oct. 25 circled on their mental calendars a long, long time ago.
Well before the 2019 cross country season started, the Huskies head coach was already thinking about, planning for and gearing his team up to toe the line at the Class C state championship race at Kearney Country Club. He’s quick to tell anyone who will listen, in August or any time of year, that the regular season is just a tune-up for the state meet, where medals, team trophies and a lifetime of pride are on the line.
Aurora’s boys team delivered in spades, winning the state title by eight points for the program’s second state title and first since 1999. Dylan Riley and Kane Fiala led the charge with medal-winning times, while Max Wiarda, Eli Warnke, Isaac Bisbee and Grady McDonald helped hoist the championship trophy, contributing valuable team points.
I’ve learned during my tenure here in Aurora that cross country is an emotional sport, so much more than just kids running over and through Nebraska’s hills and valleys. Sigler, the energizer bunny of high school coaches, has carried on a strong tradition here, which is really about the program, not just a given year’s team.
You can see that reflected in the large number of kids involved with the junior high cross country program, as well as the strong numbers involved at the high school level.
Sigler is unique in his approach, pushing the kids hard during the regular season, often sacrificing precious seconds on race day in order to log extra practice miles during the week, which he believes will give the Huskies an edge come Oct. 25.
He sets a goal, explains the steps necessary to reach it and then provides the spark and focus needed to reach it. Talk about life lessons!
That paid off in Kearney this year, much like it did for the Aurora girls team with back-to-back titles in 2016-17.
Mission accomplished, Huskies. Job well done!

KURT JOHNSON can be reached at kjohnson@ hamilton.net

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