CLOVERDALE -- When three runners for one team cross the finish line in the top three spots, a team is usually in for a good day.
The Cougars also grabbed the top spot in the girls' race, as Paxton Stephenson won the race in 22:24. Owen Valley won the team competition, though, with 34 points. The Cougars were next with 39 points. Cloverdale was third with 47 points.
The top three finishers for the Cougar boys were probably the highlight of the evening, though. McLaughlin ran an 18:36 to win the race, and Quisenberry was next at 18:48. North coach Kevin Lutes was especially impressed with Lasiter, though, as he was able to drop his time to under 20 minutes (19:15) in just his second race.
"I was happy with the 1-2-3 finish. Jake Lasiter, who finished third for us, had his first race this last Saturday. He dropped 1:01 from that time," Lutes said. "Kasey finished first for us, where he has been, but he improved on his time by about 15 seconds. Kenny Quisenberry has been playing soccer and this is the first regular meet he's competed in. He just ran an outstanding time."
Next for the Cougars was Jared Preecs in 10th. Chris Baker was 14th for the squad.
The Clovers were second in the boys' race, with Kyle Chambers leading the way with a fourth-place finish. Three other Clovers were in the top 10, as Brian Stout was sixth, Chuck Strunk was seventh and James Murphy ninth. Joe Fidler, who finished 13th for CHS, may have impressed his coach most, though, as the freshman dropped his personal best time considerably.
The coach was happy with her entire boys' squad, though.
"The boys surprised me. They did pretty well," McLaughlin said. "A couple of them had their best times of the year, which was really good to see. A couple of them needed to see their times go down just to give them more confidence."
In the girls' race, it was Stephenson who ran away with the race. Although she was in third through much of the first half of the event, she made her move at the right time and finished 19 seconds ahead of second-place Danielle Matsel of Owen Valley.
Whitney High was next for North with a seventh-place finish. Elsiana Crosby and Megan Robinson also placed in the top 10, with Crosby finishing ninth and Robinson 10th. Hillary Salyers was next in 12th, followed by Dakota Parent in 13th. Mandy Preecs placed 17th for the Cougars.
"The girls got second and just missed out by a few places. Cloverdale and Owen Valley both competed well, and I was really impressed with the way our kids ran," Lutes said. "Despite the heat, I think everybody improved their times from the last race."
For the girls, Jenna Lewis and Nikki Routh got the Clovers off to a solid start by finishing third and fourth, respectively. Kayla Hegna also came in with an 11th-place finish. Megan Schwomeyer was 15th, and Sam Monnett was 16th.
McLaughlin needs to see more consistency, top-to-bottom, from her squad as the latter part of the season approaches.
"On the girls' side, it's disappointing when we can get two girls in the top five consistently, and then we have two who are in bottom five. It's hard to win a meet when you have something like that," McLaughlin said. "We need to work on those fourth- and fifth-place runners to get them to move up. It seems like one of them got an injury constantly. They've got to step it up, especially getting close to County, if we even want to have a chance not to place in last place."
The coach said she really wants to see the kids buckle down as the big meets approach.
"I'm looking for effort and taking things seriously. It's hard to get high school kids to focus on the task at hand sometimes. If we can just get them to focus a little better, I'm hoping that things are going to improve," McLaughlin concluded.
"We've had fewer meets this year, so we've really be working hard in practice, trying to get prepared for the end of the season, and they're just doing a great job. Every meet we have, they surprise me," Lutes said.
The coach especially wanted to compliment his athletes in two fall sports. The extra effort they put forth is noticed and greatly appreciated.
"I was particularly impressed with the kids that have been dual-sporting. They haven't been through all the practices, but they've been practicing on their own," Lutes said. "Paxton Stephenson and Megan Robinson both have been coming after their volleyball practices and running. I'm really impressed with their effort, and it's been paying off."
Cloverdale hosts Tri-West at 4:30 p.m. today. North Putnam has a break from meets until Monday, Sept. 29, when it visits Greencastle to take on the Tiger Cubs and Crawfordsville at 5 p.m.
Owen Valley 34, North Putnam 39, Cloverdale 47
Individual results -- 1. Stephenson (N) 22:24, 2. Matsel (O) 22:43, 3. Lewis (C) 22:58, 4. Routh (C) 23:28, 5. York (O) 24:05, 6. Stratton (O) 24:23, 7. High (N) 25:42, 8. Shaw (O) 26:31, 9. Crosby (N) 27:42, 10. Robinson (N) 28:11, 11. Hegna (C) 28:18, 12. Salyers (N) 28:41, 13. Parent (N) 29:12, 14. Law (O) 30:06, 15. Schwomeyer (C) 31:11, 16. Monnett (C) 31:33, 17. Preecs (N) 37:58.
North Putnam 30, Cloverdale 39, Owen Valley 50
Individual results -- 1. McLaughlin (N) 18:36, 2. Quisenberry (N) 18:48, 3. Lasiter (N) 19:15, 4. Chambers (C) 19:41, 5. Stratton (O) 21:05, 6. Stout (C) 21:15, 7. Strunk (C) 22:36, 8. Barnett (O) 22:54, 9. Murphy (C) 23:28, 10. Richardson (O) 23:37, 11. Preecs (N) 23:43, 12. Bird (O) 23:44, 13. Fidler (C) 24:29, 14. Baker (N) 25:51, 15. Westrey (O) 25:53.
Next meet -- Cloverdale hosts Tri-West at 4:30 p.m. today. North Putnam visits Greencastle for a three-way match with the Tiger Cubs and Crawfordsville at 5 p.m. Monday, Sept. 29.