NASHVILLE — Columbus North’s cross-country teams painted Eagle Park’s finish line blue.
On top of having individual champions in both races, the Bull Dog boys and girls teams left with Brown County Regional crowns on Saturday morning.
Local schools advanced numerous runners to this weekend’s semistate, which again will be at Eagle Park.
North boys win again
The North opened the day by winning the boys race with 42 points, just three points ahead of runner-up Jennings County. The title marked the 10th straight for the Bull Dog boys and 28th overall.
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Austin finished third with 114 points, followed by Brown County (131) and Seymour (132). Teams with the five lowest scores moved on to semistate along with the top-10 individual times on non-advancing teams.
Columbus East totaled 224 points to finish ninth in the 10-team field.
North senior Charlie Allen clocked 16 minutes, 10 seconds for 5,000 meters (3.1 miles) for his first regional victory. At last week’s sectional, Allen placed third overall.
“I wanted to go out a little bit slower than I did last week,” Allen said. “I felt good, and I thought I would have about the same time as I did last week. I came through about 10 seconds faster. I slowly picked people off, and at the 2-mile, I made a fast surge past the three Jennings County kids.
“It feels pretty good. I kind of wasn’t expecting it. I felt really good today. The training has finally started paying off.”
Sam Horak (third, 16:21), John Sluys (ninth, 16:43), Drew Thompson (13th, 16:48) and Peyton Shelton (16th, 16:56) rounded out North’s scoring five. Rishi Poludasu (18th, 16:58.94) and Spencer Sherlock (22nd, 17:15) also had strong outings.
“They did their jobs,” North boys coach Danny Fisher said. “Everyone had a great race. We really focused on every point mattering in this race. We knew that if we were going to win, it would be a lot. Our 6 and 7 even pushed spots.
“We wanted to be engaged and ready to give our best. Win or lose, we wanted to give Jennings County our best shot. I think we proved we can contend next week and the next two weeks.”
Despite scoring four in the top six spots, the Panthers couldn’t get the edge over North.
Alex Hendrix finished runner-up in 16:15, while Dalton Craig (16:27), Carter Leak (16:28) and Franklin Sanders (16:33) took the 4-through-6 positions. Ryan Gasper, the Panthers’ fifth runner, was 34th in 17:53.
“The top did exactly what they needed to do,” Panthers boys coach Bryant Layman said. “The front will get faster as the weeks go on. The regional title slipped away from us, but really, that means nothing to us as long as we’re improving. Sometimes, you win, and sometimes, you lose, and we lost today.”
Brown County will return to the semistate for the first time since 2009 after placing fourth. The Eagles’ Wyatt Wyman, who had won the sectional the previous week, paced the Eagles in 16:47 for 12th.
Other runners for the Eagles included Jackson McPheeters (14th, 16:50.73), Marino Dolph (15th, 16:53.72), Tim Kilburn (43rd, 18:04.34), Jordan Dolph (71st, 19:20.08), Cameron Fox (84th, 20:36.17) and Billy Webb (90th, 21:31.94).
“It’s nice to get back to the semistate,” Eagles coach Rob Abraham said. “It has been a while since we’ve been back here (as a team). To have it on your home course is something you dream of getting back to.”
Trinity Lutheran’s lone runner, A.J. Goecker, advanced to semistate as an individual by placing 24th in 17:20.
East didn’t advance a runner to semistate and was led by Garrett McGaha (37th, 18:01). Other East scorers included Michael Zieleniuk (39th, 18:02), Owen Rupp (69th, 19:17), Nick Walter (70th, 19:19) and Kaden Wise (73rd, 19:35).
“It wasn’t our best effort today,” East boys coach Ryan Burke said. “It’s disappointing for our season to end. At this point, all we can do is look toward the future. We have a young team, and I’m encouraged with the way our program is going.”
North girls top field
Scoring 35 points, North’s girls claimed a ninth straight regional title. The win also made it 28 regional crowns for the Bull Dog girls program.
Seymour finished second with 38 points, followed by Charlestown (128), East (129) and Jennings (130). Brown County was sixth with 142 points.
North junior Arig Tong, who also took last week’s sectional, won her first regional by hitting the finish in 19 minutes flat.
“I knew that I needed to push myself,” Tong said. “I knew that the race would be spread out. Every time I felt comfortable, I tried to push harder. I didn’t let myself get comfortable. I pushed my boundaries and tried as hard as I could.”
Following runner-up Ashton Chase (19:25) of Seymour, North’s Aric Tong placed third in 19:27. Kirsten Ballard finished eighth in 20:32, while Mackenzie Barnett (20:45), Emma Smith (20:47) and Ella Anderson (20:54) took 11th through 13th. Abbey Landini (15th, 21:00) completed the Bull Dogs’ seven.
“I think they worked really well together,” North girls coach Bethany Scruton said. “They were a cohesive group, and you could see that with our 3-through-7 runners. They push each other hard in practice every day, and it shows on the course.”
After not qualifying last year, East returns to semistate.
Olivia Linnemann led the Olympians by finishing 17th in 21:05. Amanda Pottorff (29th, 22:00), Kristen Lyons (30th, 22:03) Elizabeth Stevens (34th, 22:20) and Hannah Harris (37th, 22:28) followed Linnemann.
“We had a couple personal records, and I think that made a big difference today,” East girls coach Jesse Shoaf said. “We knew we would be battling with Jennings County. It was a good race today, and I’m pleased to be moving on. Our goal was to move on out of regional, and we did that, so I’m happy.”
Paced by Emma Morrison’s seventh-place finish (20:15), Jennings took the final advancing spot to regional. Ashley Heindel (20th, 21:160) Kaylee Ebinger (27th, 21:49), Elizabeth Wahlman (40th, 22:38) and Rachel Gasper (56th, 23:12) came up with clutch performances to edge the host school.
Brown County will send three individuals to semistate. Emilia Koester finished sixth in 20:00, Anna Fleetwood timed 21:03 for 16th and Emma DeBord clocked 21:24 to place 22nd.
“We had some injuries down the line and only ran five girls,” Abraham said. “Coming in sixth in the regional is a good feat for them. It shows how good they are when three of them qualify for the semistate next week. Once again, they get to end on the course.”
Trinity’s Jodi Goecker finished 59th in 23:21.