EATON — The sunny and humid day didn’t dampen the level of competition at the 52nd Annual Eaton Cross Country Invitational last weekend.
More than 1,200 runners representing 43 high schools competed Saturday, Sept. 18, at Fort St. Clair Park with the host Eagles girl’s team winning the Gold Division title.
“Overall I was very pleased with the Eaton Invitational. We had just over 1,200 athletes representing 43 area schools participating in a total of nine races,” Eaton coach Randy McKinney said. “There were a lot of current state ranked teams that participated in the four high school varsity races and a lot of quality individuals in all the high school and junior high races.”
McKinney said the weather and course conditions didn’t favor fast times.
“The sunny and very humid morning along with a course that is very dry and not very soft, due to lack of rain, really didn’t create a scenario for a lot of fast times,” he said.
Eaton’s girls team placed four runners in the top nine and eight in the top 18 to win the Gold Division race with 39 points. Carroll was second with 68 and Cincinnati Mariemont was third with 75 in the 19-team field.
“Our Lady Eagles ran an outstanding individual/team race in the Women’s Gold Varsity Division Race.” McKinney said. “I’m very pleased with our progress to this point in the season. We have a team that is continuing to define itself each race out as individuals and a team. We have a couple of girls that are still trying to get in shape due to injury and time off this summer. However, overall they are working hard and trying to become better racers, better individual competitors and in the process are making themselves a better team. Overall a great and dominate team performance for this early point in the season.”
Lauren Guiley led the way for Eaton, placing fourth overall in 21 minutes, seven seconds. She was followed by Addi Guiley, who finished in fifth place in a time of 21:27. Kaili Hewitt placed eighth in 21:48, Stephanie Gibson ninth in 21:55, Cami McCloud was 13th in 22:07, Emily Haynes was 14th in 22:210, Rylie Haynes was 15th in 22:14, Kiera Elliott was 18th in 22:26, Alli Schmidt was 67th in 26:43 and Ali Mowen finished 69th in 27:24.
Eaton came into the meet the No. 15 ranked team in Division II. Carrol was ranked No. 16 and Mariemont was tied for 27th.
Eaton’s boys team team placed third overall in the 18-team field with 84 points, one point behind Legacy Christian and four points ahead of Hamilton Badin with Mariemont capturing the men’s Gold Varsity Division team title with 42 points overall.
“The men’s team, like the [girls], is continuing to define itself each race out as individuals and a team,” McKinney said. They too keep getting a little better each time out. On paper we knew there was an opportunity for us place in the top three if we could put together a good individual and team effort. Overall this was a very solid performance for the men’s team this early into the season.”
Kolby Hamilton and James Baker continue to set the pace for the men’s team by placing sixth and seventh overall in a times of 17:39.5 and 17:40.1.
The team’s true rookie, Tanner Davis, continues to improve each time out placing 18th in 18:59. He was followed by Bradly Gifford 23rd in 19:05, Nick Laycox 34th in 19:35, Jaxon Roth 46th in 20:25, Charles Kochensparger placed 59th in 21:16 and Dominic Isaacs 67th in 22:09.
“Right now we have a lot to be excited about, but a lot of progress to make over the next few weeks as we progress through the season preparing for the championship portion of our season,” McKinney said.
Tri-County North and Twin Valley South also competed, though neither had enough runners to score as a team.
For North, Amiyah Singleton was 43rd in 24:33. and Carley Landis was 79th with 30:19.9. For South, Alexis Turpin was 85th with a time of 32:06.1.
North’s boys finished eighth with 233 points.
Jonathon Landis was 31st in 19:28.6. Alex Mackeller was 55th in 21:09.7. Aaron Shellabarger was 56th in 21:13.4 Hunter Pahl as 62nd in 21:27. Rylan Haney finished 74th in 23:37 and Parker Mcgrath was 75th in 23:42.
South did not have enough runner to qualify for a team score. Aaron Cole finished 17th with a time of 18:51.3 and Elliott Voge was 84th in 26:12.3
The teams will race again Tuesday, Sept. 21, in the Preble County Championship Meet at Fort St. Clair which starts with the Junior High Boys Race at 4:30 p.m.
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4061 and follow on Twitter @emowenjr