Cross Country Teams Compete At IWU Invite

Posted on September 2, 2018 in Boy's Cross Country, Fall Sports, Girl's Cross Country

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This image requires alt text, but the alt text is currently blank. Either add alt text or mark the image as decorative. Mollie Gamble competes in 2018 IWU XC Invite

BY SCOTT HUNT – shunt@chronicle-tribune.com
Hot, humid and breezy conditions greeted the more than 2,700 runners and 160 teams that converged on Indiana Wesleyan University’s fast-track cross country course to compete in the 21st annual Marion Invitational.

While the course has a reputation of being one of the fastest in the state, all the rain over the past two weeks had it soft and slower paced that normal.

It didn’t stop several Grant County athletes from having good days, though the race also left room for growth for all.

The top finisher of all county athletes, not surprisingly was Mississinewa senior Brennan Butche. Butche eschewed racing with his Indian teammates in the big-school Purple race, to run against some of the state’s best in the Elite division. Butche continues to show he is one of the state’s best, though his third place finish left an unsavory taste in his mouth.

Butche ran the five kilometer race in 15:56 and finished behind Lapel junior Luke Combs (15:35) and Carroll (Fort Wayne) senior Cole Powers (15:51). The result only intensified Butche’s desire to get faster.

“I was hoping to PR today and go low 15s, and I was hoping the ground would be a little harder,” Butche said. “I got out and my legs felt a little sluggish. They started to feel better around the mile, and the two mile it felt pretty good then it just went downhill from there. I didn’t feel right and came down the final stretch hoping to catch Powers and I just didn’t have it in me. I’ve got to do some speed work this week and get back into it.”

By virtue of its Gold division win in 2017, Eastbrook’s boys bumped up into the elite race. The Panthers finished 13th in the 16 team field but junior Ben Neideck earned a medal for his 20th place finish. Neideck led the Panthers by finishing in 16:49.

North Central scored 53 points to easily beat Pendleton Heights (119), Carroll (121) and Carmel (123)

Even without Butche in its lineup, Mississinewa’s boys team had a good day in the Purple division race. The Indians finished fourth with 127 points with Raven Fisher’s 20th place finish. Ole Miss also got good finishes from Collin Coffey (23rd), Jon Alsup (24th) and Jacob Ehmer (27th).

Marion finished ninth as a team in the Purple division with Joel Barnes and Tyler Morgan finishing 21st and 22nd, respectively.

Mississinewa’s girls finished sixth in the Purple division, with junior Aurora Fisher leading the way with a fourth place run in 21.23. Carli Fones ended 20th and Raegan Tippey finished 26th for Ole Miss.

In the boys Gold division, Oak Hill was just edged by Leo for the title. The Golden Eagles placed all five runners in the top 18, led by Dillon Mitchell (5th) and Raffi Fry (7th), but the 53 points was beat by Leo’s 52. Danny Nally (10th), Sol O’Blenis (15th) and Julian Garcia (18th) also scored for the Eagles while Colin Harts ended 19th.

Oak Hill’s girls were also a division champ in 2017 and raced in the Elite Division.

Two-time state qualifier Mollie Gamble topped Oak Hill with a 13th place finish. Gamble finished in 19:30.

“I’m happy. I didn’t do as well as I thought I would have but I did better than I did a couple weeks ago,” Gamble said. “I wanted to be faster, but I feel confident for the rest of the season.”

Kinzie Robey was second for Oak Hill in 40th and the Eagles finished 12th in the 18 team race with 298. No. 1 Carroll edged No. 2 Carmel, 61-63 for the team title.

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