CONNERSVILLE - In a balanced sectional field, it was key for the Lions to run in a pack. They did just that with only 20 positions being between their top and final runner. The end result was a team title at the Connersville sectional. The Lions won the title with 70. Host Connersville was just six points behind with 76 and New Castle was another eight points back with 84. Northeastern took fourth with 98 and Union County was fifth with 110.
The top five teams advance to the regional Saturday at Rushville.
Hagerstown took sixth with 115 followed by Richmond 163, Franklin County 234, Cambridge City Lincoln 249, Tri 266 and Knightstown 276.
“During the summer, the boys set a goal of winning the sectional. We knew it would be a tough challenge because of how great Connersville and New Castle are. They are both really well coached teams, and their kids worked really hard. However, our team really fought hard tonight. Connersville had a pack of runners ahead of Josh Clifton heading toward the finish, and that result would have given Connersville the win. Josh Clifton found another gear and passed that pack of runners directly before the finish to solidify our win,” Coach Helsley said.
New Castle’s Tanner Dye was the individual winner of the race.
Rushville was led by Ryan Fogg in seventh. Dalton Miller was next for the Lions followed by James Brashaber, Josh Clifton, David Fogg, Kenny Nigh and Garrett Young.
For the girls, Connersville took first with 66 followed by Union County 73, Hagerstown 76, Northeastern 90, Centerville 113, New Castle 166, Cambridge City Lincoln 191, Rushville 218, Richmond 242, Franklin County 253, Tri 257 and Knightstown 279.
Hagerstown’s Hayley Rogers won the race.
Rushville was led by Monica Dougherty in 30th followed by Michaela Orme, Megan Clifton, Sarah Ford and Leah Noe.
"I couldn't have been more blessed to have had such an incredible group of seniors run for us this year. Ryan Fogg, James Brashaber, Josh Clifton and Michaela Orme have provided important leadership throughout our season," Coach Helsley said.
"Three freshman girls (Sarah Ford, Megan Clifton, and Leah Noe) ran their hearts out tonight. I’m amazed with how well they have improved during their short season. Leah has been fighting issues with her shins for the last few weeks, and she really toughed it out last night. Without her hard work, the girls wouldn’t have had a team let alone finish as well as they did tonight," Coach Helsley added. "Coach Jake Federle came on board this year to help, and he brought a wealth of knowledge and experience to the team. Without his help this year, I not sure we would have had the same result."
Rushville hosts the regional at 10:30 a.m. Saturday.