WARSAW – Ellis Coon helped christen the new Warsaw cross country course in style Tuesday.
The senior star won the inaugural boys race on the new layout at WCHS in pacing his team to the championship of the Tiger Classic.
Coon, who missed most of track season in the spring due to a foot injury, looked healthy and happy Tuesday. He covered the course in a top time of 16:24 as the No. 16 hosts posted a team score of 31 to easily top runner-up Huntington North (66).
Coon is the top man back for coach Jim Mills’ team that features a much different look this fall. Gone are standouts Jake Poyner (now at Wake Forest) and Robert Murphy (Vincennes) from last year’s team that placed fourth at the State Finals. The Tigers also had a handful of runners decide not to come out this season.
“I’m feeling good and it’s nice to run here in front of so many people that you know,” said Coon. “It’s also nice for us to win today and to show people that we have good guys on this team who want to learn and be part of something special.”
Coon opened the season by winning at the Huntington North Invitational Aug. 24 as the Tigers took second place.
“I think I’m where I need to be right now,” Coon said of his return from the injury. “I’ve felt in control the whole time in the two races so far. The goal today was to make sure the guys were on pace through 3K and then track down the leader and go for the win.
“I’ve got high hopes for myself this season and any pressure is internal. This is important to me and to a lot of others who have helped me. I’m excited about this Saturday when we run at Marion. We’re going to run harder and try for personal bests. That will tell me a lot about where I’m at.”
Mills knows he has quite the special one in Coon.
“I have no concern about Ellis,” said Mills. “He’s ready to rock, no question about it. He ran a 15:49 at Huntington in the first meet. He’s ready. He’s one of the top five runners in the state.
“We’ve got a good group to complement him. It’s just that we’re thin. Having five guys not come out hurt us bad. But, you live with what you’ve got and we have guys that are capable.
“This is a good start for our new course, which is a great luxury to have here at the high school now. We had four guys up there with great times tonight.”
Sophomore Owen Glogovsky, who ran at State last year, placed fourth overall for Warsaw in 16:36. Right behind him was senior Tyler Houvener in fifth place in a time of 16:43 and junior Daniel Messenger in sixth in 16:44. Junior Nick Bergen, who has been sick according to Mills, completed the team scoring with a 15th place finish in 17:31.
Warsaw won the team title with its score of 31. Huntington North was second at 66, followed by Fairfield (111), Columbia City (116), Northfield (120), NorthWood (124), Angola (169), Wabash (225), Tippecanoe Valley (253), Whitko (260) and South Bend Career Academy (349).
Junior Derek Miller led Whitko with a 39th place overall finish in the competition with a time of 18:23.
Senior Brandon Maull was the top finisher for Valley, clocking in at 18:29 to place 44th overall.
The Tigers also had Jonathon Beres in 19th place in a time of 17:41 and TJ Day in 26th in a time of 17:55 to complete its top seven runners.
Avery Torres was 31st (18:09) for Warsaw, followed by teammates, Jacob Adley in 41st (18:27), Ryan Goon in 42nd (18:29), Nick Adams in 44th (18:34), Aaron Haller in 55th (19:10), Eric Cusick in 58th (19:16), Rozen Kunkle in 63rd (19:35), Zach Taylor in 65th (19:38), Ethan Cook in 73rd (19:49), Evan Hansen in 75th (19:53), Eric Jagger in 79th (20:01), Curtis Rider in 80th (20:02), Trent Shepherd in 93rd (20:26), Connor Hershberger in 106th (20:57), Shane Powers in 107th (20:59), Trent Thompson in 11th (21:08), Colton Andrews in 112th (21:13), Mac Pelo in 114th (21:17), Nathan Miller in 117th (21:26), Nate Mills in 122nd (21:33), Griffin Roark in 132nd (22:09), Michael Blue in 138th (22:32), Nicolas Hawn in 147th (23:44), Caleb Remocaldo in 152nd (24:13) and Luke Junker in 160th (30:20).
Tippecanoe Valley had Jesse Floor in 54th in a time of 19:06, followed by teammates Noah Clampitt in 82nd (20:06), Mark Hicks in 89th (20:21), Tom Solano in 102nd (20:45), Jared Mikel in 116th (21:24), Tyler Ross in 124th (21:34), Devin Childers in 143rd (23:00), Andy Herrera in 155th (26:02) and Tarek Moussa in 162nd (30:50).
For Whitko, Josh Wright was 57th overall in a time of 19:15 with Lane Wolf 70th (19:44), Brayton Myers 99th (20:36), Cole Eberly 126th (21:44) and Nicolas Crosson 132nd (22:09).
Warsaw competes Saturday in the Marion Invitational.