BOWLING GREEN — The Eaton varsity cross country team made the most of its opportunities on Saturday, Sept. 2, sending squads to two different meets and coming away with top honors in one of them.
The top eight runners from both the boys’ and girls’ squads competed at the Bowling Green Invitational and the remainder of the high school teams competed at the Miamisburg Invitational.
“I do this once or twice a season to allow more athletes the opportunity to compete in varsity races,” coach Randy McKinney said. “Both meets were very competitive with a mixture of several division one and two schools. We have never competed in either meet in the past so it was a nice change of pace for our athletes to compete in two new races.”
The Lady Eagles started out the morning at Bowling Green University competing in a field of 16 teams. The Lady Eagles finished first overall in the D-II/D-III race with a team total of 46 points — runner-up Napoleon High School scored 72 points.
“The girls ran an outstanding race by placing our top five runners in the top 17 places.” McKinney add.
Katie Bassler again led the way for the Eagles with a 4th place finish in 20 minutes, 15.60 seconds. She was followed by teammates Destiny Brubaker, 7th, 21:17; Claire Meyer, 9th, 21:36; Sasha Taxter, 14th, 22:32; Brooke Caplinger, 17th, 22:44; Rachel Buckler, 30th, 23:44; Brianna Baker, 33rd, 23:48; and Cari Metz, 36th, 23:52.
The men’s team followed the women’s team in a field of 18 teams. The Eagles finished first overall, like the Lady Eagles, placing all eight runners in the top 27 to earn a team total of 44 points to runner-up Napoleon who scored 90 points.
Alex McCarty led the way for the men’s team with a 3rd place finish in 17:00. He was followed by Tanner Titkemeyer, 5th, in 17:16 and Cole Bualch, 6th, in 17:17. Remaining runners included Alex Newport, 13th, 17:47; Jack Bortel, 17th, 18:08; Steven Cottle, 18th, 18:09; Dylan Suding, 21st, 18:17; and Austin Kopf, 27th, 18:34.
“The course was a very fast course, very dry with a great field of competition along with a cool day. Great racing conditions for early in the season which our athletes took advantage of to make themselves and the team a little better which is all I am asking from any of them right now.
“The real challenge of the day was in the last quarter mile of the race which ran up a huge hill and ended with a very steep down hill turning into a 200 meter flat and long straight finish. The hill was a real leg burner which added a good 25 seconds to everyone’s last mile split and overall time for the day.”
“Unlike the squad at Bowling Green the athletes that competed at Miamisburg had a wet course on which to compete. The terrain was flat, but the footing was a little messy at certain points on the course.” McKinney added.
The Lady Eagles placed 14th overall in a very strong field. The men’s team place 16th overall in the field of 24 teams.
“I am very pleased with the overall progress our athletes at both meets this weekend. It’s tough to send some athletes in one direction and the others in another direction, but it was worth the split. All our athletes improved and got better as a result of the two meets this week.”
Gabby Best led the way for the Eagles with a 56th place finish in a time of 23:44, followed by Arica Hamilton (64th) in 23:56, Alexis Owen (67th) in 23:58, Olivia McCarty (156th) in 26:36, Nina Albinus (188th) in 27:566, Katy Rich (217th) in 29:47 and Maddie Meredith (226th) in 30:51.
Ben Brewer led the way for the men’s team placing 96th in 19:22, followed by LeKendric Brown (9th) in 19:23, KeAnthony Bales (124th) in 19:52, Gideon Smith (126th) in 19:52, Todd Coates (141st) in 20:03, Gabe Brown (159th) in 20:20, Austin Pugh (179th) in 20:42, Isaac Rorher (223rd) in 21:26, Winsom Lam (257th) in 21:53, Logan Sizemore (268th) in 22:03, Cole Hauser (272nd) in 22:10, AJ Hewitt (311th) in 23:10 and Braden Clabuagh (324th) in 23:33.
The Eagles will travel to Lexington, Kentucky on Friday, Sept. 8, to compete in the Bluegrass Invitational on the University of Kentucky’s home course at Masterson Station.
“The Bluegrass Invitational will host many of the top programs from across the state of Kentucky and a couple of top teams coming in from West Virginia and Tennessee. We will face many talented individuals and several very powerful big school programs which will present us with an outstanding challenge for this early point in the season,” McKinney said.
“Our athletes also get the unique opportunity to watch a men and women’s college race, while getting to cheer on two of our all-time best runners from Eaton High School. Seth Gard will be competing in his first collegiate race wearing the Bobcat green and white for Ohio University — while Michelle McKinney will be wearing the blue and white for the University of Kentucky.
“What a unique opportunity for our program to travel out of state and get the opportunity to support two of our own compete for their college teams.”