Eaton’s Gard wins SWBL XC

The senior runner wins his second SWBL title in a row, while the boys team finished 2nd. The girls placed 4th. Preble Shawnee also participated in the Buckeye Division, taking 7th in the boys race.

By Oliver Sanders -

FRANKLIN — The Eaton and Preble Shawnee cross country teams competed in the Southwestern Buckeye League Cross Country Championships on Saturday, Oct. 15, at Franklin.

Eaton finished with a team runner-up in the boys race and an individual league champion. The girls placed fourth.

The Eagles earned two first team all-league, four second team all-league and four honorable mention honors with the men and women’s high school programs in the Southwestern Division.

Preble Shawnee finished seventh place in the boys section of the Buckeye Division.

Seth Gard of Eaton led the way for the men’s high school teams, capturing the overall individual championship in a time of 16:09. Gard took control at the mile mark, opened up a larger lead by the two mile mark, and cruised in with an unchallenged finish to capture the individual overall league and division championship for the second consecutive season.

“Rarely does anyone, male or female, win the league championship race two consecutive years,” said Eaton coach Randy McKinney. “Seth has been the dominant male cross country runner in our league the last two seasons, without anyone coming close to him either year.”

Tanner Titkemeyer came in 10th place to earn first team all-league honors with a time of 17:13. Alex McCarty earned second team all-league honors, placing 13th overall with a time of 17:15.

Cole Bulach placed 17th, earning second team all-league honors in a time of 17:35. Wyatt Cox placed 23rd overall in a time of 17:55, finishing with honorable mention All-SWBL honors.

One of the best races of the day was run by freshmen Alex Newport, according to McKinney. Newport placed 24th overall in a new personal best time of 17:56, and also earned honorable mention honors.

Steve Cottle was the seventh Eagle to finish, in 33rd place in a time of 18:22. Other Eagle finishers were LeKendrick Brown (38th, 18:39), Dylan Suding (42nd, 18:47), Gideon Smith (48th, 19:01), KeAnthony Bales (56th, 19:22), Jacob Hickman (61st, 19:32), Darius Benton (68th, 19:49), Winsom Lam (88th, 21:23) and Isaac Rorher (107th, 22:46).

Overall, the men’s team ended up placing runner-up to a very strong Bellbrook team.

“We ran a very good race, but it was not good enough with their experience and team depth,” said McKinney. “I am very happy that we will not have to see Bellbrook again, since they are a Division I team and will not be competing with us in the upcoming district and regional championship meets.”

The Lady Eagles entered the SWBL Championships in fourth place overall within the Southwest Division.

Katie Bassler led the way for the Lady Eagles, finishing 12th overall in a season best time of 20:39, to earn second team all-league honors. Bassler went out early, established herself in the top 12 and moving back and forth, before finishing up with a solid 12th place finish according to McKinney.

Sasha Taxter also earned second team all-league honors, placing 17th overall in a season-best time of 21:04. Claire Meyer placed 29th overall in 21:43 to earn honorable mention honors with a strong race.

Destiny Brubaker placed 32nd overall in 22:08 to also earn honorable mention honors. The remaining girls who participated included Gabby Best (34th, 22:20), Branna Baker (39th, 22:27) Alexis Owen (60th, 24:00), Nina Albinus (81st, 25:44), Jaque Owen (97th, 27:33) and Maddi Meredith (99th, 28:33).

In the Buckeye Division, Preble Shawnee competed for the SWBL title. “We had our best showing of the year,” said Shawnee coach Gary Koogle. “Of the 16 runners who ran Saturday, 13 of them set new personal records.”

Earning league honors were Rylan Roberts with second team all-league, while placing 20th with a time of 19.31. Several others who received honorable mention included Carter Roell (31st, 20:51), Dylan Childers (38th, 22:04), and Alivia Reek in the girls section (27th, 28:48).

The cross country district tournaments will be held on Saturday, Oct. 22 throughout the state. Eaton will participate in the Division II Dayton Districts, while Preble Shawnee will compete in the Division III Dayton Districts. Both events will be held at Cedarville University.

The senior runner wins his second SWBL title in a row, while the boys team finished 2nd. The girls placed 4th. Preble Shawnee also participated in the Buckeye Division, taking 7th in the boys race.

By Oliver Sanders

Reach Oliver Sanders at 937-683-4062 or on Twitter @osanders_RH

Reach Oliver Sanders at 937-683-4062 or on Twitter @osanders_RH