WARSAW – The Northern Lakes Conference season couldn’t have started better for Warsaw’s cross country teams. Warsaw won the boys duals against Plymouth 17-44 and against Wawasee 19-42 while Wawasee fell to Plymouth 33-26. The Warsaw girls beat Wawasee 19-40 and Plymouth 15-49, Wawasee beat Plymouth 17-45.
The Tiger girls continued to exhibit its tremendous depth, not running its top three athletes and still getting its top seven within the top 11 overall. Charlene Orr continued her torrid start to the season with the win going away at 20:11, 33 full seconds ahead of teammate and runner-up Emma Bohnenkamper at 20:44, both finishing in their career-best placings.
Taylor Gunter was fourth at 21:08 followed by Lauren Orr at 21:20 for fifth. Angie Vijil-Sanchez was seventh at 21:35.
Warsaw did not run Mia Beckham, Allison Miller or Anna Craig to allow for maintenance days to manage various physical needs.
“It really is a team here,” said Warsaw girls coach Matt Campbell. “When someone goes down with an injury or something, we have other girls who are ready to step up. I think some of the girls enjoyed being in the spotlight at the top of the sheet today. Really nice to see the girls step up and compete.”
Wawasee’s Elizabeth Zorn stayed with Orr and Bohnenkamper for much of the race, but settled for third at 20:53, with teammate McKenzie Smith sixth at 21:33 and Aubrey Kuhn eighth at 21:46. Lila Gregory (16, 22:59) and Katie Haines (19, 23:34) rounded out the Wawasee scores.
“This was an opportunity for our girls to step up knowing they didn’t have to chase Warsaw’s big guns,” said Wawasee girls coach Doug Slabaugh. “Zorn had a good race, mentally some stuff to work on, but it’s early in the season. Our top five still features a sophomore and two freshmen. So we’ve got a lot to learn, and Warsaw will expose things that we can work on.”
The boys race had Zeb Hernandez take honors with a 16:42, leading home a trio of Tigers at the top. Xavi Ramirez took second at 17:03 and Lucas Howett was third at 17:07. Kennis Dye (7, 18:30) and Nathaniel Gottschalk (8, 18:32) gave Warsaw its top five.
Wawasee had Spencer Hare take fourth at 17:31 and Luke Griner in sixth at 17:51, but gave up valuable spots to Plymouth in the next wave. The Pilgrims placed three in the top 11, then brought in its next two ahead of Wawasee’s No. 4, which was the difference. Wawasee did run without one of its aces, Sam Griner, due to illness, but Wawasee coach Chad Hoffert understood the gravity of a late August race.
Bennett Hoffert (15, 19:03), Thomas Conley (25, 19:44) and Brandon Kidd (37, 20:52) gave Wawasee its scoring lineup.
“This meet will tell us a little more of where we are at,” said Wawasee boys coach Chad Hoffert. “We don’t have a lot of depth right now. Our four through six runners don’t have a lot of experience so you never know what to expect from them. But our goal is to race for October, and this is step toward that. We’re not at the front of the race, but we have more chances to work our way up there.”
Warsaw and Wawasee will both compete in the Marion Invitational this Saturday.