Just how good are the No. 6 Tigers?
Warsaw dominated the 10-team field to run away with the Culver Academies Sectional championship Tuesday evening.
The Tigers top five runners finished in the top eight as Warsaw posted a team score of 27. Rochester was a distant second with a 53.
What made the feat so impressive was that the Tigers did it without standout Jake Poyner even running. The senior Division I prospect and defending individual sectional champion opted to rest up for the regional, which is Saturday back at Culver Academies.Senior Robert Murphy and junior Ellis Coon, two-thirds of arguably the state’s top 1-2-3 punch, captured second and fourth place respectively to lead Warsaw to its second straight sectional title and the program’s third overall.
It was just kind of a ho-hum effort by the Tigers, who finished 15th at the State Finals a year ago, led by a 42nd place finish by Poyner, and have their sights set on a top five finish come Oct. 27 in Terre Haute.
The Tigers were competing at a new venue as they have been assigned to the Elkhart Sectional at Ox Bow Park in the past.
“It’s nice to not run your top guy and still win like we did,” said Mills. “Jake thought taking today off would be good and that was fine with me. I love it for the kids that we won sectional again. But, I think as coaches we’re more excited than they are.
“The kids know the scoop. You can rah-rah all you want, but it’s hard to get motivated for certain meets. It will be a different mentality when we get to the semi state. We didn’t make our goal today. What we were trying to accomplish was to get everyone in the 16:40’s.”
Murphy turned in a strong performance after a rough last week. The senior standout had a health scare after passing out in a class last Wednesday. After having some tests done and being cleared to compete, “Mr. Consistency” was just that once again for his team. He finished in 16:36, trailing only individual champion Leopoldo Burguete of Culver Academies, who won in 16:29.
“We need to get Robert his Mojo back today and we did that,” Mills said. “That’s a good thing. He was good at the end today.”
Coon was fourth in 16:50, followed by Brysten James in sixth (16:57), Michael Compton in seventh (17:02) and Daniel Messenger in eighth (17:09) to round out Warsaw’s scoring five. Owen Glogovsky placed 12th (17:34) and Ryan Goon was 16th (17:55).Mills liked the sectional change that moved his team to a new site.
“It’s a nice switch to come here and run against some new teams,” said Mills. “That’s fun and this is a great course.”
Mills said there will be a meeting of the minds Wednesday to discuss how the Tigers approach the regional Saturday. Warsaw will be a huge favorite again to win just the second regional title in school history, with the other coming in 1989.
“We’ll discuss Saturday and what we plan to do at practice Wednesday,” said Mills. “We may go all out. We’ll see. My concern is for us to stay race sharp. I’m a little nervous if we get off our game too far right now.”
Triton earned a fourth-place team finish to secure a berth back at Culver Academies Saturday for the regional. The top five teams Tuesday and the top 15 individuals advance to regional. Trenton Stackhouse placed 18th overall in a time of 18:15 to lead the Trojans.
Tippecanoe Valley finished in seventh place in the final team standings. Brandon Maull was 25th overall in a time of 18:56 to lead the Vikings.
The boys regional race is scheduled to start at 11:15 a.m. Saturday at Culver Academies.
CULVER ACADEMIES SECTIONAL
Warsaw 27, Rochester 53, Culver Academies 88, Triton 122, Plymouth 135, Manchester 172, Tippecanoe Valley 203, Culver 216, Caston 218, North Miami 245.
TOP 15 INDIVIDUALS
1. Leopoldo Burguete (CA) 16:29; 2. Robert Murphy (W) 16:36; 3. Matthew Faha-Brown (M) 16:42; 4. Ellis Coon (W) 16:50; 5. Alex Gudeman (R) 16:52; 6. Brysten James (W) 16:57; 7. Michael Compton (W) 17:02; 8. Daniel Messenger (W) 17:09; 9. Jeff Ferrell (R) 17:09; 10. Seth Cousins (C) 17:22; 11. Brandon Rife (R) 17:32; 12. Owen Glogovsky (W) 17:34; 13. Matt Hayes (R) 17:38; 14. Landrum Neer (CA) 17:41; 15. Tyler Byerline (R) 17:50.
2. Robert Murphy 16:36; 4. Ellis Coon 16:50; 6. Brysten James 16:57; 7. Michael Compton 17:02; 8. Daniel Messenger 17:09; 12. Owen Glogovsky 17:34; 16. Ryan Goon 17:55.
18. Trenton Stackhouse 18:15; 23. Trenton Cooper 18:45; 26. Landon Kaufman 18:56; 27. Bryce Wanemacher 19:07; 28. Derek Johnston 19:08.
25. Brandon Maull 18:56; 40. Maverick Wagley 19:57; 43. Adam Solano 20:05; 45. Jesse Floor 20:08; 51. Tyler Ross 20:42; 59. Devin Childers 21:05; 62. Noah Clampitt 21:41.
LAKELAND CHRISTIAN ACADEMY
50. Alex Plastow 20:35.