LEXINGTON, KENTUCKY — Eaton’s boys and girls cross country teams made the most of their 40th trip to the Bluegrass state.
Both teams placed second at the Tates Creek Bluegrass Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 8.
“I was very pleased with the overall finish of both the girls and the boys teams. Anytime we can travel to Kentucky, compete and place in the top three at this meet it is special,” Eaton coach Randy McKinney said. “The weather and muddy course conditions slowed what has been traditionally a fast course down quite a lot. However, we had athletes that greatly improved upon their times on the same course from a year ago. Not an easy task, but a major accomplishment. Teams know about our program and know that we are going to be ready to compete when we step off the bus on Saturday morning and onto the bluegrass of the course.”
The meet marked the 40th straight season the Eagles have competed in a meet at Lexington.
“Our traditional trip to Lexington, Kentucky is a great meet to compete in and an opportunity for our program to experience some of the best teams from across the state of Kentucky that we only get to see once a year,” McKinney said. “This year marked the 40th consecutive year the Eaton Cross Country program has traveled to compete in Lexington, Kentucky. What a great experience and opportunity for our program.”
The girls team placed behind Ohio Division I traditional powerhouse — St. Ursula out of Cincinnati. Eaton tallied 104 points to St. Ursula’s 58. Eaton’s B team was 14th with 402 points.
“We knew going into the race that our race was for second place because St. Ursula is just one very top notch team. However, we also knew that we had to be ready to race and I’m very pleased with the way the girls fought through the competition and the muddy course,” McKinney said. “The girls lowered their time gap between our 1-5 runners another 18 seconds which is major in team placement. I’m really pleased with the way our girls have progressed as a team and continue to improve individually week after week.”
Eaton was led by senior Claire Meyer, who placed 17th overall in 21 minutes, 50.4 seconds. Senior Brooke Caplinger was 19th in 22:00.5. Freshman Allison Mowen was 31st in 22:44.2. Junior Briana Baker was 34th in 23:00.0. Sophomore Cari Metz was 42nd in 23:39.1. Junior Ali Owens was 50th with a time of 23:51.9, while sophomore Rachel Buckler rounded out the top 7 for the Eagles with a 54th place finish in 24:08.0
Eaton’s B team was led by freshman Elaina Maynard, who was 83rd in 25:16.7, and sophomore Josie Bulach was 89th in 25:38.
The boys team tallied 82 points to place behind Conner, who scored 70.
“The boys team scored fewer team points than last year, when they captured the team title, and placed the top five in the top 21 places, but it still wasn’t enough against Connor,” McKinney said. “I hand it to them, they ran a nice team race and we were not quite able to close that point gap in the last mile of the race. Once again we had a team time gap of under one minute with :59.1 between our 1-5 runners. The boys were disappointed that they didn’t repeat as team champions at the meet, but our focus is on where we need to be a month from now at the SWBL Championships.”
Junior Alex McCarty was fifth overall in 16:53.7. Junior Alex Newport was 16th in 17:28. Sophomore Jack Bortel (17:47.0), junior Todd Coates (17:51.9) and senior Cole Bulach (17:52.8) finished 19th through 21st. Rounding out the top 7 was junior Lekendric Brown in 30th with a time of 18:21.0 and senior Dylan Suding, who was 45th in 18:32.8.
Eaton’s B team was 16th with 403 points.
Junior KeAnthony Bales led the way with a 53rd place finish in 18:45.0 and sophomore Austin Kopf was 69th in 19:10.9.
This weekend the Eagles will host the Eaton Cross Country Invitational. The girls team will race at 8:50 a.m. and the boys will race at 9:25 a.m.
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @emowen_RH