CULVER – The Warsaw boys cross country team had a great chance Saturday to measure themselves against some of the state’s best teams.
It turned out to be a tough day for the Tigers.
No. 21 Warsaw ended up in 11th place in the Boys’ Elite Division of the Culver Academies Invitational.
The Tigers posted a team score of 303 to finish 11th among the 24 teams in their division. No. 1 Carmel won the team title with a score of 57, while No. 3 Columbus North as runner-up with an 85. No. 18 Northridge, who Warsaw defeated in head-to-head NLC action recently, was ninth with a 289.
“It was a pretty mediocre performance,” Warsaw coach Jim Mills told reporter Tim Creason of the LaPorte Herald-Argus Saturday.”We had one good race, and that was Tyler Houvner. I think the biggest problem was our two through five guys just got way too far back at the start. They just started out way too slow. We talked about it.”
“It’s a learning experience for our guys. Now they know what I told them all week.”
Senior Ellis Coon, who did not run last Saturday at the big New Prairie Invitational, had a tough go of it too. Coon, who helped Warsaw place fourth at the State Finals in 2012, was 20th overall in a time of 16:16.
“Yeah, they blistered that first K,” said Mills when asked about Coon and the top runners in the loaded field. “Maybe coming back after last week, he just wasn’t ready to go out that fast. I haven’t really talked to him.”
Tyler Houvener was 43rd overall in a time of 16:45 in a strong effort for the Tigers.
Nick Bergen finished in 74th place in a time of 17:03 for Warsaw. Owen Glogovsky was 79th in 17:06, followed by teammates Daniel Messenger in 89th (17:14), Jonathon Beres in 130th (17:40) and Jacob Adley in 149th (18:05).
Warsaw will return to the fast and flat course at Culver Academies to begin postseason action in the sectional there on Oct. 15. The regional will also be at Culver on Oct. 19 with the semi state on Oct. 26 at New Prairie.
Mills still has confidence in his squad and believes that they can bounce back come time for the “second” season.
“There’s a lot of good teams,” remarked Mills. “I still think we’re as good as any team at the semistate, but not if we run like we did today.
“We have to scratch and claw our way, now. Am I worried? No, I’m not worried right now, because we’ve already shown what we can do. But there’s a difference between practicing and racing.
“Hopefully, they’ve learned you’ve gotta get out.”
Senior Zach Panning of Fort Wayne Concordia took the boys’ elite race in a time of 15:26.
Warsaw completes its regular season versus NLC foes Concord and Plymouth Tuesday at Ox Bow Park. The Tigers are looking to finish undefeated in conference competition. The NLC Meet will then take place on Saturday, also at Ox Bow Park.