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NASHVILLE — The tag-team ability of the Columbus North cross-country team was on display during its domination of the Brown County Sectional meet Tuesday at Eagle Park.
With Columbus North star runner Andy Carr on the sideline to freshen his knees, senior Kaden Eaton didn’t have that solid force at the front of the pack to push him through the early stages of the race.
In stepped junior Seth Williams, who responded with a sectional runner-up performance in pushing Eaton all the way to the championship.
Williams was putting his own performance at risk by attempting to run faster in the first half of the race than he thought might be possible.
“I had to work hard and stay with Kaden,” Williams said. “Andy usually does that.
“I felt pretty good, but it was hard to hold on.”
Eaton was happy in both his individual victory in 15 minutes, 42.85 seconds and the Bull Dogs’ team title.
“It shows that hard work can pay off,” Eaton said. “It’s exciting and a blessing to have teammates who can perform at this level.”
North won the boys title with 20 points, while Seymour was a distant second at 65 points.
Eaton and Williams (15:46.15) were followed by Seymour’s Jack Tormoehlen in third (16:08.0).
“I was really happy with my race,” Tormoehlen said. “I ran my personal best by 13 seconds. I’m thrilled.”
While Eaton and Williams ran side-by-side for the first four kilometers of the 5K race, Tormoehlen ran back in the pack early and charged forward late.
“It worked, but I probably won’t go out that slow (in Saturday’s regional at Eagle Park).”
Does Tormoehlen feel he can catch runners such as Eaton and Williams on Saturday?
“I don’t know,” he said. “They’re pretty good.”
North’s Chase Ballard (16:08.51) was fourth, and Brownstown Central’s Ryan Franklin (16:14.21) rounded out the top five.
In the team standings, Brownstown Central was third with 100 points. Columbus East was fourth at 112, and Martinsville was fifth at 114. The top five teams all qualify for Saturday’s regional event.
East’s top finisher was Paul Bean in 13th (17:10.30), while Olympian Paul Baker was 14th (17:14.70).
On the girls side, the Bull Dogs crushed the field by sweeping the first seven spots.
Senior Mackenzie Caldwell won the slightly muddy race in 17:58, about 28 seconds slower than her course and school record set in the Conference Indiana meet.
North’s Sierra Lax was second (18:26.49), followed by Rachel Brougher (18:45.05), Nina Bouthier (19:11.10), Allison Coffey (19:13.18), Avrie Allen (19:26.48) and Olivia Malone (19:52.84).
“It’s pretty exciting,” Caldwell said. “That’s why we call this month ‘Dog-tober.’”
Lax, a sophomore, and Brougher, a freshman, ran together for much of the race before Lax pulled away late.
“We wanted a perfect score,” Lax said in reference to sweeping the lowest scoring positions.
Although she couldn’t catch her two teammates, Brougher was pleased with her run.
“Sierra and Mac are amazing runners,” Brougher said. “Mackenzie is my role model.”
North had 15 points, followed by Seymour in second with 86, Brown County in third at 93, Brownstown Central in fourth with 119 and Columbus East in fifth at 131. All will advance to the regional.
Madison Hays led Seymour with a 10th-place finish (20:32.62). Elodie Belleflamme finished 12th (20:44.75) to lead Brown County. East’s top finisher was Kira Singer in 16th place (21:12.30).
The top 10 individuals who were not on one of the top five finishing teams also qualified for the regional.
Among the qualifying boys were Hauser’s Andrew Paetzel (28, 18:01.62) and Dalton McKinney (34th, 18:17.61), Brown County’s Brock Updike (32nd, 18:14.36) and Trinity Lutheran’s Luke Onken (35th, 18:18.15). Among the qualifying girls were Hauser’s Hannah Shoaf (31st, 22:46.43) and Trinity Lutheran’s Danielle Shelley (41st, 24:13.41) and Brittaney Von Dielingen (42nd, 24:20.80).
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