Big Walnut Sports Park was considered at one time, and the DePauw Nature Park has served in the capacity. However, running on gravel and the lack of spectator space limited this option.
With Saturday's inaugural Tiger Cub Invitational at the Putnam County Fairgrounds, the Tiger Cub runners may just be feeling at home, as they swept the four championships: girls' and boys' varsity as well as girls' and boys' middle school.
"The kids are excited, the community's excited. I can't thank enough people -- the 4-H group let us set this thing up," Anderson said. "We spent a lot of time setting this course up, and we were really curious as to how we could run on it. Everybody I've talked to -- other kids from other schools -- have been thrilled with this course."
Anderson had the runners to be excited about as well. Greencastle's Colleen Weatherford was part of a solid top three, along with Greenwood's Amy Hicks and Bloomfield's Julie Riggins. Weatherford was second with a time of 20:02.
"The gal from Greenwood, Hicks, who beat Weatherford, is a tough girl. The young girl from Bloomfield, Riggins, who finished third, is another tough girl," Anderson said. "We had three nice leaders out there, and it was a nice race."
The surprise for Greencastle was Paige Pickens, who finished fourth in 21:31, ahead of teammate Emily Gill, who ran a 21:39.
"Paige Pickens ran a nice race and came up and beat (Kayla) Cash and Gill. That's what she was after," Anderson said.
Anderson had one word to describe the level of competition going on between members of his team.
"Fantastic," he said. "Come conference, county, sectional and so on, there's going to be competition among our team, not just the other teams, but our team."
Cash was eighth for GHS at 22:07, with Abigail Wilson rounding out the scoring in 10th place at 22:14.09.
With five scorers in the top 10, Greencastle ran away with the meet, finishing 28 points ahead of second-place Greenwood.
"For us, it was a nice race. We did real well," Anderson said. "This course fits us, the little short hills -- our girls do well on them. Our times are good times. Overall, I'm very happy."
It was much tighter for the GHS boys, whose 27 edged Bloomfield's 34 by just seven points. However, coach Craig Callahan's runners were on the mark, with nearly every one of them down through the JV setting personal records (PRs).
The good times were especially impressive, since the group has previously run on the Ben Davis course, which is much flatter.
"When we were at Ben Davis, that's an extremely flat course. To have beaten those PRs here on a deceivingly hilly course is awesome," Callahan said. "We're pretty happy with where we're at."
GHS had four of the top six runners, with Ryan Stevens second at 17:03, Tyler Hudson third at 17:15, Nathan Eubank fifth at 17:40 and Hunter Mitchell 17:58.
However, the most impressive performance of the day may have come from fifth runner Erik Norlin, who battled back from illness to finish 14th in 18:59. Norlin had been running in the 21-minute range a week ago.
"Getting Erik Norlin back healthy is pretty awesome because he's been sick for a couple of weeks now," Callahan said. "We can finally see that he's starting to feel better and his confidence is getting back."
Callahan said the team is also dealing with injury. In particular, Mitchell submitted a gutty performance to outrun Crawfordsville's John Lawson at the end.
"To see him finish like that, knowing the pain he's in, my heart goes out to him," Callahan said. "The kid fights. It was a great finish. His finish tells me that he had more heart than the other guy because they sprinted it out at the end. I love seeing that."
The coach said he also had PRs from Matt White, Seth Turner, Kade Fauber, Josh Mitchell and Alex Dozer.
"We're getting where we need to be at this point in the season, right before we head into county, conference and sectional," Callahan said. "We're feeling pretty good."
The Tiger Cub middle schoolers also made a good showing on the day, in spite of a lack of competition. Monrovia joined them on the course, and fielded an incomplete team, but coach Art Dwiggans was happy with his runners.
"Hannah Brattain started our GMS day off with a winning time of 11:50. Our next four runners followed behind closely with a gap of only 1:55. I was pleased with how they ran," Dwiggans said.
Brattain's first place performance was followed by Libby Brush in second, Katie Haynes in fourth, Sammie Haynes in fifth and Corrie Romer in sixth.
"Our boys' team also ran well with Elijah Brattain posting a personal best time of 10:30, and running away with the individual champion medal," Dwiggans said. "There were several of our boys missing today, I think it was the thought of not having a school to run against that caused a lack of interest in a Saturday morning meet, so I'm really proud of the kids that showed up and ran PRs."
