Championship Celebration — North girls team, Kilbarger-Stumpff win state cross-country titles

TERRE HAUTE — Columbus North went into Saturday’s Boys and Girls Cross Country State Finals intent on bringing home a pair of state championships.

While the top-ranked Bull Dogs didn’t collect both team titles, they did come away with one team and one individual victory. Senior Reese Kilbarger-Stumpff was a surprise winner in the boys race, and the North girls pulled out the team championship at LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course.

The title was the second in school history for the Bull Dog girls, with the first coming in 2009.

“I think this is a really big deal, and it was well deserved for the Bull Dogs,” said junior Lily Baker, who led North with an eighth-place finish.

The North boys went in as the favorite to win their second consecutive team title, but finished third behind Brebeuf Jesuit and Hamilton Southeastern.

Kilbarger-Stumpff, who finished fourth at state last year, outkicked defending champion Izaiah Steury of Angola to win the 5,000-meter (3.1-mile) race in 15 minutes, 22.6 seconds.

“I’ve been saying, ‘OK, maybe I can win next year,’ since last year, but I really didn’t start believing it until a couple races into this season,” Kilbarger-Stumpff said.

Following the meet, Kilbarger-Stumpff was presented with the IHSAA Mental Attitude Award, which is given to one senior in each IHSAA sport.

“That was a surprise,” Kilbarger-Stumpff said. “It was really, really nice. It’s just a very cool thing to be recognized for.”