TROY — After back-to-back trips to state, Eaton’s boys cross country team had its sights set on a third straight trip to Hebron.
But on a rainy, cold, windy day in Troy, the Eagles fell just short of those lofty expectations as they finished sixth in the Division II regional on Saturday, Oct. 26.
Only the top four teams and top 16 individuals advanced.
“It’s disappointing,” Eaton coach Randy McKinney said. “It’s disappointing for them. Unfortunately, we had one of our worst races of the season today team wise. And for us to accomplish the things that we’ve accomplished, and to get out of here, we had to have a solid team race. Unfortunately, we didn’t have that today. It wasn’t any one person’s fault. We’ve lived and died as a team this season.”
Carroll was the regional champion with 99 points. Cincinnati Madeira was the runner-up with 103 points. West Liberty-Salem (110), Waynesville (112) and Cincinnati Mariemont (140) rounded out the top five.
Eaton was sixth with 146 points.
Senior Alex McCarty paced the Eagles with a 26th place finish with a time of 17:35.92. Junior Jack Bortel was 27th in 17:36.22 and senior Alex Newport was 28th in 17:38.17.
Senior Todd Coates finished 39th in 17:51.87. Freshman Kolby Hamilton was 62nd in 18:15.11. Senior KeAnthony Bales was 68th in 18:26.80 and junior Austin Kopf finished 76th in 18:35.16.
It’s been solid four-year run.
“It’s like I told them, the seniors especially, they can’t forget what they’ve accomplished in a four-year period. That’s pretty darn amazing,” McKinney said. “A lot of teams would just like to have any one of these seasons. “
McKinney said he knew early on it was going to be a struggle to advance.
“We didn’t get a good start,” he said “We were really out of the race within the first three-quarters of a mile. It was just one of those days.”
Ending the season at the regional is nothing to be ashamed of.
“To get here is a great accomplishment,” he said. “Like I’ve said before sometimes we make it look so easy. I don’t think they took anything for granted, it just wasn’t there day.”
McKinney noted that five of the top 14 teams in the state competed at the Troy Regional.
“When you have the kind of region we have there just isn’t any margin for error,” McKinney said. “You have great days where you show up and things all fall together and you have other days you show up and it doesn’t work out the way you want.”
“It’s disappointing for everybody involved when you have this outcome with the amount of time and effort these boys put in and toward this to try and make it happen,” McKinney said. “I’m more disappointed for them than anything. I’m not disappointed in them, I hurt right there with them and their parents hurt with them as well. With time that sting will go away. If it didn’t mean anything they would all be happy and jovial and running around. I know it hurts. “
The senior class leaves with two state appearances, four regional appearances, three district championships, two league titles.
“I know these guys will appreciate and respect what they’ve accomplished more at a later time when they sit back and they can reflect. It’s a great group of kids.”
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4056 or follow on Twitter @emowen_RH