NASHVILLE — The Columbus North girls and boys cross-country teams had strong showings in Saturday’s Brown County Eagle Classic at Eagle Park.
The Bull Dogs, however, were not able to surpass perennial powerhouse Carmel. The Greyhounds, who are ranked first in the state for both girls and boys, claimed both titles, while North took second in both.
In the girls race, Carmel outscored the second-ranked Bull Dogs 41-63. Rachel Brougher finished fourth individually in 18 minutes, 29.93 seconds for 5,000 meters (3.1 miles) to lead North.
The Eagle Park course is a familiar one for Brougher, who said getting a great feel for the layout will help her down the line.
“It is always a great opportunity to run on this course,” Brougher said. “We will be here three more times this year (in sectional, regional, and semistate). It is always an eye opener and seeing some of the competition I am against.”
Fellow Bull Dog Sierra Lax came in just behind Brougher, finishing fifth in 18:33.11. Lax likes the progression she is making so far this season.
“I am very happy with my race today,” Lax said. “I got behind some people at first, but I think I controlled my race, and I was able to pick off some girls throughout the race and then take some down on the final stretch.
“I am getting close to my lifetime PR (personal record), so this is a good step in the right direction,” she said. “Our coach (Rick Weinheimer) does a great job at getting us to peak at the right time. Our team is looking good, and we are all excited for these next few races.”
Allison Coffey finished 17th in 19:15.31. Nina Bouthier took 18th in 19:15.83, while Arig Tong was 19th (19:16.96), Ensley Hammond 38th (19:56.47) and Ana Singhal 39th (19:56.83).
Weinheimer likes the position his girls’ team is in as it gears toward the end of the season.
“It is great that we get to see a team like Carmel, who is one the best in the state and country, to see where we match up and where we need to be this season,” Weinheimer said.
Weinheimer also has plenty of depth on the team.
“Sierra and Rachel showed a lot of maturity to finish as well as they did. I thought it was really powerful that Nina, Arig and Allison stayed together and pushed each other through the whole thing.”
In the boys race, Carmel scored 64, and No. 5 North edged No. 4 Westfield 129-126 for second. Ben Rankin finished seventh in 16:00.45 to lead the Bull Dogs.
Chandler Steward finished 28th in 16:30.91. Justin Spoon took 29th in 16:31.26, while Eli Fischer was 32nd (16:34.63), Elijah Brooks 33rd (16:37.53), Alec Embry 46th (16:51.51) and Braden Hammond 52nd (16:55.38).
With such fierce competition in the boys race, Weinheimer was glad see his team respond and knock off Westfield.
“Obviously, Carmel is the team to beat, and Westfield is right there with us,” Weinheimer said. “We had a lot to rebound from graduation-wise. The great thing about this group is that they are just getting better and better with every meet. They have this sense of allegiance to each other, so I thought it was great and now we have to keep moving forward.”
The Seymour girls placed fourth as a team. Emma Brock finished 14th in 19:08.49, while Ashton Chase was 16th (19:13.46), Megan Winter 26th (19:39.57), Oriana Morales 32nd (19:46.07) and Claire Loebker 40th (19:57.28).
The Seymour boys came in 17th. Tim Molinari placed 54th in 16:56.09, while Cam Deppen was 88th (17:25.42), Alex Lovins 107th (17:40.01), Hunter Buserman 181st (18:30.67) and Kem Florvil 227th (19:21.30).
While all 40 teams competed in the same race, the results were classed into two divisions. Brown County was in the Class A division and finished fourth in the girls meet.
Corrissa Proctor finished 46th overall in 20:16.80 to lead the Eagles. Sam Francis took 123rd in 22:13.70, while Haley Abraham was 126th (22:18.28), Jalynn Stanford 179th (23:32.52) and Savannah Lovins 186th (23:41.09).
The Brown County boys finished fifth in the Class A division. Cole Chudy took 19th overall in 16:21.33, while Wyatt Wyman was 45th (16:51.18), Chris Norman 100th (17:33.07), Tanner Gray 176th (18:26.26) and Brock Updike 192nd (18:36.87).
“Cole and Wyatt both had great races,” Brown County coach Rob Abraham said. “We’re taking things one step at a time. We’re still a month out (from the sectional), so we still have Culver in two weeks and then our conference.”
Trinity Lutheran had three boys competing. AJ Goecker finished 89th in 17:26.24, while Luke Onken was 153rd (18:09.68) and Nikolai Haak 178th (18:28.47).