CLOVERDALE -- A breezy Thursday afternoon at Cloverdale High School was the setting for the final tune up for both the Clovers and visiting North Putnam Cougar's cross country squads before the upcoming weeklong stretch of county, conference and sectional races at South Putnam High School.
While Joe Rumley won the race for Cloverdale and North Putnam's Trent Osborne and Dalton Spear took third and fourth respectively, it was Eminence that came away with a victory in the boy's race. All three girls' squads were incomplete.
The Eels had all five of their scoring runners finish inside the top 8 on the day to finish with 28 points. Cloverdale edged North Putnam by seven points, finishing with the first, ninth, 10th, 11th and 14th place finishers.
Paxton Stephenson won the girls' race, followed by teammate Katie Douglas. Claudia Monnett finished third for the Clovers, with Amilia Nally and Nikki Routh finishing fourth and fifth.
The meet was a final look at both squads before the big three races of the year take place. The race results were not going to settle Cloverdale head coach Katie Mosley's nerves.
"They were a little disappointing on the girl's side. We had a North Put girl (Katie Douglas) who finished ahead of several runners who had constantly beat her in the past. That was a little surprising to me, a little worrisome with county on Tuesday. I admit I'm a little concerned about North Put.
"Overall they did OK. I thought their times would be a little higher than what they were with the wind but we've got a nice little downhill they get to run on twice with the wind on their backs. I think that probably helped them a little bit. I was pretty happy with Garrett's (Brackin) time and Ethan's (Maners) time."
"The boys just continue to improve and continue to impress me each meet. Nick Cupp is just coming on so strong right now. I'm just really impressed with them right now."
North Putnam head coach Kevin Lutes' squad had not raced since a three-way meet at the same course two weeks ago.
"We realized pretty quickly that the wind on the open course wasn't going to help us too going to help us too much. As far as effort wise, these last couple weeks we've just had some brutal practices to get ready for the end of the season. The kids responded very well," Lutes said.
"I'm really proud of Trent Osborne. He broke 19:00 tonight and that was his goal tonight. Paxton won her race and Katie Douglas got second. Our senior Whitney [High] put in a good effort tonight. I wish we had some of our boys be able to run but with what we had, I like where we are for us."
With nothing else left, both coaches looked ahead toward the final races of the season.
"I know everyone is shooting at Greencastle. They've got a great program and I tried early on to instill in our kids that comparing yourself to other times is OK, but as long as we're progressing, that's what really counts," Lutes said.
"It won't matter if someone from any team goes out there and just runs a killer time. If we can better ourselves and stay with them, awesome. Even if we can't stay with them, if we're doing our best that's all I can ask for them to do," Lutes added.
Mosley's take was a bit more inauspicious.
"I'm nervous. I can be honest, I've been awake quite a few nights trying to strategize, especially with all county being top seven. I go through every night, best case and worse case scenarios who's going to finish in the top seven in the county. It just seems we have so many runners in the county who are just right there if they peak in any given race in the next week and a half," Mosley pointed out.
"Anything can happen, especially on the girls' side. I'm very uneasy. I think the results from county are going to be completely different from what they are in five days when we run everyone in conference."
Eminence 28; Cloverdale 45; North Putnam 52
All three squads incomplete
1. Rumley (CL) 18:42; 2. Davis (E) 18:59; 3. Osborne (NP) 19:00; 4. Spear (NP) 19:20; 5. Brock (E) 19:28; 6. Ford (E) 19:32; 7. Rumbaugh (E) 19:41; 8. Foote (E) 19:48; 9. Cupp (CL) 20:03; 10. Nees (CL) 20:08; 11. Whitlock (CL) 20:27; 12. James (NP) 21:01; 14. Worthington (CL) 21:50; 16. Mindiola (NP) 23:07; 17. Preecs (NP) 23:21
1. Stephenson (NP) 21:27; 2. Douglas (NP) 21:57; 3. Monnett (CL) 22:01; 4. Nally (CL) 22:11; 5. Routh (CL) 23:38; 6. High (NP) 24:30; 7. Nora Nugent (E) 25:09; 8. Nina Nugent (E) 25:23; 9. Pistara (E) 27:11; 10. Dean (CL) 27:12
Next meet -- North Putnam and Cloverdale join Greencastle and hosts South Putnam for the Putnam County cross country meet next Tuesday.