NASHVILLE — In the four-meet IHSAA cross-country postseason series, Columbus North coach Rick Weinheimer has talked about the regional being kind of a trap meet for his team.
The excitement of beginning the postseason has worn off, and solid competition for the Bull Dogs is still a week away.
But Saturday morning, the fifth-ranked North girls and seventh-ranked Bull Dog boys were in top form, each scoring 18 points to run away with the Brown County Regional. Seymour’s boys and girls and Columbus East’s girls also advanced to the Brown County Semistate.
“You like to keep your momentum going and keep on a roll, and I thought our kids did a great job with that,” Weinheimer said. “Our kids ran as hard as they could today, and there will be a lot more competition the next couple weeks, and we’re looking forward to that.”
Seymour finished second in the girls meet with 81 points. Silver Creek took third with 99, while Madison had 110 and East claimed the fifth and final qualifying spot with 119.
North junior Mackenzie Caldwell won the girls race in 15 minutes, 41.73 seconds, breaking her own school and Eagle Park course record by six seconds. She led the entire way, running a 5:18 first mile and going through the 2-mile mark at around 11:10.
“It’s definitely what I wanted to do, so I’m really happy with it,” Caldwell said. “Rachael (Sollman) took it out fast, so it made it easy for me to go faster. When I went through the mile and the 2-mile, I was a lot faster than I had been the past couple times I’ve run this course.”
Sollman finished second in 18:23.89 for the Bull Dogs. Sierra Lax took fourth in 19:03.98, while Nina Bouthier was fifth (19:13.28), Morgan Neal seventh (19:42.57),
Allison Coffey eighth (19:53.11) and Aly Bowman 10th (19:58.24).
Seymour’s Zoey Johnson broke up North’s top four runners, finishing third in 18:43.44. Madison Hays took 13th in 20:01.50 for the Owls, while Alicia Pollert was 19th (20:59.58), Mariah Lewis 28th (21:27.27) and Alexis Beed 33rd (21:39.97).
“I’m excited for them,” Seymour girls coach Spencer Sunbury said. “We’ve talked about what our expectations for today were, and they ran exactly the way we were hoping they would run. We were able to come back and run strong after just running Tuesday.”
Allie Newell led East with a 20th-place finish in 21:03.35. Morgan Ketron took 24th in 21:14.67, while Rachel Foley was 27th (21:18.21), Laura Barkes 37th (21:58.49) and Kira Singer 38th (21:59.09).
“I think they ran their hearts out today,” East girls coach Leslie Weaver said. “We talked about some strategies, and as I watched the race unfold, they did exactly what was asked of them. I was just really, really impressed by the way that they finished. They finished as a pack, as usual, and that’s always kind of our mentality because we don’t have that really, really fast person. We always have to kind of run as a pack to keep our numbers low, and they accomplished our goal.”
Brown County finished sixth with 177 points, but Rose Guingrich advanced as an individual after taking 12th in 19:59.68. Madison Morris was 25th in 21:16.44.
Jennings County came in ninth with 218 points. Olivia Heaton led the Panthers with a 30th-place finish in 21:29.15, and Leslie Watkins was 48th in 22:40.28.
In the boys meet, Silver Creek finished second with 90 points. Seymour and Indian Creek each scored 111, with the Owls taking third because of a faster sixth runner. Madison claimed the final qualifying spot with 130, while Brown County (145), East (160) and Jennings County (185) were sixth through eighth.
North senior Karson Tays led from start to finish in winning the boys race in 15:41.73.
“I felt good,” Tays said. “We all knew we kind of wanted to go out hard today and give it the best we had. We’re all just trying to stay in good shape until semistate, and hopefully, we’ll have some more good competition.”
Andy Carr finished second in 15:50.81 for the Bull Dogs. Kaden Eaton took fourth in 16:00.49, while Seth Williams was fifth (16:09.18), Kevin Rudzinski sixth (16:15.08), Chase Ballard seventh (16:16.41) and Sam Starnes 14th (16:43.08).
Jack Tormoehlen led Seymour with a 12th-place finish in 16:37.41. Ian Hensen took 15th in 16:51.78, while Daniel Hauersperger was 17th (16:56.13), Alex Beaty 31st (17:31.23) and Tyler Hatton 39th (17:44.62).
Brown County’s Alden Westcott qualified as an individual, finishing eighth in 16:21.04. Connor Guingrich was 22nd in 17:09.79.
East’s Jordan Foster finished 23rd in 17:13.11. Clayton Johnson took 25th in 17:18.57, while Jacob Bostic was 33rd (17:32.55), Paul Baker 36th (17:41.17) and Tyler Lyons 50th (18:09.83).
“We actually ran a lot better today than on Tuesday,” East boys coach Ryan Burke said. “Our top six guys all (set personal records). I can really ask for much more than that. There were just teams that were better than us today.”
Jennings County’s Jonah Woods qualified as an individual with an 11th-place finish in 16:32.73. Ricky Hendrix was 24th in 17:13.65.