ATTICA — Eaton senior Alex McCarty turned in one of the top 10 performances in Eagle cross country history this past weekend.
McCarty finished second overall with a time of 16 minutes, 03.41 seconds to lead the Eagles to a fourth place finish against some of the top programs in the state at the Tiger Classic.
It was a split squad weekend for the Eagles with one group traveling three hours north to compete in the Seneca East Invitational – a first for the program – and the other traveling to the Talawanda Invitational on Saturday, Aug. 24.
“We traveled to the meet to compete against some of the top ranked Division I and Division 2 teams in the State of Ohio,” Eaton coach Randy McKinney said. “The boys team got the opportunity to race the Pre-season No. 1 and No. 8 rated D-II teams along with the No. 15, No. 23 and No. 25 rated Division I boys teams. The girls had the opportunity to No. 1 rated D-II girls team along with several high level D-I girls teams.”
Senior Alex Newport ran a personal best time of 17:13.35 placing 20th overall while junior Jack Bortel ran a 17:30.41 placing him 24th in the 288 runner field of competition. Todd Coates finished 42nd with a time of 18:00.74. Austin Kopf was 55th in 18:28.65. Kolby Hamilton placed 61st in 18:36.45.
Perrysburg won the race with 75 points. Medina was second with 78 and Toledo Whitmer was third with 122. Eaton ended with 138.
The girls placed seventh overall in a very competitive field consisting primarily of Division I teams from across Ohio. Lexington finished first with 36 points. Medina was second with 71. Perrysburg (99), Miamisburg (140), Columbian (152) and Notre Dame Academy (160) placed third through sixth. Eaton tallied 161 points.
Freshman Lauren Guiley led the way for the lady Eagles placing 11th overall in 20:19.29 with junior Cari Metz placing 27th in 21:17.61 and freshman Kierra Elliott placed 34th with a time of 21:47.90 in the 243 runner field.
Kaili Hewitt finished 56th in 22:48.22. Rachel Buckler was 75th in 23:34.85, Rylie Haynes was 76th in 23:35.25, Stephanie Gibson was 88th in 23:55.49 and Allison Mowen was 98th in 24:19.17.
At the Talawanda Invitational, the boys and girls teams placed fourth overall in a smaller, but very competitive meet, according to McKinney.
Maddie Baker led the way for the lady Eagles placing 21st in 23:45, followed by Alexis Owen (24:17.5) and Briana Baker (24:30.7) in 26th and 27th place in the 90 runner field. Grace Risner was 64th in 28:22 and Katy Rich was 71st in 29:42.5.
KeAnthony Bales led the way for the men’s team placing 11th overall with a time of 18:29.2, followed by LeKendric Brown (19:10.3) in 18th and Ben Brewer (19:42.3) 29th place in the 104 runner field. Austin Pugh was 40th (20:13.7), Cole Hauser was 48th (20:50) and Jaxon Roth was 69th in 22:45.3.
“Splitting the high school teams give our kids the opportunity to all run in a varsity race. It also gives our runners the opportunity to have to take on a different role during the race,” McKinney said. “Maybe they were our seventh girl or boy in the meet last weekend and now they have to try and perform as the number one runner in a meet. It mentally puts them in a different place, which is good for their individual overall racing development.”
McKinney said he likes where his team currently is, but noted there is work to be done.
“I was very pleased with the overall progress of the entire team. We have a lot of work ahead of us to improve to the level we are striving to achieve later in the season. The attitude and approach of all the athletes is very focused and positive which is an added bonus,” he said.
Eaton will travel to Westerville North on Saturday, Aug. 31.