East boys finish second in season opener

NASHVILLE — The pouring rain didn’t stop the Columbus East boys and girls from posting quality times in the season-opening Brown County Cross Country Challenge at Eagle Park.

Wednesday’s event wasn’t a typical cross-country race for the Olympians. Each school paired two runners together to make an individual relay team, with each athlete running half of the 5K (3.1-mile) race.

East had seven boys and 11 girls duos competing. The top three pairs were scored for each team.

The Olympian boys finished second with 22 points and the girls placed third with 26. Silver Creek won with 10 points in the boys race, and Noblesville swept the top three places to win the the girls race with six points.

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East had two boys duos place in the top 10. Colby Hertle and Garrett McGaha took sixth with a combined time of 17 minutes, 51.46 seconds. Owen Rupp and Matthew Novreske finished in 18:23.66 to place ninth.

Brandon Taylor and Tyler Hertle finished 13th (19:01.5). Nathan Wettschurack and Ryan Sadtler came in 14th (19:04.92), and Kaden Wise and Casey Bartholomew were 17th (19:31.84) for the boys.

“I’m really excited for how we finished today,” East boys coach Ryan Burke said. “From where we were last year at this point to where we are this year, I think we’ve made a ton of progress, and we’re just going to continue this year and I’m really encouraged by the start to this season.”

Brown County runner Marion Dolph jetted out in front at the start of the boys race to leave both he and his running partner Jackson McPheeters alone the rest of the way. Their 16:23.27 time was nearly a minute and 12 seconds ahead of second place.

The Eagles’ second boys team of Cammeron Fox and Jason Stration placed 15th in 19:11.25.

Both Dolph and McPheeters managed to meet their goal of running faster than their 5K split time, but said they would have liked to have another team to pace against.

“It would have been a little better if we would have had somebody to run with, but we ran pretty well, considering,” Dolph said.

Both the Brown County and East girls teams had a pair in the top 10. Eme Koester and Anna Fletwood placed fourth for the Eagles (19:44.62), while Elizabeth Stevens and Olivia Linneman finished sixth (20:20.86) for the Olympians.

East’s Olivia Shoaf and Jordan Spurgeon ran 21:17.73 to place 11th. Kaylin DeHart and Amanda Pottorff finished 13th (21:58.24), while Kerigan Greathouse and Katie Hagan took 15th (22:46.95) and Mallory Rupp and Leonie Strickler were 18th (23:08.80).

Brown County’s second pair of Maris Wyman and Angel Meece finished 22nd (24:20.10).

East girls coach Jesse Shoaf said he didn’t realize the Olympians were so close to second place, being just one point away from Silver Creek.

“I was glad where we were,” Shoaf said. “We have a really young team. We’ve got like eight new freshman this year, so it’s a really big learning curve for them.”