What a difference four days makes. Coming off the county meet that was run in less than perfect conditions, Saturday proved to be a perfect day for running. At the WCC conference meet at South Putnam, Greencastle ran strong, both South Putnam teams sat one point behind second and third and the North Putnam girls took the course by storm and finished in third.
In the boys' race, Greencastle finished in first place with a total of 39. Cascade was second with 62 and South Putnam was a close third with 63. Speedway tallied 83 for fourth and Monrovia was fifth with 101. Cloverdale and North Putnam fielded incomplete teams.
Greencastle was coming off the county meet on Tuesday where they ran exceptionally well. For head coach Mike Schimpf he wasn't quite sure what to expect from his team, but was more than pleased with what they delivered.
"I'm pleased," Schimpf said. "You know, it's funny because the guys ran so well on Tuesday and it's always -- you don't know how to take that. Are they going to be able to do that well on Saturday because it's hard to duplicate. Today's hotter, so times were not going to match Tuesday -- it just wasn't going to happen."
Ben Wilson led the team with a second place finish by running a 17:30. Teammates Jordan Lewis was fourth in 17:48 and Ryan Gillespie was sixth in 18:06.
Greencastle's Kyle Harlan finished in 11th with a time of 18:51, while Mike Mahoney was 18th in 19:34, followed by Nathan Eubank in 19th in a time of 19:36. Ryan Stevens struggled through an injury and finished in 20:37, good enough for 26th.
"Jordan Lewis cut another nine seconds from Tuesday. Ben Wilson was not quite as fast as Tuesday, but we were racing to win it and that happens sometimes. When you put it out there, sometimes it doesn't happen. There's no fault there -- he tried to win it and that's a good thing. We had three in the top 10 which is nice," Schimpf commented. "Ryan Gillespie had a nice PR, Nathan Eubank was just four second away from his PR, Mike Mahoney was two seconds away from what he ran on Tuesday. Mike came out this year; he's a senior and his first year running. He was eighth as of last week, Bo Walker gets a kidney stone, Mike has to run as our seventh guy, he ends up running sixth on Tuesday and running fifth today. People were able to step up and that's a great thing.
"I feel badly for Ryan Stevens. He's been nursing a hip since Tuesday, so I feel bad for him, but he gutted it out and finished the race. Sometimes that's all you can do,' Schimpf observed.
South Putnam was just one point out of a second place and head coach Brian Gardner pointed out that just one spot they need to pick up. He was pleased with the effort, but noted they need to pick it up.
"We competed," Gardner said. "When you get beat by a team by one point it's pretty hard to take. You're one place away from second and that's one spot. I had a kid get injured in the race and that always hurts you when he's one of your top five. I thought our guys ran well. I don't think time wise we necessarily ran the greatest we've run. I was really proud of Paul Rubino. We went from running just under 21 minutes last year to being an all-conference runner this year. I'm really proud of him.
"The other guys had put themselves in position where they still have to go down in times. There times are right around 19 minutes and that's the ways it's been all year. We have to figure out a way to get those times down before sectional to get out," he said.
North Putnam's Kasey McLaughlin placed seventh to lead the Cougars. He ran an 18:24 and was North's only top ten finisher on the day. Kenny Quisenberry finished in 20th with a time of 19:39 and Jared Preecs was 34th with a time of 23:06. Chris Baker finished in 40th with his time of 25:48.
"I wish they could have had a full team, but they all ran well. I was proud of Kasey McLaughlin," NP head coach Kevin Lutes said. "His senior year and being able to break top ten, so it was just a really good meet overall. I'm looking forward to seeing what they can do on Tuesday night."
Cloverdale had anything but a typical day on Saturday. They fielded an incomplete team after a runner failed to show, which crippled any chance they had of placing. Head coach Katie McLaughlin was none too happy after the race.
"The boys race was disappointing because we didn't have a full team. I had one runner just not show up, so that caught us all off guard," she explained. "The boys had a morale problem, and I don't blame them. They were counting on their team and were let down. Considering what the boys went through on Saturday, I thought they did a good job."
Cloverdale's top finisher was Kyle Chambers in 27th place with a time of 20:56. Chuck Strunk finished the day in 33rd place in 22:50 and James Murphy ran a 24:38 good enough for 37th. Joe Fidler rounded out the Cloverdale runners with a 38th finish in 24:44.
The Cougars have made strides all season and it culminated on Saturday. They had one runner place in the top five and another in the top 20.
Paxton Stephenson was North's top five finisher in a time of 22:08. She was followed by Whitney High in 12th position with her time of 21:12. Elsiana Crosby was 21st in a time of 25:34. A trio of Cougars finished 28th through 30th. Hillary Salyers was 28th in a time of 28:06, Dakota Parent was 29th with a 28:21 and Megan Robinson finished 30th in a time of 28:32.
With their surprise third place finish, head coach Kevin Lutes was all smiles after the meet. He expressed his pleasure with how his team ran and his optimism about the future of the program.
"I am extremely proud of the girls," Lutes said. "They were really excited about the county meet and they thought that if everybody had their race right on top of things, then we could get through. They knew that a lot of people were not expecting them to do that, so to be able to do that was outstanding. Especially Paxton (Stephenson) getting in the top five overall. She's just a great runner.
"We don't graduate anybody, so I looking forward to see what they can do," Lutes commented.
