Surprising Grant Four Finish

Posted on September 22, 2010 in Fall Sports, News
Oak Hill Boys Win; Girls Edge Panthers

Published: Wednesday, September 22, 2010 1:10 AM EDT
By Adam Wire

The script that was supposed to play out Tuesday in the Grant Four boys’ and girls’ cross country meets veered surprisingly off-course, in more ways than one.

Oak Hill won the boys’ race with surprising ease, defeating host Eastbrook 22-35 in a contest that was supposed to be much closer. The teams had split four previous meetings this season.

On the girls’ side, the Golden Eagles duplicated their one-point win over the Panthers from last year’s Grant Four, but with a surprising twist. The top two runners on each team, Eastbrook’s Sophie Seward and Oak Hill’s Jenna Norris, inadvertently ran off the marked course in the middle portion of the race, cutting the course short and earning disqualifications for both.

The disqualifications didn’t end up mattering in the team standings. Oak Hill would have beaten Eastbrook by one point had Seward’s and Norris’ finishes counted in the team scores as well.

Their mishap made Oak Hill’s Danielle Thompson the individual champ in the girls’ race.

Thompson covered the five-kilometer course in 21:23, 14 seconds ahead of Eastbrook’s Madeline Cramer.

It wasn’t the way Thompson envisioned the race playing out, but she still managed to enjoy it because of the Eagles’ team win. She said she didn’t find out about Seward and Norris’ situation until after the race ended.

“I feel bad for both of them,” Thompson said. “They told me (during the race) I had to beat Eastbrook’s No. 2 (runner, Madeline Cramer), but I didn’t know that was why.”

As it turned out, Thompson ran down Cramer with about 300 meters to go, which ended up providing the narrow margin of victory.

“Danielle passing Cramer was huge,” Oak Hill coach Paige Brunner said. “We also got some help from the other teams. Madison-Grant had two girls up there, and you just continue to use meets like this as a teaching tool. Every one of our girls is going to matter, and you can’t take anything for granted.”

Oak Hill’s Morgan Tinkel was third overall in 22:19, followed by Eastbrook’s Haley White (fourth in 22:44), Mississinewa’s Kira Emmett (fifth in 22:45), Eastbrook’s Ellie Rodman in sixth (23:01), Oak Hill’s Lori Newhouse (seventh in 23:17), Madison-Grant’s Jasmine Nelson (eighth in 23:20), Oak Hill’s Megan Aughinbaugh (ninth in 23:33) and Eastbrook’s Katelyn Oliver (10th in 23:55).

Madison-Grant finished third in the girls’ race with 57 points, while Mississinewa did not field a complete team.

The win was Oak Hill’s fourth straight, and the Golden Eagles have won all but five of the titles since the meet began in 1988.

The boys’ race wasn’t nearly as dramatic, thanks to a solid effort by Oak Hill. The Eagles and Panthers were expected to battle for the team title, but Oak Hill placed five runners in the top seven to cruise to a 12th straight championship.

Eastbrook freshman Josh Neideck, as expected, easily won the individual title in 17:21, but only David Rodman (fifth in 18:03) was able to break up a pack of five Oak Hill finishers between Neidick and the next finisher, the Panthers’ Lance Hock (eighth in 18:21).

“You’d like to think it’s the pride we have in our program,” Brunner said, trying to explain his team’s effort. “If we continue to run like that, we’ll be in a good spot for the (Central Indiana) Conference and the (state) tournament.”

Curtis Jones led Oak Hill’s pack, placing second in 17:45. Alec Jones was third in 17:49, followed by Luke Colvin (fourth in 17:57), Christian Daugherty (sixth in 18:10) and Connor Mitchener (seventh in 18:14). Collin Brown was sixth for Oak Hill and 10th overall in 18:36.

Colvin is normally Oak Hill’s top runner, but he got tangled with Eastbrook’s Chris Foss on the first turn about 400 meters into the race. Both runners fell to the ground, but immediately got up and resumed racing.

Eastbrook’s Jeremiah Anderson was ninth in 18:34, as the Panthers and Eagles swept the top 14 finishes in the meet.

The win was bittersweet for Eastbrook’s Neideck, given the team score.

“Oak Hill came out to win, and we came out to run,” Neideck said. “It was hot, but it was hot for both teams. We’ve just got to work hard in practice. We’ve got a lot of time to get some good workouts in.”

Mississinewa was third in the boys’ race with 91 points, followed by Madison-Grant with 107.

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