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In searing heat, the Columbus East boys cross-country team placed fifth out of seven teams at the Columbus East Invitational on Saturday at Clifty Elementary.
The heat kept a few runners from even finishing the race, but others notched top times despite the conditions.
Bloomington South dominated the competition, placing six runners in the top eight. The Panthers had 15 points to outdistance
Bloomington North, which was second with 49. East scored 124.
The Olympians were led by senior Paul Baker, who finished 17th in 18 minutes, 21 seconds for 5,000 meters (3.1 miles).
“Our overall times were better than last year,” Baker said. “We just need to help pick each other up and lead each other on.”
Freshman Paul Bean ended the day 19th in 18:29, junior Isaac Richardson finished 27th in 19:50, sophomore Will Bucklew ran 20:50 to put him in 37th and freshman Jonathan Clayton finished 40th in 21:37.
Boys coach Ryan Burke praised the effort of the young squad.
“We had five guys running varsity for the first time, so there was a slight inexperience factor.” Burke said. “We started off a little fast, but that is going to help us as we improve down the road.”
Burke said Baker’s leadership was a factor Saturday and will continue to be down the road.
“Baker is just a gamer,” Burke said. “He’s going to give his best effort in whatever he is doing.”
In the girls race, the Olympians were led by sophomore Kira Singer, who finished 15th in 22:16, assisting the girls in their
fifth-place finish. Singer said
the course’s difficulty was a key
“We have been running this course trying to get used to it,” Singer said. “We just need to finish strong and fast.”
Other top finishers for the Olympians were sophomore Morgan Ketron, who finished in 23:58 to end up 24th, junior Rachel Foley took 30th in 24:48, freshman Emma Mensendiek ended up 37th at 25:51 and junior Kaitlin Wendel took 43rd in 26:36.
Girls coach Leslie Weaver said the team had a solid effort.
“As long as we run together, that’s our biggest focus,” Weaver said. “We run in a pack as much as we can, and our top numbers always shift.”
The Seymour girls team, which was third with 61 points, had a few strong finishes, putting three runners in the top 15. Senior Zoey Johnson finished second in 19:29.
Other top finishers for the Owls were junior Madison Hays, who was sixth in 21:21 and junior Hannah Kautz, who finished 11th in 22:00.
Owls coach Spencer Sunbury praised the team’s ability to perform.
“I feel like we came out and ran a strong race,” Sunbury said. “We’re getting to the point now where we are coming out and we are running a smart race.”
Bloomington South took the girls team title at 42 points, edging Bloomington North, which had 44.
Bloomington North’s Kate Raphael won the girls race in 19:28. Bloomington South’s Kyle Burks won the boys race in 16:18.5.
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