The Tiger Cubs took the top four positions with Brattain, Jacob Lewis, Sedric Weinschenk and Nathan Grzesiek. Levi Lewis was sixth for GMS.
At Putnam County Fairgrounds
Tiger Cub Invitational
Greencastle 29, Greenwood 57, Bloomfield 67, Monrovia 67, Crawfordsville Incomplete
Individuals: 1. Hicks (Gw) 19:45, 2. Weatherford (Gc) 20:02, 3. Riggins (B) 20:54, 4. Pickens (Gc) 21:31, 5. Gill (Gc) 21:39, 6. Thompson (M) 21:45, 7. Weston (Gw) 21:48, 8. Cash (Gc) 22:07, 9. Hoffman (M) 22:13, 10. Wilson (Gc) 22:14.09, 11. Chappell (M) 22:14.52, 12. Frederic (B) 22:14.96, 13. Hutson (C) 22:40, 14. Gravely (Gw) 22:57, 15. Baka (B) 23:04, 16. Haynes (Gc) 23:54.24, 17. Hite (Gw) 23:25.28, 18. Hall (B) 23:44, 19. Fauvergue (Gc) 23:46, 20. Gemmecke (M) 24:20, 21. Ratliff (Gw) 25:06, 22. Johnson (B) 25:14, 23. Brackett (M) 25:35, 24. Dwiggans (Gc) 25:51, 25. Stoffregen (Gc) 26:03, 26. Plummer (Gc) 26:18, 27. Burns (Gc) 27:25, 28. Harl (B) 30:26
Greencastle 27, Bloomfield 34, Crawfordsville 65, Monrovia Incomplete
Individuals: 1. Shegley (B) 16:54, 2. Stevens (Gc) 17:03, 3. Hudson (Gc) 17:15, 4. Bucca (B) 17:21, 5. Eubank (Gc) 17:40, 6. Mitchell (Gc) 17:58, 7. Lawson (C) 18:01, 8. Nowrovzi (M) 18:21, 9. Smith (B) 18:29, 10. Kashow (C) 18:29, 11. Brown (B) 18:47, 12. O'Neall (B) 18:49, 13. Gadbeny (B) 18:56, 14. Norlin (Gc) 18:59, 15. Marshall (C) 19:06, 16. Bund (B) 19:09, 17. Light (C) 19:12, 18. Bryar (Gc) 19:13, 19. Myers (B) 19:19, 20. Bean (C) 19:24, 21. McGlothlin (B) 19:30, 22. Kirkley (B) 19:34, 23. White (Gc) 19:41, 24. Speck (M) 20:14, 25. Mundy (M) 20:16, 26. Plummer (B) 20:26, 27. Helms (B) 20:37, 28. Johnson (C) 20:40, 29. Smith (C) 21:07, 30. Turner (Gc) 21:40, 31. Fauber (Gc) 22:29, 32. Long (B) 24:13, 33. Mitchell (Gc) 24:44, 34. Kingsley (B) 29:38, 35. Dozer (Gc) 32:11
Middle School Meet
Greencastle 15, Monrovia Incomplete
Individuals: 1. Hannah Bratain (G) 11:50, 2. Libby Brush (G) 12:36, 3. Kenna Hunter (M) 13:20, 4. Katie Haynes (G) 13:33, 5. Sammie Haynes (G) 13:35, 6. Corrie Romer(G) 13:45, 7. Lily Spencer (G) 13:53, 8. Bailey Lausee (G) 14:19, 9. Whitney Weinschenk (G) 14:57, 10. Maddie Wright (M) 16:30, 11. Shelby Small (M) 16:32
Greencastle 15, Monrovia Incomplete
Individuals: 1. Elijah Brattain (G) 10:30, 2. Jacob Lewis (G) 11:23, 3. Sedric Weinschenk (G) 11:52, 4. Nathan Grzeseik (G) 11:54, 5. Garrett Wertz (Mon) 12:15, 6. Levi Lewis (G) 12:22, 7. Clayton Wilson 12:24, 8. Brock Strader (Mon) 13:07, 9. Cameron Lewis (G) 13:12, 10. Mitchell Johnson (G) 13:23, 11. Reece Hunter (Mon) 13:55, 12. Elijah Lewis (G) 17:16