KETTERING — Eaton’s boys and girls cross country teams competed at the Neal Charske Firebird Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 29.
The boys team placed 4th out of 21 teams in the Silver Varsity race. The team was sitting, statistically on paper, prior to the race, as the 8th best team in the D-I dominated race. Centerville, Kings and Defiance placed ahead of Eaton, all three are state ranked in the D-I boys state poll.
Eaton was lead by Alex Newport, who placed 13th with a time of 16 minutes, 49.9 seconds. Alex McCarty was 18th in 16:55.8. Jack Bortel was 26th in 17:06.8. Dylan Suding was 36th in 17:17.6. Todd Coates was 62nd with a time of 17:38.3. Cole Bulach was 82nd in 17:54.0. Austin Kopf finished 101st in 18:14.9. LeKendric Brown placed 102nd in 18:15.7 and KeAnthony Bales was 113th in 18:22.1
The girls team placed 5th out of 18 teams in the Varsity Blue Race. The Blue race was a very competitive Division 2 dominated race.
“We beat a few teams we haven’t beat so far this season and most of the girls ran a season personal best time,,” Eaton coach Randy McKinney said.
Claire Meyer was 13th with a time of 21:28.5. Allison Mowen placed 17th in 21:51.5. Briana Baker was 31st in 22:34.0. Cari Metz finished 34th in 22:40.8. Ali Owens placed 52nd in 23:37.3. Rachel Buckler was 72nd in 24:03.5 and Nina Albinus finished 121st in 27:53.4.
McKinney said he likes where his teams are currently.
“I’m pleased with the progress we are making individually and team wise. We competed in the Kettering Invitational to see where we fit with some of the teams in our league and district that we raced early in the season or that we haven’t had the opportunity to race yet this season,” he said. “The competition at Kettering is always outstanding and the course is challenging. It’s unlike any other course we run on during the regular season. The course was a little soft which I believe slowed the pace a little, but the outstanding competition helped pull the pace along.”
McKinney said the boys got their 1-5 team gap down to 49 seconds which is their best this season.
“Our 1-7 gap was 1:25 our best this season. They are making the kind of progress I was hoping they gradually make during the course of the season, but they still have a lot time to continue to bring their times and team gaps down,” he said.
McKinney said the girls team is also showing improvement.
“The girls are working hard and bringing their times down as well. They too are making the progress I had hoped for to this point in the season. We are still a young team with a few veterans, so every time we step out on the course we learn a little more about our abilities and the sport in general,” he said.
As the season heads into the home stretch McKinney is looking for a success end to the season.
“The attitude and effort of both teams has been nothing short of outstanding to this point in the season. We have our own Eaton Ed Leas Fall Classic this weekend and our league championships at Milton Union High School in two weeks. I believe both teams have a solid focus on what & how we need to work over the next few weeks,” he said. “This time of the season is when some teams gradually continue to improve, some level out and some just loose their focus and fall off. I’m excited to see how we progress and improve over the next two weeks as we change our training, our focus and begin to fine tune and prepare for the upcoming District, Regional and State Championship series of meets.”
Eaton will host the Ed Leas Fall Classic on Saturday, Oct. 6.
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4056 on Twitter @emowen_RH