CLOVERDALE -- It was a close encounter for the Cloverdale boy's cross country team Tuesday night, a meet that saw a wrong turn that nearly cost one school any chance of a win and where a point was the difference between first and second place.
Owen Valley and North Putnam's boys' and girls' squads made the trip to Cloverdale High School for a three-way meet that was won by the hosts with a point to spare over the Patriots. None of the three schools fielded a full girls' team.
The Clovers' Joe Rumley won the race with a time of 18:28, while Jack Petsey of Owen Valley came in second, four seconds better than third place Trent Osborn of North Putnam, though that could have been very different.
Petsey held a sizable lead over Osborn before taking a wrong turn 300 meters before the finish line. It was Rumley's father who actually shouted at the Patriot runner to turn around, but not before Osborn was right on his heels.
Osborn went to make a move but ran out of steam with about 100 meters to go, allowing Petsey to keep second place. The Patriots added fourth, fifth, 15th and 14th place finishers but were edged out by the hosts with Aaron Wartlock, Deron Nees and Nick Cupp finishing seventh, eighth and ninth respectively.
Chris Worthington rounded out the score by nipping past Jared Richardson of Owen Valley by four seconds. The late pass was enough to sneak the Clovers past the Patriots for the win.
Paxton Stephenson of North Putnam won the girls race with a time of 20:57, clearing second place Claudia Monnett of Cloverdale by over half a minute. Amillia Nally placed fourth for the Clovers, with Nikki Routh finishing in seventh and Cheryl Dean in ninth place.
With one more runner, Cloverdale could field a full girl's squad, something Cloverdale coach Katie Mosley would love to see.
"We've got our fifth girl in golf right now. Sectionals are Saturday and she's got a shot of making it out of sectionals and I wish nothing but the best for her. We'll keep continuing what we're doing and I'm hoping that someone is going to see how well we're doing and be part of our success," Mosley said. "We're welcoming any girl right now."
Cougars coach Kevin Lutes echoed a similar thought, but was impressed with his lead runner.
"I was really impressed with Paxton Stephenson. It's the first time she's gone out and broke 21:00, so I was impressed with that. I wish we had a full team to get in there and do some damage."
Mosley was also thrilled with the boys' results.
"This the first time our boys have won a meet as a team this year, so that's really exciting. Joe [Rumley] won the meet for us and won the meet overall. He ran a personal best. He's doing a great job of setting goals and then obtaining those each meet. He can see a finish and he just keeps making little goals to reach that and doing a fantastic job," Mosley said.
"Nick Cupp is making a great improvement right now and so is freshman Garrett Brackin. They're all starting to really step it up," Mosley added.
For Lutes, it was a first chance to see the full team picture.
"This is the first time we've had a full boys' team, so I was impressed with how our guys went out and ran. Our first finisher was Trent Osborn. He ran well today (Tuesday). He's not run cross country before, so he's really just learning how to race. He's thirsty for meets and he gave us a heck of a race tonight," Lutes said. "The kids ran as best they could today, didn't see anyone slacking. Dalton Spear didn't have the kind of race he wanted to tonight but he did well."
"With the phases of practice we're in, we're just now getting into our hard training and with a 14th day break we don't have anything so we can just focus on good, hard runs," Lutes noted. "Everybody's been dropping times consistently and we expect that, barring all injury, the kids will keep getting better times and get more comfortable racing."
One thing that aided the race was the new layout for the Cloverdale course, a part of the deal that has gotten positive reviews from everyone, according to Mosley.
"We have a course we're really proud of this year and the kids really like it," Mosley said. "It's been a great experience. The fans like it, the other coaches like it and it worked out really well today. The kids are starting to take a lot of pride in it. There were a lot of positives today."
Boys Team Scores: 1. Cloverdale (37); 2. Owen Valley (38); 3. North Putnam (45)
1. Rumley (CL) 18:28; 2. Petsey (OV) 19:09; 3. Osborn (NP) 19:13; 4. Sparks (OV) 19:35; 5. Hawkins (OV) 19:36, 6. Spear (NP) 19:46; 7. Wartlock (CL) 20:04; 8. Nees (CL) 20:13; 9. Cupp (CL) 20:35; 10. Hendershot (NP) 20:54; 11. Mindiola (NP) 21:24; 12. Worthington (CL) 21:51; 15. James (NP) 23:16; 16.Raupp (NP) 23:26; 17. Preecs (NP) 23:32; 18. Andersen (CL) 23:35; 19. Brackin (CL) 23:42; 21. Maners (CL) 27:18; 22. Williams (CL) 29:17
1. Stephenson (NP) 20:57; 2. Monnett (CL) 21:32; 3. Matsel (OV) 21:35; 4. Nally (CL) 21:48; 5. Douglas (NP) 22:42; 6. Routh (CL) 23:17; 7. High (NP) 24:30; 8. Shaw (OV) 26:17; 9. Dean (CL) 26:48
Due to deadline, this story will be in Thursday's print edition of the Banner Graphic.