ENGLEWOOD — The Eaton boys cross country team finished fourth overall and qualified for the regional meet during the district championships on Saturday, Oct. 24, at the Miami Valley Career Tech Center. Seth Gard led the Eagles with a third place finish and a time of 16:36 for the day.
The girls unit missed the cut by one spot, finishing seventh overall.
It was a new format this season for the district meet, as they combined all the district runners into one race, advancing the top six teams and 24 individuals.
The field held 160 Division II boys runners and 117 in the girls race.
“I like the format, it takes the politics out of the seeding process and allows the athletes to settle it on the course,” said Eaton head coach Randy McKinney. “I am not sure the CTC course is ideal for those numbers at this point in the season when you are competing in the District Championships, but I prefer this new race format to those in the past. We didn’t change the number of qualifiers or qualifying teams, but I believe the format is best for the athletes overall.
Wyatt Cox (17:42), Ben Bassler (17:48), Cole Bulach (17:49), and Tanner Titkemeyer (17:52) rounded out the top five for the Eagles, with the four runners finishing almost in unison. They crossed the line at 34th, 36th, 37th, and 39th respectively.
“I have spoken again and again during the season about the power of our pack and the potential of this team when we use it, today was a great example,” said McKinney
On the girls end, the Eagles missed the cut by one spot – losing out by 21 points to the sixth place finisher. Katie Bassler, the top runner on the day, placed 29th overall and missed the regional qualifying by five spots.
Rounding out the top five spots for Eaton were Lauren Muncy (40; 21:51), Sasha Taxter (46; 22:13), Brooke Caplinger (53; 22:47), and Destiny Brubaker (70; 23:59).
“Overall it was a great day for our program with our boys team qualifying on to the next level, which is what this race is all about,” said McKinney.
The boys move on to compete in the regional championship at Troy High School on Saturday, Oct. 31 at 2:15 p.m.
Jeremy can be reached at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @jerskine_RH.