As he prepared to compete in the state cross country meet this week, Blue Hill junior Jace Kranau found a message written on his locker at school:
"You have nothing to prove — just improve."
The note from his mom, Yvonne Kranau, set the tone for the journey that Jace and dozens of other local cross country athletes made to the state showdown at Kearney Country Club Friday.
For seniors, it was their last race. For teams that qualified, it was a chance to collectively compete against the clock.