CEDARVILLE — For the first time in four years both Eaton’s boys and girls cross country teams qualified for the regional meet. They will be joined by National Trail’s boys team as well as Twin Valley South’s Zoe Utsinger, Kyle Saul and Aaron Cole.
Eaton’s boys team claimed its second straight Division II district championship on Saturday, Oct. 20, at Cedarville University, while the girls team placed sixth overall.
National Trail placed eighth in the Division III race, while Utsinger, Saul and Cole all finished among the top 36 individuals to advance.
“It has been four years since we last advanced both the girls and boys teams to the regional cross country championships. It was an exciting weekend for our program,” Eaton coach Randy McKinney said.
Eaton tallied 91 points and finished second overall. Springfield Shawnee earned the other district title with 66 points. Also advancing was Tippecanoe, Waynesville, Oakwood, Anna and Chaminade Julienne.
“The boys were aiming to repeat as district champions and managed to accomplish that goal which also qualifies them on to next week. They too were in a very competitive field of competition with all the eventual top five finishing teams being ranked in the top twenty in the state in the latest D-II state coaches poll,” McKinney said. “The boys ran another solid team race with a couple of the guys picking it up while a couple of the other guys had an off day. That’s been the way these guys have responded all season long. The boys, with the exception of one runner, know what it is like to compete in and advance from the regional championship meet they all competed in the race last year. They still have some big goals to accomplish this season, but they get their chance starting this weekend in Troy.”
The Eagles were led by junior Alex McCarty who placed fourth overall with a time of 16 minutes, 40.16 seconds. Junior Alex Newport was ninth in 16:43.56. Sophomore Jack Bortel was 16th in 17:10.40. Senior Dylan Suding was 27th with a time of 17:27.45. Junior Todd Coates and senior Cole Bulach were 35th and 36th with times of 17:42.45 and 17:43.05. Junior LeKendric Brown was 43rd in 18:00.77 to round out the Eagles lineup.
The girls finished with 196 points to earn one of the seven regional spots and accomplish a season-long goal. Bellbrook and Tippecanoe won district titles with 47 and 67 points respectively. Also advancing was Springfield Shawnee, Oakwood, Carroll and Chaminade Julienne.
“The girls did an excellent job and ran an outstanding team race which is what qualified them on to the regional championships,” McKinney said. “It’s not easy to get out of our district meet with the overall individual and team talent that we have in the meet. Then adding two district meets into one also creates a very large race which can also be challenging at this point in the season. I’m very proud of their effort and accomplishment this season. From the beginning of the season the girls have had the goal of qualifying to the regional championships as a team. Now that we’ve done so it’s time to see how good we are at the next level. I know they are excited and our goal is to go compete and see how good we are in the region.”
Senior Claire Meyer paced the Eagles with a 30th place finish in 21:00.10. Freshman Allison Mowen was 36th in 21:22.33. Sophomore Cari Metz was 44th in 21:37.53. Junior Briana Baker was 47th in 21:41.73. Senior Brooke Caplinger was 50th in 21:52.73. Sophomore Rachel Buckler placed 80th in 22:57.95 and junior Ali Owens was 101st in 24:06.15.
“We are excited for both teams and look forward to the regional championship meet this weekend,” McKinney said.
Trail’s boys were led by senior Josh Bishop, who placed 14th, with a time of 17:04.86.
As a team, Trail was eighth with 264 points to earn one of nine spots to the regional.
Senior Travis Hunt was 26th in 17:37.08. Sophomore Cameron Harrison was 55th with a time of 18:21.22. Sophomore Caleb Vanwinkle was 85th in 19:06.93. Senior Adam Eyler was 86th in 19:07.26. Freshman Ethan Murphy finished 91st in 19:12.87 and senior Ian Miller was 97th in 19:23.01.
Saul, a junior, placed 19th in 17:24.24. Cole, a freshman was 36th in 17:48.94.
Utsinger, a junior, placed 27th with a time of 20:56.50.
Trail’s boys and Saul and Cole will race at 11 a.m. at Troy, near Hobart Arena, with the top four teams and 16 individuals moving on.
Eaton’s boys will race at 11:45 a.m. The top four teams and 16 individuals will advance to state.
Utsinger will be the only county representative in the girls Division III race at 12:30 p.m. The top four teams and 16 individuals will move on.
Eaton’s girls will close out the day for the county teams at 2:15 p.m. with the top four teams and 16 individuals advancing.
Cost for admission is $7.
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @emowen_RH