NORWOOD — The Eaton cross country team traveled to Norwood Saturday, Sept. 3, to compete in the Norwood Invitational.
The men’s team placed first in the 18-team field, with a low score of 25, while the women’s team placed third overall.
Along with the individual and team success of the day, the Eagles captured the overall “Program Award” which was a unique award presented to the top overall program based on the lowest overall scores generated by the addition of all four team scores. Eaton’s junior high boys placed first, while the junior high girls finished third.
“I like that award, because it is highly reflective of the quality and efforts of our overall program, grades 7-12,” said coach Randy McKinney.
Seth Gard led the way for the men’s team with a strong first place finish in 16 minutes, 9 seconds, 26 seconds ahead of the field. Tanner Titkemeyer once again solidified his second place team position by making a strong move after the first mile of the race to move up into third place, which he held onto by out-kicking Noah White from Northwest by a margin of :00.2 seconds in a time of 17:18.6.
The trio of Alex McCarty, Wyatt Cox and Cole Bulach once again finished with a strong pack finish, closing down the gap between them and Titkemeyer to 15 seconds overall. McCarty and Cox battled it out with McCarty finishing just ahead of Cox in a time of 17:23 and Cox finishing in a time of 17:25.
Bulach brought in a solid and strong finish, 8 seconds behind McCarty and Cox for an eighth place finish in a time of 17:33.
Steven Cottle ran a very strong race, bringing in the sixth spot for the Eagles with an 11th place finish in a time of 17:53.
“As great as our top six guys ran, the overlooked race that developed during the varsity boys race Saturday was for the seventh spot on our men’s varsity,” McKinney said. “Alex Newport, Dylan Suding, Todd Coates, Darius Benton and Ben Brewer (three freshmen and two sophomores) battled back and forth during the entire race for that last travel spot for Tiffin. Through the first two and a half miles of the race, I honestly couldn’t have guessed who our eventual seventh place finisher was going to be when the race was over.”
“Unfortunately at the two-mile mark Ben Brewer went down with an ankle injury taking him out of contention for the seventh spot. The other four guys challenged one another until over the last mile it was down to Alex and Dylan. Alex Newport then pulled away with a very strong move in the last quarter mile to earn that 7th spot placing 21st overall in a time of 18:34. Alex ran a very smart race and finished strong with very quick last 50 meters of his race. All five of those young men ran outstanding races for this point in the season. I am excited to see the progress each of them are making each week they race. In order for our team to get stronger each week out this is exactly the type of team competition we need to have among our runners.”
The Lady Eagles placed third overall behind Division I Loveland and a very strong D-II Cincinnati Country Day. Katie Bassler again led the way for the Eagles with a very strong 11th place finish in a time of 21:23. Destiny Brubaker took charge of the second spot for Eaton, placing 18th overall in a time of 22:44.
Gabby Best, Brooke Caplinger, Brianna Baker and Alexis Owen challenged one another over the last mile and a half of the race, which ended with a quick sprint to the finish over the last 50 meters to decide their order of finish. Best placed 23rd overall in 23:19, Caplinger placed 24th in 23:19.1, Baker placed 25th in 23:20 and Owen placed 27th overall in 23:34.
Nina Albinus was the seventh Eagle to cross the line, placing 48th overall in the field of 97 runners in a time of 26:07.
“This is what it takes to make the team better each time out, which ultimately is our goal,” said McKinney. “I am very impressed with the way these girls ran together as a pack, helping and encouraging one another while also challenging one another.”
Eaton will travel to both Troy and Tiffin to compete in invitational meets scheduled for Saturday, Sept.10.
Additional finishing times & places:
High school girls:
Jaque Owen, 63rd – 27:11; Maddie Meredith, 88th – 30:54
High school boys:
Suding, 24th – 18:48; Coates, 34th – 19:22; Benton, 36th – 19:45; Gideon Smith, 41st – 20:05; Mike Arys, 65th – 21:26; KeAnthony Bales, 70th – 21:44; Winson Lam, 80th – 22:06; Isaac Rohrer, 97th – 23:21
Reach Oliver Sanders at 937-683-4062 or on Twitter @osanders_RH