Strong group of area runners advances through sectional

·4 min read

Oct. 9—PENDLETON — While Hamilton Southeastern and Fishers were the dominant teams at the Pendleton Heights cross country sectional Saturday, Madison County area teams will be well represented at next week's regional in Muncie.

Four schools advanced both their boys and girls teams to regional as HSE, Fishers, Pendleton Heights and Blue River Valley occupied the top four spots in each event.

The Arabians boys were led by Madison County champion Avry Carpenter in sixth place, Will Coggins in eighth and Andrew Blake in 14th position. Carpenter's time of 17:01.4 was 38 seconds behind champion Nolan Satterfield of HSE.

The competition for the fifth transfer position was as close as possible.

Frankton returns to Delta for the fourth straight year after topping Anderson by just six points. The Eagles were led by Hunter Smith in 15th place and Kaleb Cage in 20th.

The Indians can take consolation in the fact four of their boys runners will move on as Spencer Proctor, Connor King, Bradlee Thomas and Damaurion Menifee were among the 10 individuals to advance.

Elwood was next in the team standings and will send three runners to regional in Zachary Hood, Cameron Tackett and Jayden Reese. Reese — who made it to semistate in 2020 — returns to regional despite running with a brace to support a back injury.

"He's been running, but he's not been doing what he would normally do," Elwood coach Brian Williams said. "Taking all that into account, our goal was to make it to regional, and three of them did. And given all that has transpired, it just shows how focused they were on what they needed to do."

Lapel runners Cameron Smith (11th) and Braxton Burress (31st) and Liberty Christian's Noah Price (12th) also advanced as individuals, with Smith and Price taking the top two transfer spots.

Alexandria was eighth and Shenandoah ninth, neither team advanced any individuals from the boys race nor did either Anderson Prep competitor.

The PH girls were also led by their county champ as freshman Ava Jarrell crossed the finish line in sixth place with a time of 20:37.9, well back of the 19:04.9 posted by champion Maggie Powers from the Royals.

Laney Ricker was eighth and Berkeley Lord was 15th for the Arabians, who were 12 points back of the runners-up from Fishers.

"It wasn't bad, and it was what I expected, but again we were pretty close to Fishers, and I like to see that gap close," PH coach Melissa Hagerman said. "I think our seniors, Laney and Berkeley, again had a great race. They're really flexing their senior muscles right now and leading the team like I need them to do."

The race for fifth place was even closer on the girls side where Shenandoah edged Alexandria by one point to move on. The Raiders were led by their dynamic freshman duo of Kayci Hill (17th) and Anna Buskirk (21st), but coach John Davis said their third runner — senior Abby Buskirk — deserves credit for the team's success.

"This is a strong sectional, but Kayci and Anna have been flip flopping for us all year out in front," Davis said. "But we're really solidified by Abby Buskirk. It's emotional because she's ran so strong for four years, and she solidifies our five. If she doesn't run at her spot all year long beating everybody's third (runner) — that's her job is to beat their third — it doesn't lead the team to where they're at today."

The Tigers will send three girls to regional, including the top individual in Lilly Thomas who placed 12th overall. She will be joined by teammates Reanna Stinson and Jacklynn Hosier who finished 27th and 28th, respectively.

Elwood's Katelyn Foor (22nd), Lapel's Hannah Combs (23rd) and Ashlyn Doster (35th), Anderson's Brooklyn Denney (30th) and Frankton's Jewell Cline (31st) and Emma Sheward (36th) will also move on to Delta as individuals.

The contingent of runners advancing from Pendleton will be joined by a trio of Daleville Broncos, who moved on from the Delta sectional. Sophomore Faith Norris led the way with a fifth-place run in 22:11 along with Olivia Covert (16th), who returns to regional this year. Freshman Noah Colvin also advanced for the boys team with a 25th-place finish.

At Marion, three Madison-Grant runners advanced as individuals and — like Daleville — will compete at the same regional site as its sectional venue. Mary Mayfield moved on for the girls while Gavin Kelich and Dylan Hofherr advanced for the boys.

Contact Rob Hunt at rob.hunt@heraldbulletin.com or 765-640-4886.

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