WEST MILTON — Led by Alex Newport and Alex McCarty, Eaton’s boys cross country team repeated as Southwestern Buckeye League champions on Saturday, Oct. 13, at the annual SWBL championships held at Milton-Union High School.
Newport and McCarty earned first-team honors as Eaton tallied 57 points. Bellbrook was the runner-up with 65 points.
Eaton’s girls team turned in one of its best performances of the season to place third with 98 points. Bellbrook was the meet with 26 point and Oakwood was second with 47.
“I’m very pleased with the individual efforts of all the athletes at the SWBL championships. To finish the day with a high boys team title, a third place high school girls team finish, two high school boys first team all-league recipients, four high school boys second team all-league recipients, three high school girls second team recipients, one junior high boy first team all-league recipient and one junior high girl first team all-league recipient and a third place junior high girls team finish is a great day,” Eaton coach Randy McKinney said. “The SWBL is one of the toughest cross country leagues for the girls and boys in the state of Ohio year in and year out. “
For the high school boys it’s the second year in a row they’ve captured the team title and the best girls team finish in the league in five years.
The boys placed five runners in the top 15 and nine in the top 27.
“We had a 26 second gap between our 1-5 runners, a 46 second gap between our 1-7 runners and a 1:24 gap between our 1-10th boys. That’s a solid team race, but something we can continue to work on the next couple of weeks. Our strength is our pack, as it has been all season,” McKinney said.
Alex Newport (16:50.8) and Alex McCarty (16:52.5) earned first team honors placing 8th and 9th respectively followed by Jack Bortel (12th, 17:00.6), Dylan Suding (13th, 17:09.5), Todd Coates (15th, 17:09.8), LeKendric Brown (20th, 17:26.8), who all four earned 2nd-team all-league honors. Cole Bulach (17:36.6)placed 25th, Austin Kopf (17:39.9) was 26th, KeAnthony Bales (17:42.6) placed 27th and Ben Brewer (18:14.6) was 38th.
The Lady Eagles placed 3rd behind state-ranked and league team champions Bellbrook and team runner-up Oakwood.
The Lady Eagles had a season best 1:29 gap between the 1-5 runners and a season best 1:37 between 1-7.
“It too was a very solid race for the team,” McKinney said. “We knew going into the championship race that a realistic goal for us was to compete for a third place finish. The girls knew what they had to do, recovered well from what I thought was a little bit of a slow start and finished with some outstanding finishes. The strength of our girls has also been our pack.”
Ali Mowen (21:01.6), Cari Metz (21:04.5) and Claire Meyer (21:14.7) placed 15th, 17th and 19th respectively earning them 2nd team all-league honors. Briana Baker (21:47.4) placed 25th, Alexis Owen (22:20.2) was 29th, Brooke Caplinger (22:30.9) placed 30th, Rachel Buckler (22:38.7) was 32nd, Elaina Maynard (23:28.3) finished 38th, Arica Hamilton (24:02.1) was 41st and Ashlynn Conley (24:10.2) was 42nd.
McKinney said his team we will be preparing for the OHSAA District Championships this Saturday (Oct. 20) at Cedarville College. The top seven boys teams and the top seven girls teams will advance on to the regional championships Oct. 27, at Troy at the Hobart Arena Levy course.
“I feel really good and confident about both teams and where they are at this point in the season,” he said. “They have worked hard all summer and all fall to get ready for the upcoming district and regional meets. We have to stay healthy, confident, focused and run solid team races if we want to advance on week to week and accomplish the team/individual goals our athletes and teams have set for themselves this season.”
Preble Shawnee’s girls placed third in the Buckeye Division with 107 points, the boys were seventh with 180 points.
For the girls, Hannah Myers was 18th in 23:35.2, Caiden Duskey was 20th in 24:28.4, Debbie Tombragel was 26th in 26:43.5, Alivia Reed was 27th in 27:08.4, Emmalee Hammerlee was 30th in 27:48.0 and Taylor Maddox was 32nd in 28:51.1.
For the boys, Carter Roell was 24th in 20:10.5, Austin Tackett was 29th in 21:21.5 and Dylan Childers placed 35th in 23:47.4.
Eaton will compete in the D-II girls race, which is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. The D-II boys race, which will feature Eaton and Preble Shawnee, will begin at 12:15 p.m. Preble Shawnee’s girls will race in the D-III race at 1 p.m.
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @emowen_RH