CEDARVILLE — For the first time since 2004, Eaton’s boys cross country team brought home a district championship trophy after running away from the field at the Division II Cross County Tournament, on Saturday, Oct. 21, at Cedarville.
“We’ve been runner-up a lot of times (since),” Eaton coach Randy McKinney said. “It’s nice. The great thing is these guys understand we’re going to enjoy it this weekend, but next week is a different race and our focus has to be totally on that and not what we have and haven’t accomplished so far.”
The Eagles placed five runners in the top 23 and tallied 78 points as they qualified for the regional tournament next Saturday, Oct. 28, at Troy.
It’s just one more goal this group can mark off its list.
They will be joined by senior Katie Bassler, who placed among the top 28 girls to advance. The girls as a team just missed advancing with a ninth place finish — only eight points out of the final qualifying spot.
“It’s been a very confident group. They feel like they still have a lot of things to prove and when you coach a team like that in cross country that’s a nice mentality to have,” McKinney said.
The Eagles were led by Tanner Titkemeyer, who finished 11th in 17 minutes, 09.26 seconds. He was followed by Alex McCarty in 12th with a time of 17:13.05. Cole Bulach was 14th in 17:18.15. Alex Newport was 18th in 17:24.86. Jack Bortel was 23rd with a time of 17:35.56. Todd Coates was 32nd in 17:51.30 and Steven Cottle finished 42nd in 18:14.80.
“Our strength is that we’ve developed two packs and the second pack’s goal has been to close that gap between themselves and the top three,” McKinney said.
Bassler, who finished 18th overall in 20:26.16, has not competed at the regional since her freshman year.
As a team, McKinney said the group was just a bit off their race.
“We didn’t have the kind of team race we needed,” McKinney said of the girls team. “We had two or three kids who were a little off today. Today, at this level, with this type of competition, that’s the difference. That’s the way this sport is. Some days you have great races and some days you don’t. But they had a great season. I’m disappointed for them. I’m not disappointed in them. Everyone of them gave me everything they had today.”
Claire Meyer was 32nd in 21:17.20. Destiny Brubaker was 50th with a time of 22:08.39. Briana Baker was 65th in 22:40.35. Arica Hamilton placed 80th in 23:03.75. Sasha Taxter was 89th in 23:28.69 and Brooke Caplinger placed 97th in 23:59.55.
Preble Shawnee’s boys were led by Rylan Roberts, who finished 70th with a time of 18:59.90. Carter Roell was 130th in 21:42.92 and Jon Hicks was 155th with a time of 28:41.64. The Arrows did not have enough runners to compete as a team.
The Division II girls regional race is scheduled for 11:45 a.m., while the boys D-II race is set for 2:15 p.m.
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @emowen_RH