WARSAW – Life was even keel to, well, midseason form for those around the Warsaw boys and girls cross country programs. The girls from Tiger Town rolled to another Warsaw Cross Country Invitational, while the Warsaw boys were edged by Homestead.
Matt Campbell’s girls team looked like they had been running all summer in heavy competition, whipping everyone with just 28 points, taking three of the top four spots in the race. Mia Beckham and Allison Miller went one-two in a repeat performance of so many of their races over the years. Beckham won going away at 19:11 with Miller trailing at 19:24, able to break away from Manchester’s Rae Bedke (19:35) and a hard-charging Anna Craig of Warsaw coming home at 19:40.
Charlene Orr (7, 19:56) and Emma Bohnenkamper (14, 20:41) gave Warsaw its top five times, with its next five runners landing inside the top 25.
“The future looks bright,” Campbell said. “We are young. Anna, Alli (Miller) and the Orr sisters (Charlene and Lauren) are seniors, but we are just going to keep reloading. We have a lot of young talent that are just figuring it out. I’d say the next few years should be fun.”
Columbia City was second at 68 and Rochester third at 99 in the 10-team standings. Tippecanoe Valley was 10th in the standings, with its best finish by Haley Hoover, 108th overall at 26:02. Whitko had just four runners to finish outside the team scores, its top runner Hanna Yohe, 66th overall at 24:07.
The Warsaw boys had three near the top of the standings, but had its pack fall behind while Homestead clogged the second wave of runners. The Spartans scored 60 points, putting all five of its scorers in the top 18 while Warsaw’s 69 points had three in the top nine, but its next two 26th and 29th overall.
Warsaw’s Zeb Hernandez burst out in front for a good portion of the first half of the race, pacing with Rochester’s Thomas Rohr. As the two came down the final 500 meters, Rohr pulled away for the win at 16:11 while Hernandez, experiencing some discomfort in his foot with a cleat issue, was second at 16:35. The race for third had Warsaw’s Lucas Howett outsprint Ryan Ruppert of Homestead to the line at 16:44.
Xavi Ramirez gave Warsaw its third runner in the top 10, taking ninth at 17:01. But Taylor Mills (26, 18:11) and Nathaniel Gottschalk (29, 18:34) rounded out the Tiger scores while Homestead put its fifth score at 18th, and had all seven of its top runners inside the top 22.
“We know we are a work in progress, we knew that before the season started,” said Warsaw boys coach Jim Mills. “We know we have three quality up front.
“I think we’ll be pretty good when it counts. But right now, we’re just OK. With three guys you can’t get very far. For us, it’s who is going to step up in the next month. Decide they want to be a top-seven runner on our team.”
Tippecanoe Valley was 11th of 11 teams with 336 points, its top effort coming from Justin Peconga (116, 21:20) and Whitko didn’t have a full team, its top time from Logan Busz in 45th at 19:09.