Greencastle finished the day just two points out of the top spot, but received some top-notch performances along the way.
Felicia Barger came in with a 23:35 good enough for 14th, while teammate Ivonne Martinez was 18th in a time of 24:40. Olivia Humphreys placed 20th with her time of 25:16.
"We knew going in that the meet was going to be close," GHS head coach Garry Anderson said. "Also, according to past results we knew that Monrovia was the team to beat. I was hoping the results of the county meet would carry over and give us a boost. I was very pleased with how the freshmen competed."
Anderson also commented on the fact that the four all-conference runners were the most in school history.
"We will use this as a measure as we prepare for the sectionals on Tuesday," Anderson commented.
Cloverdale finished in fourth place and had two runners finish in the top 20. Nikki Routh finished in 13th place to lead the Clovers. She ran a 23:14, with Jenna Lewis coming in with a 16th place performance in a time of 23:50. Kayla Hegna was 25th with a time of 27:19, Samantha Monnett was 33rd with a time of 29:54 and Megan Schwomeyer was 35th overall in a time of 31:52.
"The girls did a great job," CHS head coach Katie McLaughlin said. "They placed fourth and I am so proud of them for that. They all ran great races."
South Putnam finished just one point behind Cloverdale on the day.
Amanda Lund narrowly missed being named all-conference, finishing in 11th place overall with a time of 22:43. Fellow Eagles Mikayla Cherry and Brittany Fitzpatrick placed 23rd and 24th, with times of 25:49 and 25:58 respectively. Brittany Cox ran a 29:21 to finish 32nd, with Robbie Urton placing 34th in a time of 30:52.
GHS, North Putnam and South Putnam return to South Putnam for tonight's sectional at 5 p.m. Cloverdale heads for the Brown County Sectional at 5 p.m.
At South Putnam
Varsity Cross Country Conference Meet
Girls team results
Monrovia 34, Greencastle 36, North Putnam 88, Cloverdale 114, South Putnam 115, Speedway 121, Cascade INC
1. Nowrouzi 21:35†, 2. Culler (GHS) 21:49†, 3. Spear (MON) 22:00†, 4. Shields (MON) 22:02†, 5. Stephenson (NP) 22:08†, 6. Weatherman (CAS) 22:17†, 7. Gill (GHS) 22:21†, 8. Murtagh (GHS) 22:22†, 9. Dwigans (GHS) 22:22†, 10. McNelis (MON) 22:31†, 11. Lund (SP) 22:43, 12. High (NP) 21:12, 13. Routh (CHS) 23:14, 14. Barger (GHS) 23:35, 15. Lyon (SPW) 23:44, 16. Lewis (CHS) 23:50, 17. Musson (CAS) 24:16, 18. Martinez (GHS) 24:40, 19. Porter (MON) 24:55, 20. Humphreys (GHS) 25:16, 21. Crosby (NP) 25:34, 22. Wehr (SPW) 25:48, 23. Cherry (SP) 25:49, 24. Fitzpatrick (SP) 25:58, 25. Hegna (CHS) 27:19, 26. Diakaby (SPW) 27:44, 27. Hildenbrand (MON) 28:01, 28. Salyers (NP) 28:06, 29. Parent (NP) 28:21, 30. Robinson (NP) 28:32, 31. Liggett (SPW) 28:39, 32. Cox (SP) 29:21, 33. Monnett (CHS) 29:54, 34. Urton (SP) 30:52, 35. Schwomeyer (CHS) 31:52, 36. Noblet (SPW) 36:05
Boys team results
Greencastle 39, Cascade 62, South Putnam 63, Speedway 83, Monrovia 101, Cloverdale INC, North Putnam INC
1. Holt (CAS) 16:43†, 2. Wilson (GHS) 17:30†, 3. Fisher (SPW) 17:38†, 4. Lewis (GHS) 17:48†, 5. Hacker (CAS) 17:50†, 6. Gillespie (GHS) 18:06†, 7. McLaughlin (NP) 18:24†, 8. Bates (SPW) 18:28†, 9. Rubino (SP) 18:37†, 10. Royal (MON) 18:44†, 11. Harlan (GHS) 18:51, 12. Guernsey (CAS) 18:55, 13. Northrup (SP) 19:00, 14. Parker (SP) 19:03, 15. Heavin (SP) 19:17, 16. Nowrouzi (MON) 19:29, 17. Barr (SP) 19:30, 18. Mahoney (GHS) 19:34, 19. Eubank (GHS) 19:36, 20. Quisenberry (NP) 19:39, 21. Nobley (SPW) 19:41, 22. Hayes (SP) 19:49, 23. Standeford (MON) 19:50, 24. Eivera (CAS) 19:51, 25. Rosales (CAS) 19:57, 26. Stevens (GHS) 20:37, 27. Chambers (CHS) 20:56, 28. Gardiner (MON) 21:08, 29. McCormick (SPW) 21:22, 30. Purvis (CAS) 21;27, 31. Tiffany (SPW) 21:40, 32. Charboneau (SPW) 21:56, 33. Strunk (CHS) 22:50, 34. Preecs (NP) 23:06, 35. Baggesen (CAS) 23:22, 36. Mundy (MON) 24:16, 37. Murphy (CHS) 24:38, 38. Fidler (CHS) 24:44, 39. Watts (SPW) 25:25, 40. Baker (NP) 25:48
† Denotes All-Conference selection