However, both Greencastle teams were more than up to the challenge, finishing fourth in both the girls and boys races and advancing to Saturday's Ben Davis Regional.
Brownsburg won the girls' meet with an astounding total of 20, just five points away from a perfect score. The Lady Tiger Cubs led the county schools, finishing fourth with a total of 108, just one point behind Plainfield for third. North Putnam was eighth with 219, and South Putnam was ninth with a total of 246.
On the boys' side, Avon edged Plainfield 47-48. The Tiger Cubs were fourth with a 127, and South was seventh at 183. The Cougars fielded an incomplete team.
For GHS girls' coach Garry Anderson, the day was about improving over their performance at the WCC meet, in which they were edged by Monrovia for the title.
"We are more prepared today than we were Saturday, obviously. Most of the girls got their best times ever. I was very pleased with that," Anderson said.
"This is great--fourth place. And missing out by only, what, one point to be third? It's fantastic. I'm pleased for the girls," he added.
Sara Culler paced GHS, running a 21:37 to finish 15th. Kaitlyn Murtagh was next in 17th, and Emily Gill was 20th. Jasmine Dwigans was 22nd and Felicia Barger closed out the scoring in 36th.
Olivia Humphreys was right behind in 37th, and Ivonne Martinez finished 42nd.
The coach was pleased across the board.
"Kaitlyn had a great race, Sara had a great race and Emily Gill had a great race. This is three races in a row that Emily's had good, good races," Anderson said. "I like the way that Jasmine raced. Olivia ran her best race on this course by over a minute. She dropped considerably."
And now the coach is simply excited for regional.
"I can't wait until regional. It'll be the first time we've raced on a flat course since Cascade,"
When asked about his team's adjustment to a flat course after South Putnam's hills, Anderson's strategy was simple.
"Just run. No hills; just run," he said.
Boys' coach Mike Schimpf is taking a similar approach for his team, knowing they need to come out, enjoy the experience and run their own race.
"Any time you can go to a regional, that's a great thing. You've made memories for yourself," Schimpf said. "We're going to go out to eat; we're going to do things that I hope they'll always remember.
On Tuesday, Wilson paced the effort with a ninth-place finish in 17:08. Jordan Lewis was next at 20th, and Ryan Gillespie was 22nd. Kyle Harlan placed 29th and Mike Mahoney was the final scoring runner in 50th.
Nathan Eubank was 52nd, and Ryan Stevens placed 56th.
Schimpf believed his team had maximized its place, as the top three were likely out of reach.
"It's nice. I hoped that we would be as high as fourth. The other three were just going to be that much farther ahead of us," he said.
Now the concern becomes fatigue. Tournament season tends to place meets much closer together than the rest of the year.
"We're in that span where we go Tuesday-Saturday- Tuesday-Saturday, and they're probably a little worn down," Schimpf said. "I'll have to try to be kind to them the next couple of days and see if we can't get them to go out and maybe pop a good one."
Another concern is pacing. Against the strong competition, GHS went out much too fast in last year's regional.
"We did go out fast. That's something Ben's talked about a lot. Ben went out really fast. I think he ran a 5:05 the first mile, which is just way too fast. We've tried to work at a 5:20 pace this year, so that would have been too fast for this year," Schimpf said.
For the other two county schools, Tuesday was the end of the line. There were no heads hung, though. It has been a season of progress for all, and the coaches and runners appreciate the fact.
Kevin Lutes' North Putnam girls finished eight, while his boys' squad was incomplete with only three runners.
"I was really pleased with everybody showing up as they did," Lutes said. "I don't think our intensity level was what it was for conference or county. I think we got a little star-struck tonight, especially with everybody that was coming in. I think the girls knew, realistically, that we didn't have much of a shot of getting out. The boys had an incomplete team. It does do something to them mentally; we haven't got past that."
However, it was Mandy Preecs, who finished 76th, whose effort Lutes singled out afterward.
"I haven't said anything about her this season, but Mandy Preecs is our seventh runner, and she went out and waylaid her time. She ran a 34:23 tonight, and she had been running 37s and 36s. She just did an outstanding job," Lutes said.
For the boys, senior Kasey McLaughlin led the way, as he placed 24th in 18:18. Fellow senior Kenny Quisenberry placed 44th, and Chris Baker was 82nd.
"We graduate two of our guys, but Chris Baker was our third runner tonight," Lutes commented. "I know he was disappointed with being toward the back of the pack, but I told him this is a stepping stone and we can learn to get better."
Lutes is looking for that improvement from all his returning runners, though. He's seen good things this year and he wants to see even more.
"I'm really looking forward to next year and what they can do," Lutes said. "Hopefully through training, we can get past being concerned with other teams and we can just run our own race. I think we lacked that a little tonight.
