EATON — Eaton’s boys and girls cross country team finished second at the Eaton Invitational Saturday, Sept. 17.
Senior Kolby Hamilton turned in a personal best time to win the Purple race. Eaton finished with 72 points.
On the girls’ side, senior Lauren Guiley placed sixth overall as the girls team finished with 50 points.
The meet drew more than 1,000 runners from 45 schools in nine different races.
“We had a beautiful day to race at Fort St. Clair against some solid competition. The course did not run fast although some athletes did have outstanding race times during the day. When we have the dry weather, like we’ve had for the last several weeks, the course runs a little on the slow side,” Eaton coach Randy McKinney said. “The course is already one of the few true and extremely challenging Cross Country courses in Southwest Ohio. It’s a beautiful setting, but a very challenging course due to the rolling nature of the terrain.”
McKinney said it was good day for his seniors.
“What a great day for our Seniors who finished with top10 finishes in the respective races. Kolby Hamilton captured the overall individual championship in the Purple Varsity race in a time of 16:53.5 which was also the top overall time on the course for the day for any high school runners,” McKinney said. “Lauren Guiley placed sixth in the Purple Varsity race followed by Kierra Elliott who placed seventh and Kaili Hewitt who placed 10th overall.”
Eaton finished second behind Cincinnati Mercy McAuley in the girls race and behind Olentangy Liberty in the boys race.
“I’m very pleased with our overall team finishes in the meet,” McKinney said. “Both teams competed in the large school, primarily Division one purple varsity race, and placed 2nd overall in the team standings. In the women’s race we knew that Mercy McAuley was the team to beat going into the race. They placed their top three runners in second, third and fourth place overall which made it difficult for us to counter with our pack even though we placed nine of our girls in front of their fifth runner in the race.”
McKinney said his team will get another shot at McAuley later this season.
“We get the opportunity to see McAuley again in late October at the Regional Championships.”
McKinney felt the boys team performed well.
“The men’s team had a very tough opponent: Olentangy Liberty High School – a large Division one program from Columbus,” he said. “They were a very strong program and overall, we competed well but we were not able to compete as well as we had hoped against their top seven runners during the race.”
The best part of the weekend for McKinney might have been the compliments his program receives about the meet.
“We had multiple verbal and email congrats, thanks regarding the meet on Saturday, Sunday and Monday morning from spectators, athletes, coaches and community members alike,” he said. “Everything from great course, well run meet, great awards, great concession, great competition, our favorite course, what a great park, etc. All I can say is that we are blessed to have the par, support and time committed to the meet and our program from multiple individuals and entities.”
“I can never say thank you enough to the City of Eaton and the numerous volunteers – parent and community volunteers for their support and efforts that make this meet possible. Without the help of those individuals, we would not be able to contest and host such an event.”
Eaton will be back on the course Wednesday, Sept. 21 at the Preble County Meet. It will be only the fourth meet for the Eagles this season.
“We’ve only competed in three meets to this point in the season, by design, so we have a lot of races ahead of us and a lot of experience to gain from those upcoming races,” he said. “This week will be a busy week with the upcoming Preble County Championship meet on Wednesday and the National Trail Blazer Invitational and Kettering Firebird Invites on Saturday.”
The county meet will be held at the Eaton Country Club. The first race will begin at 4:30 p.m. with the junior high girls. The varsity races will be held at 5:30 and 6 p.m.
“I’m very pleased with where we are at this point in the season. We have a lot to do between now and the championship portion of the season both physical and mental that we will focus on to get us where we need to be in October,” McKinney said. “We will continue to focus on what we need to do day to day, meet to meet and week to week as individuals and as a program.”