NASHVILLE — In its final meet at Eagle Park this fall, Columbus North’s boys cross-country team aimed for a strong finish.
The Bull Dogs left it all on the course at the Brown County semistate.
All seven of the Bull Dogs posted career-best times for a fourth-place finish, allowing them to advance to the state finals finals at the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course in Terre Haute.
The North boys weren’t the only ones to move on to state. The Bull Dog girls finished fifth, and the Jennings County boys claimed the sixth and final qualifying spot to punch tickets to the big race on Saturday.
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In the boys field of 20, Bloomington South (86 points), Tell City (122), Christian Academy of Indiana (124), Columbus North (152), Bloomington North (153) and Jennings County (158) all moved on.
Christian Academy junior Caleb Futter was individual champion, clocking 15 minutes, 8 seconds in the 5,000-meter (3.1-mile) race.
Charlie Allen’s time of 15:57 for 16th place paced the Bull Dogs. Sam Horak (20th, 16:03), John Sluys (33rd, 16:22), Drew Thompson (41st, 16:30) and Rishi Poludasu (42nd, 16:31) completed the Bull Dogs’ scoring.
“All year, we planned for today,” North coach Danny Fisher said. “The hardest thing is to get seven guys to do their best on the same day. We did that. We had seven lifetime bests. I couldn’t be more happy for them.”
Jennings County will make its second straight state appearance. Dalton Craig (9th, 15:48), Carter Leak (18th, 16:01), Alex Hendrix (34th, 16:24), Franklin Sanders (39th, 16:29) and Ryan Gasper (58th, 16:58) ensured another week of racing.
“It feels good to be going back,” Jennings coach Bryant Layman said. “They ran great, but it wasn’t our best, and that’s the beauty of our team. We still have our best race yet to come. The competition was good. Fourth through sixth was all within points of each other. It was a very close, competitive semistate.”
Brown County placed 13th with 352 points. Senior Wyatt Wyman (17th, 15:54) advanced as an individual to state.
“It’s awesome; it’s a blessing,” Wyman said. “Last week, I was a little hurt, and luckily God helped me heal this week. I wanted to go out not too fast, but not too slow. I wanted to push through the second part of the race. I’m looking forward to the experience. I’ve put in so much work into high school running, and now in my final year, I get to run at state.”
Jackson McPheeters (46th, 16:34), Marino Dolph (62nd, 17:04), Tim Kilburn (101, 17:48) and Jordan Dolph (129th, 18:48) rounded out the Eagles’ scoring five.
“(Wyman) put it all together today,” Brown County coach Rob Abraham said. “All of those workouts on this course, and all of the hard work over the past three years have all panned out. To see him break 16 minutes … it was a solid race. I’m very happy overall with him and the team’s performance.”
Trinity Lutheran’s AJ Goecker (75th, 16:53) and Hauser’s David Seelye (124th, 17:38) both finished their seasons at semistate.
Led by Grace Williams’ first-place finish (17:53), Bloomington North were champions with 63 points in the girls’ race. Bloomington South (76), Floyd Central (102), Evansville Reitz Memorial (144), Columbus North (153) and Edgewood (178) also all advanced.
Jennings scored 388 points for 15th, and Columbus East had 452 for an 18th-place finish.
Arig Tong led the Bull Dogs by clocking 18:45 for 14th. Also scoring for Columbus North were Aric Tong (22nd, 19:07), Mackenzie Barnett (36th, 19:35), Olivia Morlok (40th, 19:45) and Ella Anderson (41st, 19:41).
“We’re very excited. I’m very pleased with what the girls did today,” North coach Bethany Bethany Scruton said. “They had goals, and I think they met them.”
“We talked a lot about how different the starting line would look compared to the last two weeks we were here. We wanted to be aggressive and make sure we didn’t get pushed off the line. We wanted to get in a good position to make our pack to run the rest of the race.”
Emma Morrison (42nd, 19:50), Ashley Heindel (72nd, 21:10), Kaylee Ebinger (74th, 21:17), Patricia Henney (94th, 22:03) and Elizabeth Wahlman (106th, 22:36) scored for Jennings.
East coach Jesse Shoaf said he was pleased with how the team ran at semistate. Olivia Linnemann (68th, 20:59), Elizabeth Setevens (88th, 21:53), Kristen Lyons (95th, 22:04), Hannah Harris (97th, 22:06) and Amanda Pottorff (104th, 22:24) scored for the Olympians.
“Our goal was to get here, and once we got here, to set personal records,” Shoaf said. “We had two or three PRs today. Everyone was confident and loose. We’re pleased with where we’re at, and the ones that are returning next year, we look forward to achieving this goal again.”
Brown County was represented by three freshmen at semistate — Emilia Koester (48th, 19:44), Anna Fleetwood (82nd, 20:38) and Emma DeBord (84th, 20:46).