"Their work ethic is great and I look forward to good things to come," he added.
The South Putnam boys' performance was anchored by strong races from a pair of seniors in their final race.
"Tyler Heavin ran the best time he's ever run in his cross country career. Andrew Northrup ran his best time in his career. As seniors in their last race, that's all you can ask for," Eagle coach Brian Gardner said.
Jorge Cavell ran 45th, and Dylan Hayes was 55th.
"I thought we competed tonight. In the last race of the year, that's all you can ask for," Gardner said. "I was proud of our guys and the effort they gave. Northrup was sick yesterday, and he still ran his best time. We competed and ran hard. At this point in time, it doesn't matter what your times are, necessarily. It's do you compete and go hard."
Although the Eagles lose three of their four top finishers, they also return 13 runners from this year's squad. Gardner hopes the experience and training translate onto the course next year.
"I think the younger guys started to see some success with times going down," he said. "We'll have to run a lot this summer and get ourselves where we need to be. I look forward to those younger guys coming back and running for us."
For the Lady Eagles, this marked the end of a season of struggling with injury. The squad spent much of the year watching team members go down with various ailments. They stuck with it, though, and were always able to field a full team.
"This whole season we've had injury after injury. We had another injury last week and then we had one yesterday. So I was just trying to get a group of five runners, and we had five finish," coach Elaine Bye said.
Amanda Lund led the Eagles, placing 29th in 22:59. Brittany Fitzpatrick was 44th, and Mikayla Cherry was 45th. Both of these girls were at or near their personal best times.
"Mikayla Cherry PR'ed and Brittany Fitzpatrick was two second off her PR. Amanda Lund was our first runner and she ran a strong race," Bye said.
Brittany Cox was 7th, and Robbie Urton finished the effort in 74th.
"They just ran well. They've improved so much over the year. I'm happy with it," Bye commented.
Dealing with so much injury can be tough on a team and a rookie coach like Bye. But she and the girls have taken it in stride and kept on running.
"We just shake our heads and go on. They're a unified group, so they've helped each other," Bye said. "It was my first year, so they've helped me. It's been a fun learning experience for everybody, and I'm excited for next year."
Both Greencastle teams advance to the Ben Davis Regional, which begins at 10 a.m. Saturday.
At South Putnam
South Putnam Cross Country Sectional
Brownsburg 20†, Avon 71†, Plainfield 107†, Greencastle 108†, Southmont 134†, Danville 150, Western Boone 217, North Putnam 219, South Putnam 246, Crawfordsville 279, Tri-West 297, Cascade INC, Rockville INC
1. Lesko (B) 19:23*, 2. Goduto (B) 19:37*, 3. Clauser (Sm) 19:53*, 4. Webster (B) 20:12*, 5. Rush (B) 20:39*, 6. Lippencott (Sm) 20:46*, 7. McGary (P) 20:50*, 8. Rush (B) 20:55*, 9. Myers (A) 21:14*, 10. Moser (B) 21:20*, 11. Brown (A) 21:23*, 12. Callahan (D) 21:27*, 13. Gaerke (B) 21:29*, 14. Smith (A) 21:36*, 15. Culler (G) 21:37*, 16. Deckard (D) 21:40, 17. Murtagh (G) 21:50, 18. Kirchoff (A) 21:51, 19. McNealy (A) 21:59, 20. Gill (G) 22:03, 21. Taivalkosk 22:11, 22. Dwigans (G) 22:13, 23. Stephenson (NP) 2:18, 24. Erlenbaugh (P) 22:24, 25. Musson (Ca) 22:30, 26. Widau (A) 2:34, 