Girls Cross Country Wins Grant 4

Posted on September 19, 2018 in Fall Sports, Girl's Cross Country

Robey and Gamble run

Mollie Gamble and Kinzie Robey run up front in 2018 Grant 4

BY SCOTT HUNT – shunt@chronicle-tribune.com
UPLAND — Winning Grant Four championships is just something the Oak Hill girls cross country team does, and Tuesday evening on the Farm Course at Taylor University, the Golden Eagles made winning their sixth straight county championship look like a stroll through across the countryside.

Led by two-time state qualifier, junior Mollie Gamble, who gradually pulled away from her sophomore teammates Kinzie Robey and Selah Jackson over the final two of five kilometers, Oak Hill swept the top three spots and seven of the top 10 to record a 19 point finish and easily get past Mississinewa (55), Eastbrook (69) and Madison-Grant (100).

After sitting out last year’s Grant Four and finishing second to Margo Hornocker in her freshman season, Gamble crossed the finish line first in 20:11 to claim her first county championship as an individual while Robey (20:21) was second and Jackson (20:34) third.

“We wanted (Gamble), Kinzie and Selah to run together for the first three K, we knew Fisher would be out front for Mississinewa, and we just wanted them to work together,” said Oak Hill coach Paige Brunner. “For Mollie that was a pretty relaxed pace, but we hoped it would help build the confidence for Kinzie and Selah because they’re two high level runners as well. When (Gamble) made the move they got strung out a little bit but I thought they stayed pretty close to her. They’re similar to some of our boys, they’re young and still trying to get some of that confidence built up.”

Gamble added, “We went out and we were going to stay behind Aurora (Fisher) til about the mile then when she started to fall off a little bit we picked up the pace just a bit and kept moving forward.”

Mississinewa kept the race interesting with three of the top eight finishers. Junior Aurora Fisher (21:22) finished fourth, junior Carli Fones (22:13) was fifth and junior Raegan Tippey (22:23) was eighth. The Indians also scored with Lynnzey Young (23rd) and Ashlyn Morrical (25th).

“We don’t have a lot of depth but I was really proud, we got three in the top 10. If you would asked me if that were to happen I would have said you’re crazy,” said Ole Miss coach Ean Van Winkle. “I didn’t think we’d get three spots in the top 10 with Oak Hill’s girls the way they are but they competed.”

Both Fisher and Tippey competed at the Flashrock Invite in Carmel on Saturday against some of the top runners in the state and Van Winkle said the experience helped prepare them for Tuesday and hopefully the postseason.

“It gave them confidence that they can run times that they’re supposed to be running,” Van Winkle said. “They ran almost equivalent times today. Aurora was a little slow but it was hot and humid. I’m proud of them.”

The Golden Eagles clinched the title when sophomore Kate Hornocker (22:17) and freshman Grace Geller (22:21) finished 6th and 7th, respectively. Oak Hill also had juniors Ireland Dodson and Lauren Marsh finish 9th and 10th for good measure.

Eastbrook was led by Laynie Craw (23:51) in 10th place and Panthers also scored Bekah Hammond (17th), Rachel Manning (18th), Jade Stuber (19th) and and Eleana Manning (21st).

Zoey Barnett (25:04) led Madison-Grant by finishing 15th while the Argylls also scored with Mary Mayfield (24th), Lacey Mayfield (26th), Riley Cass (27th) and Chelsea Bowland (31st).

But Tuesday’s race belonged to Oak Hill, and Brunner sees the confidence in Gamble, Robey, Jackson and the rest of his young runners growing as postseason draws near.

“(Gamble has) got to have some days like today where she can come in and not necessarily coast but almost use it like a mini workout and run controlled and comfortable,” Brunner said. “You just can’t tax your legs all the time. This is a race she hasn’t won before so we wanted to add this to her resume. I think she’s running with confidence.”

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