CONNERSVILLE – Despite hot and humid conditions not normal in October, the Lady Lions and Lions ran to the sectional title sweep at the Connersville Sectional on Saturday.
The Lady Lions, fourth straight year, claimed the sectional title with 37. Franklin County was second with 72 followed by Centerville, 100, Connersville, 104, Hagerstown 110, Union County 117, Knightstown 159, Richmond 181, and Cambridge City Lincoln, New Castle, Northeastern, Seton Catholic and Tri were all incomplete.
The top five teams in the sectional advance to the regional at Rushville this Saturday.
The Rushville girls were easily the class of the field putting five runners in the top 20 and four in the top 10. Senior Shannon Dougherty finished in second place with a time of 22:27. Charity Griffith and Jaeda Miller finished fourth and fifth with times of 22:43 and 22:46. Natalia Meza took 10th place in 23:29. Morgan Adkins finished 18th overall in 25:06. Abby Herbert finished in 29th place with a time of 26:56 and Josie Cudworth finished in 43rd place with a time of 29:57.
Franklin County’s Lauren Kelley won the girl’s race with a time of 21:25.
“The girls were outstanding today. Doing well at sectional is always one of the top goals of the cross country season and it is something that the girls have been focusing on all year. I am so proud of our seniors, they have now won the sectional each year of their careers. Shannon, Charity, and Natalia have had incredible careers and it means a great deal for all three of them to finish so well today,” Coach Jim Marlatt said. “Jaeda had her best race of the season when it counted the most, a top 5 finish is outstanding. Morgan is one of the toughest runners I have ever been around and absolutely gutted out a top 20 finish. Abby and Josie have worked so hard all season and definitely deserve this success. Really an excellent day for the girls cross country team.”
For the boys, the Lions claimed the sectional title with a team total of 41. Cambridge City Lincoln was second with 55 followed by Hagerstown 57, Centerville 110, New Castle 149, Franklin County 178, Connersville 202, Union County 212, Northeastern 218, Knightstown 284, Richmond 285, and Seton Catholic and Tri incomplete.
The Lions relied on the strength of their pack, putting all seven runners in the top 14. Senior Andrew Miller took second overall with a time of 17:47. Kyle Stanley and Caleb Krodel finished seventh and ninth in 18:38 and 18:58. John King and Nick Innis both stepped up and ran their best races of the season to finish 11th and 12th with times of 19:11 and 19:13. Sam Sterrett and Cole Dixon finished 13th and 14th in 19:17 and 19:18.
Hagerstown’s Elijah Halcomb won the boy’s race with a time of 17:39.
“This group of guys has been focused on winning sectional for the past two years. They have committed to running with this goal in mind. They truly earned the championship today with all of the miles they have run in all kinds of elements. I could not be more proud of this group of guys,” Coach Marlatt said. Andrew is not only an outstanding runner, but an outstanding leader who has set an example for everyone else. Kyle and Caleb are both running their first cross country seasons and have developed all year to be top 10 today. John and Nick really stepped up today and had the best races of their careers. Sam and Cole continued to be absolutely solid like they have been all year. Putting all seven guys in the top 14 is absolutely incredible. Everyone raced with toughness and intelligence. Today’s result has been a long time in the making but this group of guys could not be more deserving.”
The regional will be held at Rushville with the girls race at 10:30 a.m. and the boys at 11:15 a.m.