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NASHVILLE — Soaked to the bone and covered with mud, Columbus North junior Seth Williams made a startling discovery during the Brown County Regional Cross-County meet on Saturday at Eagle Park.
As he said following his unexpected victory in 15 minutes, 47 seconds, “Anything is possible.”
Bull Dogs coach Rick Weinheimer deals up a steady dose of “anything is possible” to his runners, but he totally enjoys when one of his athletes embraces it during the serious business of chasing a state championship.
Weinheimer explained that in the past when his team has won a state title, the Bull Dogs received an unexpected jolt of success from a runner who stepped to the forefront.
It appears Williams is the runner who is taking his game to another level.
“Usually it is a little different,” Williams said. “I get out fast, and I can’t hold it all the way.
“But my legs felt fresh, and there was nobody with me. I knew I had an extra gear. It’s awesome and good motivation.”
North’s Kaden Eaton, who won the sectional meet on Tuesday, changed positions with Williams, who was second in the sectional. Eaton finished in 15:51.71.
“Seth has it in him,” Eaton said. “Each race he has held it longer and longer. He really hung to it.
“Obviously, I went after him, but I just couldn’t get there. Seth just had it today. It was an awesome experience for him.”
North senior Andy Carr, who sat out the sectional with some minor knee problems, was third at 15:59.08.
“I felt very proud of the way our team ran,” Carr said. “Personally, I was excited to be back after taking about a week off. But it seemed like I was out of rhythm. This race is going to help me.”
Carr has been battling Eaton all season to be North’s No. 1 runner. “Now there are three of us instead of the top two,” he said.
“Seth is very much improved. Kaden and I usually reel him in. It was awesome to see him hold that gap.”
Halfway through the girls event, North senior Mackenzie Caldwell had established a two football field lead over her teammate, sophomore Sierra Lax.
Lax, however, was impressive in her own right, establishing a huge advantage over freshman teammate Rachel Brougher, who was best of the rest of the field. Caldwell was first in 18:02.44, Lax was second in 18:18.53 and Brougher was third in 19:12.35.
“I like this weather,” Lax said of the cold, rainy conditions. “It helped me. I felt really good.”
Lax said she is learning how to become a better runner, and that knowledge is paying off in the post-season.
Caldwell agreed that her teammate is making some impressive strides.
“Sierra ran awesome,” she said.
Even so, Caldwell had a lonely lead.
“I just try to pretend someone is behind me,” she said.
With the semi-state meet Saturday at Brown County’s Eagle Park, the competition is about to get much tougher for both the North boys and girls.
Weinheimer was very pleased with his boys’ effort and not ecstatic about his girls performance despite their title.
“I loved the look in our boys’ eyes,” he said. “I think the next two weeks is going to be really exciting for Columbus North.
“Seth ran with great confidence, and I thought it was just a matter of believing in himself. Seth takes things deeply to heart, so I allowed him to sort it all out himself.
“And I thought Mackenzie and Sierra ran very good races. But we have pretty high expectations, and we think the rest of the our girls team could and will run better.”
Chase Ballard was fourth for the North boys and Michael Keller was fifth for the Bull Dogs. Seymour’s Jack Tormoehlen was sixth and Jennings County’s Jonah Woods was seventh.
Other local boys runners in the top 20 were North’s Ben Rankin at 11th and Ben Porter at 14th, Jennings County’s Kyle Lewis at 15th, Columbus East’s Paul Bean at 18th and Seymour’s Ian Hensen at 19th.
North crushed the field in boys action with 15 teams points while Martinsville was second at 99. Seymour grabbed the third spot at 133 while Brownstown Central was fourth with 140.
Columbus East qualified for semi-state competition by finishing fifth at 146. East’s Paul Bean was 18th, Paul Baker was 24th, Isaac Richardson was 28th, Jacob Bostic was 36th and Shaunak Deshmukh was 59th.
The Bull Dogs won the girls team competition with 18 points. They were followed by Silver Creek (73), Brown County (107), Seymour (132) and Columbus East (146).
Local runners in the top 20 included North’s Allison Coffey (fifth), Nina Bouthier (seventh), Avrie Allen (eighth) and Olivia Malone (11th), Brown County’s Rose Guingrich (13th) and Elodie Belleflamme and Seymour’s Madison Hays (18th).
East earned a berth in the semi-state as Kira Singer was 23rd, Morgan Ketron was 29th, Rachel Foley was 40th, Megan Miller was 42nd, Emma Mensendiek was 52nd and Kaitlin Wendel was 53rd.
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