BRAZIL -- The South Putnam boys cross country team showed on Tuesday night at the Northview Invitational that they might be a force to be reckoned with as the postseason rapidly approaches.
Just a year removed from a fifth-place team finish in the eight-team invite, the Eagles ran a strong strategic race on the way to a narrow second-place behind a tough Cascade squad.
South Putnam's Tyler Heavin finished eighth in the race in 18:51 to lead the Eagles, but it was the efforts of the second through sixth-place runners that helped the team to a score of 57, slightly behind the Cadets' 51.
Dylan Hayes placed 12th for the Eagles in 19:08 to lead Tanner Barr, Andrew Northrup, Josh Alczak and Paul Rubinho across the line in 14th through 17th place just four seconds apart.
"I think we're getting there," said coach Brian Gardner of his boys' team. "We've still got a tight pack, which helps. It's very evident that we wanted to compete tonight. Every place counts."
Northview's Connor Strain took advantage of his only home meet of the season to break former teammate, James Grounds' course record at Craig Park.
Strain rolled to a time of 16:36 to win the race by 27 seconds over Cascade's Luke Holt. Strain bested his time in the meet from last year by a remarkable 1:28 to take the record and pace his team to a third-place finish.
The South Putnam girls continued to work through some injuries to several runners, but managed a fourth-place overall with 92 points.
Northview was the winner with a perfect score of 15 points as Kylee Thacker won the event in her first race back from an injured heel. Thackers' winning time of 21:46 beat our teammate Casandra Barnett by 16 seconds. The Knights placed all five of their scoring runners in the top-seven overall.
The Eagles' top effort came from Amanda Lund, who ran to a 24:11, nearly two minutes better than her time from last year on the same course. Lund placed 11th overall.
"I thought we ran strong," said coach Elaine Bye of her squad. "This season we've got some girls injured, but we're doing what we need to do. We'll begin working on speed so we can peak around the sectional."
Madi Marsteller placed 17th in a time of 25:05, Brittany Fitzpatrick took 22nd in 26:35 and Brittany Cox was 37th in 30:04. Robbie Urton in 40th, Megan Barnes in 48th and Mikayla Cherry wrapped up the Eagles' runners.
At Craig Park
Boys' Team Scores: Cascade 51, South Putnam 57, Northview 73, South Vermillion 92, North Vermillion 106, Rockville 176, Riverton Parke 185, Sullivan 193
Connor Strain (Nv) 16:36*, 2. Luke Holt (C) 17:03, 3. Wade Hacker (C) 17:37, 4. Austin Shell (NVerm) 17:42, 5. Mark Beight (FC) 17:58, 6. Brice Webster (SV) 18:13, 7. Ryan Lutes (Nv) 18:20, 8. Tyler Heavin (SP) 18:51, 9. Dylan Reyher (SV) 18:54, 10. Ed Moore (NV) 18:56, 11. Ethan Gurnsey (C) 19:07, 12. Dylan Hayes (SP) 19:08, 13. Luke Throckmorton (FC) 19:09, 14. Tanner Barr (SP) 19:11, 15. Andrew Northrup (SP) 19:13
Other South Putnam: 16. Josh Alczak, 19:14, 17. Paul Rubino, 19:15, 25. Jacob Parker, 19:42, 32. Andrew Kelly, 20:32, 35. Martin Alig, 20:45, 39. Tim Toland (SP) 21:10, 45. Shea Arnold, 21:29, 55. Matt Wheeler, 21:43, 56. Noah Boswell, 21:51, 58. Wadim Halik, 21:53, 71. Jason Norman, 24:03, 77. Alex Kelly, 25:10, 81. Loren Ashcroft, 28:22
Girls Team Scores: Northview 15, South Vermillion 75, Sullivan 80, South Putnam 92, Riverton Parke 107
Kylee Thacker (Nv) 21:46, 2. Casandra Barnett (Nv) 22:02, 3. Carolyn Trueblood (FC) 22:07, 4. Alyssa Conrad (Nv) 22:22, 5. Justine Weatherman (C) 22:33, 6. Allie True (Nv) 22:48, 7. Nicole Nelson (Nv) 23:12, 8. Megan Galloway (SV) 23:14, 9. Corey Laue (Nv) 23:35, 10. Shelby Sands (Nv) 23:48, 11. Amanda Lund (SP) 24:11, 12. Samantha Thompson (SL) 24:28, 13. Ashton Searing (RP) 24:35, 14. Haylie James (SL) 24:38, 15. Taylor Poynter (Nverm) 24:43
Other South Putnam: 17. Madi Marsteller, 25:05, 22. Brittany Fitzpatrick, 26:35, 37. Brittany Cox, 30:04, 40. Robbie Urton, 31:20, 48. Megan Barnes, 49. Mikayla Cherry