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Area cross country teams compete in Arabian Round-Up

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New Castle High School boys cross country runners Skyler Dickey (left) and Ayden Humbles tour the course during Wednesday evening’s Arabian Round-up hosted by Pendleton Heights High School. The Trojan boys finished 13th as a team.
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Freshman Lydia Harvey (left) of the New Castle High School girls cross country team accepts her medal for finishing ninth in the girls race at Wednesday evening’s Arabian Round-Up hosted by Pendleton Heights High School. Harvey ran the second-fastest 5,000-meter race for the Trojan girls in school history.

By ANDY CARTER of NCHS - and C-T STAFF REPORT

PENDLETON — The New Castle, Shenandoah, Blue River Valley, and Knightstown High School boys and girls cross country teams competed Wednesday evening in the Arabian Round-Up hosted by Pendleton Heights High School.

It was the first meet of the season for the Trojans. The New Castle coaches were proud of the efforts of the team, as it was its first meet of the season to test the runners’ abilities.

Twenty-two schools competed in the large meet. The weather was exceptionally nice for this early in the season with sunny skies, temperatures in the low 70s, and much lower than normal humidity with a light breeze out of the west. It was great weather for cross country racing.

Boys Race Summary

Boys team scores, in order of finish, were Hamilton Southeastern 34, Pendleton Heights 73, Greenfield-Central 111, Roncalli 112, Mt. Vernon (Fortville) 144, Yorktown 183, Cambridge City Lincoln 224, Wapahani 262, Frankton 270, New Palestine 281, Lapel 329, Anderson 364, New Castle 367, Monroe Central 368, Cowan 401, Shenandoah 423, Alexandria 439, Elwood Community 455, Knightstown 530, and Blue River Valley 539.

The Trojan boys team placed 13th overall, the best among local area schools, and that finish was three places higher than in 2018.

The New Castle duo of junior Ayden Humbles and sophomore Skyler Dickey looked strong and worked together most of the race to lead the Trojans. Eventually, toward the later part of the race, Dickey pulled away and finished 48th with a time of 18:42.0 followed closely by Humbles in 61st place with a time of 18:55.10. Humbles’ time was more than two minute faster than this meet last year.

Just seconds behind his teammates, junior Quentin Hedges finished third for the Trojans with an impressive race. Hedges had a shoelace come loose early in the race and eventually removed the shoe, tossed it to one of his coaches, and kept running. Hedges finished in 66th place with a time of 19:07.4, which was over two and a half minutes faster than at this meet in 2018.

Rounding out the top five scoring for New Castle was the duo of seniors Drew Nelson and Luke Carter. Nelson, who had run cross country in middle school and taken a few years off from the sport, was running in his first high school meet.

Nelson was a solid fourth runner for the team, finishing in 93th place and crossing the tape in 20:22.3. Carter, battling a bit of knee pain, placed 113th in 21:29.6. Junior Dominic Reynolds placed 129th in 22:22.4. Freshman Bradley Henderson was originally slated to run in the JV race.

However, after the warm-up senior Ben Head, who has been battling knee pain recently, indicated that his knee pain was too severe to race so Henderson was quickly moved onto the varsity squad. Henderson, in his first high school meet, performed well, placing 139th in a time of 22:38.4.

The Shenandoah boys finished 16th at the Arabian Round-Up, and the Raiders had several runners step up with some season-best and personal-best times. The Shenandoah boys continue to work hard on race strategies to prepare them for the late season competitions.

Seniors Kishpaugh and Soden continue to lead the Raiders, followed by Junior Coccia, and then freshmen Lovett and Hinshaw, followed by sophomore Hawkins and freshman Croffie.

Running against some of the state’s best teams and individuals, Knightstown struggled to find the front of the race.

Times across the board were decent, but the boys could not find the lead pack against the state’s elite.

The Panthers finished 19th and were led by a strong front three in Josiah King, Damyan Jones, and Jared Richardson, who had a personal record under 22 minutes for the first time in his inaugural year.

The Blue River Valley boys finished 20th at the Arabian Roundup. The Vikings were led by Gabe Sayre, followed by James Crull, Adam Polston, Ryan Armaly, Tyler Williams, and Keaton Perdue.

The junior varsity race for New Castle was encouraging. Sophomore Xander Bray was the lone Trojan entrant, cut two and a half minutes off of his time from this meet a year ago, and looked solid throughout the race. Bray placed 86th in a time of 22:37.63.

In the JV race for Shenandoah, sophomore Declan Layton ran a personal-best time to lead the Raider boys.

“This was a good start to the season and the team is looking to improve as the season progresses,” New Castle Coach Andy Carter remarked.

Girls Race Summary

In the girls race, the top three teams were Fishers 35, Hamilton Southeastern 43, and New Palestine 94. Shenandoah was 12th with a score of 360 and Blue River Valley finished 18th with 441. New Castle had just three girl runners and had an incomplete team score. No information was provided for Knightstown.

Even though the Trojans are competing without a complete team so far this season, that did not prevent them from competing strongly in the individual placings.

New Castle freshman Lydia Harvey, competing in her first high school race, led the team by finishing in ninth place overall and completing the 5,000 meter distance in a time of 20:27.09. Harvey’s time is the second fastest 5,000 meter time in school history for the girls. Harvey looked strong throughout the race and competed among the front of the field of 135 girls from the starting gun.

Trojan freshman Ella Garvin, also competing in her first high school race, placed 42nd with a time of 22:47.32, which is the 20th fastest time in school history at the 5,000-meter distance. Both Harvey and Garvin ran an impressive first race of their high school careers looking confident, strong, and battling with the competition the entire race.

Rounding out New Castle’s team finish was junior Audra McClure, who had run in middle school a few years ago, and also was running in her first high school race. McClure struggled with ankle pain throughout the race but persevered to the finish.

“All in all, it was a very solid first meet of the season for our girls,” Coach Carter added.

The Shenandoah girls continued to improve on times and race strategies as evidenced by their 12th-place finish out of 18 complete teams. Fitch led the Raider girls on Wednesday by finishing 31st, followed by Edwards 64th, Jenkins 74th, Buskirk 94th and Alfrey 97th.

The Blue River Valley girls finished 18th in the Round-Up which included runners from 24 high schools. Savannah Kernel was the first Viking to cross the finish line in 72nd place. Malory Polston followed one minute later in 87th, followed, in order, by Kelsey Porter, Jamie Kernel, Maddie Denton, Jenna Willis, and Emma Claar.

In the junior varsity race for Shenandoah, freshmen Lilly Bailey, Hannah Hinshaw, and Kaite Ashby all ran personal-best times.

All six local high schools compete in the Rushville Invitational today.