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Road steepens for XC runners at regional

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The Shenandoah High School girls cross country team placed fifth in last Saturday’s sectional at Pendleton and qualified to run as a team in this Saturday’s Delta regional at the Muncie Sports Complex. The Raider girls won the Henry County Meet this year.
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The Hagertown High School girls cross country team gets together for a strategy session before the New Castle Invitational Sept. 11. Last Saturday, the Tiger girls finished fifth as a team in the Connersville sectional and will run at this Saturday’s regional in Rushville.
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Elizabeth Moore of the Knightstown girls cross country team nears the finish line of a meet. Last Saturday at the Connersville sectional, Moore had the best finish of any local girl there, placing 13th overall and qualifying as an individual for this Saturday’s Rushville regional.
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New Castle boys cross country runner Quentin Hedges (514) leads a pack of runners including teammate Ben Brock (509) and Knightstown’s Josiah King (far left) during last Saturday’s Connerville sectional. All three will compete in Saturday’s regional at Rushville.
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New Castle boys cross country runners Jaycee Wilburn (518), Britton Adkins (507) and Ben Brock (509) trail a Centerville runner on the Connersville sectional course last Saturday. All four runners will be competing for their teams at Saturday’s regional in Rushville.
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Tri boys cross country runner Trey Williams rounds a bend on the course during last Saturday’s sectional at Connersville. Williams finished 38th overall in the boys race and qualified as an individual for this Saturday’s Rushville regional.
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New Castle boys cross country runners Skyler Dickey (511), Quentin Hedges (514), Ben Head (513), and Luke Carter (510). maneuver around the course at last Saturday’s Connerville sectional. The quartet of Trojans will race with other members of their team at Saturday’s Rushville regional.

By DAVID RISLEY - drisley@thecouriertimes.com

Each of the six local high schools has at least two runners competing in Saturday's regional round of the IHSAA cross country state tournament, but the road to advancement steepens a bit for them.

Sixteen regionals are being held around the state in an attempt to pare down the field and funnel the survivors to four semi-states on Oct. 20. Our local runners will compete in either the Rushville regional or Delta regional.

The top five teams from each regional plus the top-10 runners in the race not on those top five teams will advance to the semi-state round of the tournament.

Rushville Regional

This regional will be on the course at Benjamin Rush Middle School and is the same one that is used for the Rushville Invitational, which was canceled this year due to impending severe weather conditions. This regional welcomes qualifiers from the Connersville and New Palestine sectionals and will start at 10:30 a.m.

Boys teams who qualified from the Connersville sectional are Rushville, Cambridge City Lincoln, Hagerstown, Centerville and New Castle. Boys teams who made the cut from the New Palestine sectional are New Palestine, Franklin Central, Warren Central, Greenfield-Central and New Palestine.

Although the courses were different, Hagerstown's Elijah Halcomb was the individual boys champion at Connersviile with a time of 17:39.7, while Nick Perkins of Roncalli ended up winning the boys race at New Palestine after touring the course in 16:34.

If the teams use the same runners for the regional as they did for last Saturday's sectional, the Hagerstown boys will be represented by Halcomb, Logan Tuttle, Quentin Osborne, Dylan Napier, Holden Robinson, Alexander McKee, and Blake Creech.

New Castle's representatives will be Ben Brock, Britton Adkins, Jaycee Wilburn, Quentin Hedges, Skyler Dickey, Luke Carter and Ben Head.

Local boys racing as individuals at Rushville Saturday who qualified from the Connersville sectional are Trey Williams of Tri and Josiah King of Knightstown.

Girls teams who qualified for the regional from the Connersville sectional are Rushville, Franklin County, Centerville, Connersville and Hagerstown. Girls teams who made the grade at New Palestine to run at Rushville Saturday are Franklin Central, New Palestine, Roncalli, Mt. Vernon (Fortville) and Warren Central.

Franklin County's Lauren Kelley was the individual girls champion at Connersville with a time of 21:25.2, while Franklin Central's Brianna Lawson won the individual girls race at New Palestine with a clocking of 19:41.

Again, if teams use the same runners as they did for the sectional, Hagerstown will be represented at the Rushville regional by Jewels Warfel, Teresa Rojas, Kylee Farmer, Taylor Pass, Ella Nicholson and Maci Matanich.

Knightstown will be represented by two girls running as individuals: Elizabeth Moore and Emma-Kate Moore. Molly West will be Tri's representative in the girls race.

Teams and individuals qualifying from the Rushville regional will join those from the Ben Davis, Carmel, and Noblesville regionals at the Shelbyville semi-state Oct. 20, which will be run on the course at Blue River Park.

Delta Regional

This regional will be run on the course at Muncie Sports Complex and welcomes qualifiers from the Pendleton Heights and Delta sectionals. The starting time is 10:30 a.m.

Girls teams who advanced from Pendleton are Hamilton Southeastern, Fishers, Pendleton Heights, Lapel, and Shenandoah. Qualifying as teams from the Delta sectional are Delta, Yorktown, Wapahani, Jay County and Randolph Southern. 

On different courses, Hamilton Southeastern's Lulu Black won the girls race at the Pendleton sectional in a time of 20:05, while Randolph Southern's Leah Keesling took first place in the girls race at the Delta sectional with a time of 20:22.1.

If the Shenandoah girls use the same runners as it did last Saturday, Madi Jenkins, Stormie Fitch, Hope Edwards, Abby Buskirk, Emma Voth, MacKenzie Steele, and Olivia Krintz will ply the course for the Raiders Saturday at Delta.

For the boys event, teams qualifying from the Pendleton Heights sectional are Fishers, Hamilton Southeastern, Pendleton Heights, Lapel, and Frankton. Complete teams running from the Delta sectional are Yorktown, Delta, Muncie Central, Monroe Central and Winchester.

Lapel's Luke Combs was individual boys champion at the Pendleton sectional with a time of 16:24, while Yorktown's Matthew Mitsch won the boys race at the Delta sectional with a clocking of 17:01.5. 

Blue River Valley's Andrew Whitinger and Joey Liles plus Shenandoah's Borru Kishpaugh ran fast enough at the Pendleton Heights sectional to qualify for the Delta regional.    

Teams and individuals qualifying from the Delta regional will join those from the Elkhart Central, Marion, and West Noble regionals to race at the New Haven semi-state Oct. 20, which will be contested at The Plex on the campus of IPFW in Fort Wayne.