North girls capture Conference Indiana title; boys take second

Columbus North girls runners await the starting gun at Saturday’s Conference Indiana cross-country meet at Ceraland.

Ted Schultz | The Republic

Having fallen out of the state cross-country rankings and competing without their No. 2 runner on Saturday, the Columbus North girls were underdogs going into the Conference Indiana race.

But the Bull Dogs weren’t deterred. They came through with several personal-best performances and outscored No. 20 Bloomington South 41-45 to capture the title at Ceraland.

“The girls ran outstanding,” North coach Rick Sluder said. “They went out hard from the gun, they went after it, and they ran like they really wanted to win. It’s probably the strongest race we’ve ran all year.”

Columbus North’s Ainsley Sherlock crosses the finish line in third place in Saturday’s Conference Indiana girls cross-country race at Ceraland.

Ted Schultz | The Republic

Ainsley Sherlock, who has been the Bull Dogs’ No. 3 runner most of the season, came through to lead the team with a third-place overall finish in 19 minutes, 39.8 seconds, for 5,000 meters (3.1 miles).

“I felt pretty great, and I feel like everybody else on the team ran really well,” Sherlock said. “We were all well rested, and I thought we were ready to race today and I think we all did great. We were all cheering on each other, and we helped push each other.”

With No. 2 runner Carys Glyn-Jones out with a minor injury, North got a big lift from Tristan Works, who finished fifth in 29:52.6.

“She’s a freshman and just keeps getting better every week,” Sluder said. “She ran really strong for us today. It was probably kind of a turning point for us.”

Kyleigh Wolf, who has been the Bull Dogs No. 1 runner, finished seventh in 20:00.6. Macy Eaton passed two Bloomington South runners in the final 200 meters to move into 11th in 20:08.0. Those four points that Eaton gained by passing the Panthers were the difference in the final margin.

Lana Wisler rounded out North’s team scoring with a 15th-place finish in 20:26.9. Emma Lowther took 17th in 20:31.9, and Lydia Weed was 21st in 20:47.5.

Meanwhile, the 10th-ranked Bull Dog boys finished second as a team. No. 12 Bloomington North won with 33 points to 47 for Columbus North and 62 for No. 25 Bloomington South.

Columbus North’s Neal White, right, trails winner Jacob Mitchell of Bloomington South across the finish line in Saturday’s Conference Indiana boys cross-country race at Ceraland.

Ted Schultz | The Republic

Neal White led the Bull Dogs with a second-place finish in 15:18.5, just three-tenths of a second behind Bloomington North’s Jacob Mitchell.

“I’m not upset with the way I ran,” White said. “It was a good race all around, very competitive, but I’m a little disappointed coming away with second. It’s been close between us this year.”

Columbus North boys runners take the starting line for Saturday’s Conference Indiana cross-country meet at Ceraland.

Ted Schultz | The Republic

Akot Tong finished fourth in 15:44.7. Draven Martinez took 10th in 16:05.0, while Jonny Klaus was 16th (16:21.4), Amit Gangadhara 17th (16:22.4), Jace Works 18th (16:22.9) and Denton Sluder 20th (16:32.0).

“The boys ran really well,” Rick Sluder said. “We just put ourselves in a little bit of a hole the first mile, but they fought back pretty well. We ran lot of PRs today. We just ran into a really good team, and we’ll be ready for them next time.”