North senior repeats as Boys Cross-Country Runner of Year

Charlie Allen was coming off a summer of competing in triathlons, so when his first two cross-country races didn’t go as well as hoped, his parents and first-year Columbus North coach Danny Fisher thought something might be wrong.

They had Allen’s iron levels checked, and the tests revealed low iron.

“I didn’t really know what was happening until I got tested,” Allen said. “I still knew I had good lungs from the triathlon season over the summer. I just figured my legs weren’t in it yet.”

After four days of taking iron supplements, Allen shaved about a minute off his time. A week later, he was back to running around the times he was last season, when he was The Republic Boys Cross-Country Runner of the Year.

Now, after a strong finish to his senior season, Allen has repeated as The Republic Boys Cross-Country Runner of the Year.

“We wanted to keep him healthy,” Fisher said. “We knew he was in pretty good shape coming in, so we knew it was more than the training and that there was something more going on.”

Prior to this season, Allen’s best 5K (3.1-mile) time was 16 minutes, 7 seconds. But that was in the middle of his junior year, and he couldn’t match that at the end of that season.

This year, Allen won the Brown County Regional, then ran his best time, 15:57, at the Brown County Semistate.

“I was racing well, training well and then toward the end of the season really started dropping time and started doing really well,” Allen said.

Unlike the past two years, Allen isn’t swimming for North this winter. He is putting his triathlon career on hold to focus solely on running.

Allen, who wants to run in college and has an offer from Marian University, is now training with Fisher in hopes of having a big senior track season. He finished 17th in the 3,200 meters this spring and wants to be in the top nine to earn All-State honors this season.

Fisher said being able to work with Allen all through the winter, he expects big things from him during track season.

“We wanted more in the fall, but he led our team in a lot of ways,” Fisher said. “If he didn’t run as well at regional or semistate, our team may not have ran as well.”

At a glance

The Republic All-Area Boys Cross-Country team:

Charlie Allen, Columbus North: The senior won the Brown County Regional and finished 19th in the Brown County Semistate and 72nd at state.

Sam Horak, Columbus North: The junior finished second at sectional, third at regional, 23rd at semistate and 133rd at state.

John Sluys, Columbus North: The junior finished sixth at sectional, ninth at regional, 39th at semistate and 101st at state.

Drew Thompson, Columbus North: The senior finished seventh at sectional, 13th at regional, 47th at semistate and 145th at state.

Peyton Shelton, Columbus North: The senior finished ninth at sectional, 16th at regional, 51st at semistate and 111th at state.

Dalton Craig, Jennings County: The senior finished second in the Southwestern (Hanover) Sectional, fourth at the Brown County Regional, 12th at semistate and 61st at state.

Carter Leak, Jennings County: The sophomore won the Southwestern Sectional and finished fifth at regional, 21st at semistate and 86th at state.

Alex Hendrix, Jennings County: The junior finished fourth at sectional, second at regional, 40th at semistate and 106th at state.

Franklin Sanders, Jennings County: The senior finished seventh at sectional, sixth at regional, 45th at semistate and 130th at state.

Wyatt Wyman, Brown County: The senior won the Brown County Sectional and finished 12th at regional, 17th at semistate and 99th at state.

Honorable mention

Brown County: Marino Dolph, Jackson McPheeters. Columbus East: Garrett McGaha. Columbus North: Rishi Poludasu, Spencer Sherlock. Hauser: David Seelye. Jennings County: Ryan Gasper.Trinity Lutheran: AJ Goecker.

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