NASHVILLE — The wave of blue-and-white clad Columbus North girls runners didn’t stop until five had reached the finish line.
The second-ranked Bull Dogs scored a “Perfect 15” in winning their seventh straight cross-country regional title and their 18th in the past 19 years. No. 17 Seymour finished second with 49, and Columbus East (115) and Jennings County (137) also claimed semistate berths with third- and fourth-place finishes.
“It’s an eye-opener to see what we can really do, and it gives us the momentum that we need to carry it on to semistate and state,” said junior Rachel Brougher, who defended her regional individual title.
Brougher led from start to finish, covering the 5,000-meter (3.1-mile) Eagle Park course in 18 minutes, 11.49 seconds.
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“I pushed myself as much as I could to get my personal best and help my team out,” Brougher said. “Today is a perfect day for us. It’s ‘Dog-tober,’ and I’m excited with where this is going.”
North’s Sierra Lax finished second in 18:29.20. She was followed closely by teammates Nina Bouthier (18:36.40), Arig Tong (18:38.01) and Allison Coffey (18:45.00).
“We are ecstatic,” Lax said. “To come into regional and do this is incredible. To have all our top five under 19 is awesome.”
The Perfect 15 was the Bull Dogs’ first in a big meet since the 2013 Brown County Sectional.
“There were some good runners who broke us up last week, and we took a step forward on that,” North coach Rick Weinheimer said. “It is kind of thrilling when they announce 15 points.”
North’s Ana Singhal finished 12th in 19:38.28, and Ensley Hammond took 14th in 19:57.77.
Seymour put four runners in the top 11 and five in the top 16. Ashton Chase finished sixth in 18:48.91, while Megan Winter was ninth (19:26.71), Claire Loebker 10th (19:27.52), Emma Brock 11th (19:35.96) and Abby Voss 16th (20:08.29).
East, meanwhile, had several runners achieve personal-bests to earn its fourth consecutive trip to semistate.
Kira Singer led the Olympians with an 18th-place finish in 20:15.19. Maddie Lyons took 22nd in 21:06.25, while Emma Mensendiek was 30th (21:41.81), Morgan Ketron 36th (21:57.63) and Kristen Lyons 37th (21:58.42).
“We had an excellent week of practice, and we had a plan,” East coach Leslie Weaver said. “We came in with that plan today, and we executed it to a T and did exactly what we were supposed to do.”
Jennings, which was coming off its first sectional title in school history, advanced to semistate for what coach Leah Brock said she believed might be the first time in school history.
Nicole Richardson finished 27th in 21:29.60 to lead the Panthers. Olivia Heaton took 31st in 21:45.09, while Ashley Heindel was 32nd (21:47.27), Emilee Greathouse 34th (21:54.25) and Sydney Taylor 46th (22:17.09).
“I’m excited for the future,” Leah Brock said. “This team has done a great job, and we’re young, so that’s exciting.”
Brown County finished sixth with 173 points, nine behind Switzerland County, which claimed the fifth and final team-qualifying spot. The Eagles’ Corrissa Proctor, did however, qualify as an individual after taking eighth in 19:21.95.
“I haven’t been running too well earlier in the season, and to drop time is really good for me,” Proctor said. “I wanted to be in the top 10, so I’m pretty happy.”
Also for Brown County, Sam Francis finished 43rd in 22:09.99. Haley Abraham took 45th in 22:16.12, while Jalynn Stanford was 57th (22:52.73) and Molly Austin 64th (23:28.76).