A Columbus North runner has recorded a three-peat.

Rachel Brougher has earned her third consecutive The Republic Girls Cross-Country Runner of the Year honor.

A multiple winner on many levels, the four-year Columbus North varsity runner twice earned All-State honors with top-25 finishes at the state finals. After finishing 10th this year at the Brown County Semistate, Brougher came back with a 36th-place finish in the state finals, falling short of earning her third consecutive All-State honor.

Brougher’s senior season didn’t go quite as she had hoped, but she accepted that fact philosophically.

Story continues below gallery

Click here to purchase photos from this gallery

“Every season is different,” Brougher said. “The weather is different, and the team is different. So I was happy with the way it turned out.”

That includes earning Brown County Sectional and Regional titles, despite dealing with a sinus infection earlier in the season.

After swimming competitively prior to starting seventh grade at Northside Middle School, Brougher found a new interest in cross-country and track — and became hooked.

She also gave up basketball after that year to focus on running.

Although she plans to run at the collegiate level, Brougher’s only official visit so far has been to Indiana University, where she would have to walk on. She plans to check out Belmont University in Nashville and the University of North Carolina-Greensboro in January, and also is considering visits to IPFW in Fort Wayne and Eastern Michigan in Ypsilanti.

But those college visits have been put on hold for now. That’s because Brougher is back in the pool, swimming for the Columbus North Bull Frogs.

She wanted to see if being a competitive swimmer would take her fitness to the next level, and Brougher said she has already noticed a difference.

“I’m using muscles that I don’t work out in cross-country,” she said. “I already feel so much stronger on my runs. I feel fresh, and I get less tired.”

At a glance

The 2016 The Republic All-Area Girls Cross-Country team:

Rachel Brougher, Columbus North: The senior won the Brown County Sectional and Regional and finished 10th in the Brown County Semistate and 36th at state.

Arig Tong, Columbus North: The junior finished second in the sectional and regional, sixth in the semistate and 72nd at state.

Olivia Morlok, Columbus North: The freshman finished third in the sectional, fourth in the regional, seventh in the semistate and 63rd at state.

Ana Singhal, Columbus North: The junior finished seventh in the sectional, sixth in the regional, 44th in the semistate and 118th at state.

Kennedy Kerber, Columbus North: The freshman finished ninth in the sectional, eighth in the regional, 72nd in the semistate and 145th at state.

Emma Smith, Columbus North: The sophomore finished  eighth in the sectional, 14th in the regional, 56th in the semistate and 171st at state,

Lily Dozier, Columbus North: The freshman finished 10th in the sectional, 16th in the regional and 137th at state.

Ashley Heindel, Jennings County: The sophomore finished third in the Southwestern (Hanover) Sectional, 18th in the regional and 94th in the semistate.

Emma Morrison, Jennings County: The freshman finished fourth in the Southwestern (Hanover) Sectional, 21st in the regional and 95th in the semistate.

Emma Mensendiek, Columbus East: The senior finished 15th in the sectional, 22nd in the regional and 124th in the semistate.

Kristen Lyons, Columbus East: The junior finished 17th in the sectional, 24th in the regional and 114th in the semistate.

Honorable mention

Brown County: Haley Abraham, Mica Selby. Columbus East: Hannah Harris, Lindsey Morgan, Ashley Novreske, Amanda Pottorff. Columbus North: Jennifer Gutman. Edinburgh: Bailey Woodall. Hauser: Tori Chandler. Jennings County: Alana Daeger, Nicole Richardson, Sydney Taylor. South Decatur: Sierra Kalli.

Author photo
Ted Schultz is sports editor for The Republic. He can be reached at tschultz@therepublic.com or 812-379-5628.