27. Hoesman (P) 22:46, 28. Stevens (A) 22:51, 29. Lund (SP) 22:59, 30. Eystad (P) 23:03, 31. Tichenelle (TW) 23:06, 32. Weatherman (Ca) 23:18, 33. High (NP) 23:28, 34. Dale (WB) 23:34, 35. Emmert (WB) 23:38, 36. Barger (G) 23:42, 37. Humphreys (G) 23:46, 38. Shumaker (D) 23:51, 39. Lawton (Sm) 24:31, 40. Cunningham (P) 24:41, 41. Detro (Sm) 24:59, 42. Martinez (G) 24:59, 43. Freiburger (D) 25:07, 44. Fitzpatrick (SP) 25:23, 45. Cherry (SP) 25:32, 46. Crosby (NP) 25:37, 47. Chidester (D) 25:54, 48. Kinslow (WB) 26:10, 49. Carter (P) 26:16, 50. Siller (D) 26:17, 51. West (Sm) 26:41, 52. Krasutsky (WB) 26:56, 53. Tribbett (Cr) 27:15, 54. Kidwell (Cr) 27:18, 55. Hickman (Sm) 27:27, 56. Brown-Stites (R) 27:31, 57. Amor (D) 27:33, 58. Fairfield (Cr) 27:34, 59. Stewart (WB) 27:36, 60. Thompson (R) 27:40, 61. Shirar (Cr) 27:43, 62. Gall (WB) 27:54, 63. Hunley (Sm) 28:13, 64. Salyers (NP) 28:18, 65. Robinson (NP) 28:22, 66. Parent (NP) 28:23, 67. Sanders (TW) 29:16, 68. Simmons (Cr) 29:17, 69. Donovan (R) 29:30, 70. Cox (SP) 29:32, 71. Hill (R) 29:34, 72. Poyner (TW) 31:29, 73. Russell (TW) 31:42, 74. Urton (SP) 33:18, 75. Horlacher (WB) 34:18, 76. Preecs (NP) 34:23, 77. Dillman (TW) 34:46
Avon 47†, Plainfield 48†, Brownsburg 77†, Greencastle 127†, Cascade 147†, Danville 174, South Putnam 183, Crawfordsville 220, Tri-West 252, Rockville 286, Southmont 301, Western Boone 349, North Putnam INC
1. Surfus (A) 16:16*, 2. Vicenzi (B) 16:21*, 3. Holt (Ca) 16:28*, 4. McGrew (P) 16:44*, 5. Griesenauer (A) 16:51*, 6. Schmitt (A) 16:58*, 7. Mukhtar (P) 16:59*, 8. Hoover (TW) 17:01*, 9. Wilson (G) 17:08*, 10. Patterson (P) 17:16*, 11. Rondot (B) 17:22*, 12. Hacker (Ca) 17:28*, 13. Boyer (P) 17:40*, 14. Wilhelm (P) 17:44*, 15. Collicott (P) 17:45*, 16. Owens (P) 17:46, 17. Ropa (A) 17:52, 18 Swihart (A) 17:54, 19. Hall (B) 18:00, 20. Lewis (G) 18:01, 21. Darling (B) 18:07, 22. Gillespie (G) 18:12, 23. Haak (D) 18:13, 24. McLaughlin (NP) 18:18, 25. Daun (B) 18:23, 26. Berner (A) 18:24, 27. Sturm (C) 18:25, 28. Miller (Sm) 18:27, 29. Harlan (G) 18:31, 30. McCormack (A) 18:34, 31. Guernsey (Ca) 18:36, 32. Heavin (SP) 18:38, 33. Miller (B) 18:41, 34. Northrup (SP) 18:46, 35. Hawkins (D) 18:49, 36. Hamilton (D) 18:56, 37. Klinker (D) 19:02, 38. Rubino (SP) 19:04, 39. Byers (TW) 19:05, 40. Myers (Cr) 19:06, 41. Parker (SP) 19:12, 42. Hendricks (B) 19:16, 43. Barr (SP) 19:18, 44. Quisenberry (NP) 19:19, 45. Cavell (SP) 19:21, 46. Allgood (Cr) 19:22, 47. Underhill (WB) 19:25, 48. Russell (D) 19:26, 49. Rosales (Ca) 19:32, 50. Mahoney (G) 19:36, 51. Reed (R) 19:44, 52. Eubank (G) 19:49, 53. Clevenger (R) 20:01, 54. Lawson (Cr) 20:05, 55. Hayes (SP) 20:19, 56. Stevens (G) 20:26, 57. Rivera (Ca) 20:28, 58. Troutwin (R) 20:28, 59. Maynor (Sm) 20:38, 60. Yentes (D) 20:42, 61. Reyes (Cr) 20:45, 62. Purvis (Ca) 20:46, 63. Wake (R) 21:08, 64. Coffman (D) 21:23, 65. Stoutenour (Ca) 21:31, 66. Sells (Cr) 21:41, 67. Meyer (TW) 21:42, 68. Johnson (Sm) 21:47, 69. Reese (Cr) 22:03, 70. Dugan (WB) 22:07, 71. Wake (R) 22:12, 72. York (TW) 22:15, 73. Whitmore (TW) 22:34, 74. Knapp (TW) 22:41, 75. Woodcock (Sm) 23:19, 76. Schabel (TW) 23:42, 77. Berry (R) 23:43, 78. Waltz (R) 24:11, 79. Mathis (WB) 24:12, 80. Michael (Sm) 24:28, 81. Hayden (WB) 24:56, 82. Baker (NP) 25:09, 83. Haughton (WB) 28:09, 84. Cripe (Wb) 29:24, 85. Behrens (WB) 36:28.
†--Advances as a team
Next meet -- Greencastle's boys' and girls' teams advance to Saturday's Ben Davis Regional, which begins at 10 a.m.