The Lady Warriors placed four runners in the top 21 to score 106 points and fourth place while the boys had a pair of runners in the top 10 to help its 93 points and third place. The top five boys and girls teams from Tuesday advance to the Elkhart Central Cross Country Regionals this Saturday, also to be run on the Ox Bow 5,000-meter course.
The teams from Northridge both won the sectional titles, to the surprise of no one as both teams are ranked in the top 20 in the state rankings. Olivia Golden won the race for the No. 9-ranked Lady Raiders at a snappy 19:20, followed by Sierra Moore of Elkhart Memorial in second nine seconds back and a pair of Raiders in Jennifer Schrock (19:35) and Madie Royce (19:57) in third and fourth.
Northridge’s top five all placed in the first ten to finish the race, giving the champs a cool 24 points, well ahead of Memorial’s runner-up total of 60 points. The title was the 21st overall for Northridge and reclaims the reign the Raiders held for 20 straight years before Warsaw interrupted the two-decade long streak last October. Warsaw moved on to the Culver Academy Sectional this year and were winners once again.
Goshen scored 104 points to edge Wawasee by two for third place while Concord (133) grabbed the last automatic qualifying spot for the regional.
The Lady Warriors top time came from Breanna Robinson, a 20:08 eighth-place time, which began a spread out theme. Jen Slabaugh was 14th at 20:41, followed by Courtney Linnemeier in 17th at 20:42, Madison Miller in 21st at 20:58 and then Becky Snavely in 46th at 23:11.
The spacing between Robinson and Miller didn’t necessarily worry Wawasee head coach Jerid Stoffel, but the gap between Miller and Snavely will be a point of emphasis as the team prepares for regionals, which will include a bevy of talented runners from Penn, Mishawaka and the South Bend schools that could make the gap much wider.
“Overall, I was pretty pleased with the girls race,” Stoffel said. “There was definite room for improvement, and we need to be ready to go for Saturday. What we ran today is not going to get out of regionals. We are going to have to step it up another level and really go after it Saturday.”
The Warrior boys, while not running the sharpest race of the season, did finish at Stoffel’s expectations as a team in third place.
Reid Stichter ran a productive race to lead the Warriors, finishing just off the pace of Goshen’s Luke Kaufman in fifth place at 16:38, two steps behind Kaufman at the line. The Northridge duo of Blake O’Dell (16:12) and James Bradberry (16:15) commanded the race from the outset, leaving Elkhart Christian’s Joel Hartman content with third place at 16:29.
No. 13 Northridge placed all five of its boys scorers in the top 11, tallying just 30 points, ahead of the 52 from runner-up Goshen to claim its ninth sectional title. Wawasee (93), Elkhart Central (117) and Concord (136) rounded out the top five advancing to Saturday.
Adam Doll had a strong showing for the Warriors with a ninth-place time of 17:01. Zach Cockrill (17:31, 22nd), Austin Yoder (17:37, 26th) and Troy Carolus (17:55, 31st) completed the scoring spots for Wawasee.
“This was exactly the race plan for Reid on the guy’s side,” Stoffel said. “Reid had a great race. He lost a few places in the middle, but he had a great race. Adam Doll ran very strong for us tonight. Our pack was a little further back than what we wanted them to be.
“We ran well enough to get third tonight, but second I think is within our reach. I think Goshen is reachable, but we are going to have to step it up. The possibility to get out is there.”
The Elkhart Central Regional will begin at 9:30 a.m. Saturday with the top five teams and top 15 individuals from the Elkhart Central and South Bend Riley sectionals. The girls will race first, followed by the boys. The top five teams and top 15 individuals from this Saturday’s races will advance to the New Haven Semi-State on Oct. 20, run at IPFW.
Stoffel is just glad his kids live to race another day, but knows attention to detail will need to be paid if Wawasee wants to run in Fort Wayne.
“The goal for me all year long is to get both teams to semi-state,” Stoffel said. “The guys have been sixth at the sectionals the past two years, so they were a little nervous biting off the big bullet and not trying to get to semi-state, but reached its goal of getting out of sectionals.”
1. Northridge 24
2. Elkhart Memorial 60
3. Goshen 104
4. Wawasee 106
5. Concord 133
6. Fairfield 150
7. Elkhart Christian 212
8. NorthWood 212
9. Jimtown 236
10. Elkhart Central 250
Top 15 Girls Individuals
1. Olivia Golden, Northridge, 19:20
2. Sierra Moore, Elkhart Memorial, 19:29
3. Jennifer Schrock, Northridge, 19:35
4. Madie Royce, Northridge, 19:57
5. Kayla Casaletto, Elkhart Christian, 20:00
6. Mandy Campbell, Northridge, 20:03
7. Hailey Moore, Elkhart Memorial, 20:04
8. Breanna Robinson, Wawasee, 20:08
9. Adrienne Henke, Goshen, 20:12
10. Morgan Blyly, Northridge, 20:14
11. Taylor Stidham, Fairfield, 20:15
12. Brianna Eggleston, Northridge, 20:27
13. Haley Lehman, Elkhart Memorial, 20:38
14. Jen Slabaugh, Wawasee, 20:41
15. Vanessa Steiner, Concord, 20:41
1. Northridge 30
2. Goshen 52
3. Wawasee 93
4. Elkhart Central 117
5. Concord 136
6. Fairfield 168
7. NorthWood 187
8. Elkhart Memorial 244
9. Elkhart Christian 245
10. Jimtown 298
11. Bethany Christian 331
Top 15 Boys Individuals
1. Blake O’Dell, Northridge, 16:12
2. James Bradberry, Northridge, 16:15
3. Joel Hartman, Elkhart Christian, 16:29
4. Luke Kaufman, Goshen, 16:36
5. Reid Stichter, Wawasee, 16:38
6. Jacob Frost, Northridge, 16:45
7. Reid Zimmerman, Goshen, 16:52
8. Josh Abbs, Goshen, 17:00
9. Adam Doll, Wawasee, 17:01
10. Luke Riffell, Northridge, 17:05
11. Conner Sandt, Northridge, 17:06
12. Nate Miller, Fairfield, 17:09
13. Neel Patel, Northridge, 17:10
14. Henry Zelaya, Concord, 17:11
15. Adam Weeden, Goshen, 17:13