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NASHVILLE — The Columbus North boys were perfect; Mackenzie Caldwell continued her assault on the record books, and the Seymour, Columbus East and Brown County boys and girls survived to run another race.
That was the story from the Brown County cross-country sectional Tuesday at Eagle Park. Columbus North’s No. 5 girls and No. 7 boys ran to easy victories in their first year running in this sectional.
Caldwell took control early in the girls race and ran a sectional-record 17 minutes, 52.19 seconds to win by 48 seconds against Seymour’s Zoey Johnson. Caldwell, who has ran 17:52, 17:52, 17:51 and 17:52 in her past four races, was one second off the school and course record she set in this past week’s Conference Indiana meet.
“It’s good that I’m consistent,” Caldwell said. “I wish that I could go lower than that, but it will come when I get some better competition at the state level.”
Sierra Lax broke her own North freshman record in finishing third in 18:38.18. Rachael Sollman took fourth in 18:42.14, while Nina Bouthier was fifth (19:29.18), Rosemary Yonushonis seventh (19:54.05), Allison Coffey eighth (20:15.85) and Bente Bouthier 13th (21:17.30).
“We were concerned at the beginning of the year definitely and in the summer because we lost a lot of our seniors, but I think we’re a lot better than a lot of people thought we were going to be,” Caldwell said.
The Bull Dogs scored 20 points to 60 for runner-up Seymour. East (96), Brown County (144) and Brownstown Central (148) claimed the final three qualifying spots to Saturday’s Brown County Regional.
Seymour’s Johnson was joined by Madison Hays in sixth (19:49.52), Alicia Pollert 14th (21:22.12), Mariah Lewis 17th (21:37.97) and Megan Winter 21st (21:50.51).
Allie Newel led the Olympians with a 10th-place finish in 20:57.77. Rachel Foley took 16th in 21:37.54, while Kira Singer was 18th (21:46.88), Laura Barkes 20th (21:49.73) and Morgan Ketron 32nd (22:40.48).
“Allie had an absolutely phenomenal race today,” East girls coach Leslie Weaver said. “Rachel Foley had a good race today. Kira Singer had a good race today. Morgan has been our No. 1 for the past few weeks, and she wasn’t today, and the nice thing is, Allie stepped in and made things happen that we needed.”
Brown County’s Rose Guingrich finished ninth in 20:26.36. Madison Morris was 19th in 21:48.38.
Trinity Lutheran finished eighth with 196 points, and Hauser was 10th with 275. Trinity’s Danielle Shelley and Erika Horton took 26th and 28th in 22:19.81 and 22:27.14. Hauser’s Hannah Shoaf was 28th in 22:30.54.
The North boys, meanwhile, captured the top-five positions to score a perfect 15 points. Indian Creek finished second with 82, followed by Seymour (88), Brown County (100) and East (152).
Karson Tays led the Bull Dog sweep in 15:41.77.
“It was a little tougher kind of being out there by myself,” Tays said. “I think the regional, there’s going to be more people, and there’s going to be some more competition at semistate.”
Kaden Eaton finished second in 15:57.81, followed by Andy Carr (16:01.23), Chase Ballard (16:06.11) and Seth Williams (16:09.91), who outleaned Brown County’s Alden Westcott (16:10.47) for the fifth spot. North’s Kevin Rudzinski and Josh Beiriger were eighth and ninth in 16:31.01 and 16:37.66.
“The guys were solid up front, and Kaden Eaton got under 16, which is always exciting,” North coach Rick Weinheimer said. “I thought we had a huge race from Chase Ballard.”
Daniel Hauersperger, Ian Hensen and Jack Tormoehlen finished 11-12-13 in 16:51.43, 16:55.19 and 16:57.29 to lead Seymour. Brown County’s Westcott was joined by Connor Gunigrich in 14th (17:04.45).
Clayton Johnson finished 21st in 17:22.95 to lead the Olympians. Jordan Foster took 23rd in 17:35.12, while Paul Baker was 27th (17:56.25), Jacob Bostic 40th (18:21.29) and Tyler Lyons 41st (18:35.13).
“We didn’t necessarily have our best race times-wise, but I thought everybody gave a good strong effort,” East boys coach Ryan Burke said. “It’s good to be able to advance past sectional again. They’ve been through a lot. I know it’s been a lot of change for them and a lot to deal with, and I’m proud of the way they’ve responded here late in the season.”
Hauser and Trinity Lutheran finished eighth and ninth with 223 and 270 points, respectively. Hauser’s Andrew Paetzel took 18th in 17:16.54, and Darren Brown was 32nd in 18:06.27. Trinity’s Luke Onken finished 35th in 18:11.39.
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