By Mike Deak
NAPPANEE – It’s a whole new look for 2020, but the Northern Lakes Conference cross country tables look eerily similar to 2019.
In a rewired version of the cross country season in only a way 2020 could present, the NLC is using a modified version of its schedule to determine its winners this year. Round one of the schedule took place Tuesday evening at Callander Sportsplex.
The entirety of the NLC’s boys and girls varsity teams raced at once, followed by their junior varsity compliments around NorthWood’s home course. The physical running of the race was carried on like an invitational, but the scoring was then broken down as a mega dual, where all the teams were scored against one-another. The points were then factored into team standings after the first of two legs, which Tuesday’s results will compromise 25 percent of the total points for the season.
In short, Goshen’s boys and Warsaw’s girls finished the day 7-0 against its NLC counterparts, the first of two regular season meets. The second meet will take place Sept. 15 at Warsaw. The NLC Championships, which will weigh the other 50 percent of the scoring, takes place Oct. 3 at OxBow Park in Elkhart.
For the boys, the No. 8-ranked Goshen squad had the top three runners on the day, with Drew Hogan (16:29), Tommy Claxton (16:34) and Cole Johnson (16:42) putting Goshen in prime position. Warsaw countered with Jacob Kissling (16:57) and Tanner Stiver (16:59) crossing the line next, with Harrison Phipps (17:21, 10th), Sam Lechlitner (17:25, 11th) and Luke Nier (17:46, 20th) all scorers for the Tigers.
The RedHawks had Adrian Mora (17:39, 16th) and Ryan Diaz Perales (17:47, 21st) serve as its fourth and fifth scorers. Head-to-head, the score went 24-31 in favor of Goshen over Warsaw, which put the RedHawks in command of round one.
No. 21-ranked Warsaw sits second at 6-1, followed by Northridge at 5-2, NorthWood at 4-3, Concord at 3-4, Plymouth at 2-5, Mishawaka at 1-6 and Wawasee at 0-7.
The Panthers beat Concord, Plymouth, Mishawaka and Wawasee on the day and ran primarily in a pack. Brady Hunsberger came in at 17:30 and was followed closely by Jordan Burden (17:37), Owen Allen (17:39), Eric Hochstetler (17:45) and Grady Stevenson (17:59).
The Warriors fell behind the frontrunners. Karlson Hand and Camden Powell led the team with matching 18:39s for 44th and 45th overall, followed by Senate Shaw (19:31), Josiah Boyer (19:46) and Dominic Speybroeck (20:11).
The girls had Warsaw run the table in round one, finding itself in a similar battle as in year’s past with Northridge. The Raiders’ Hayley Hile caught NorthWood’s Kaitlin Burden on the second leg of the woods portion of the course and claimed the lead, keeping enough distance between her and Saturday’s NorthWood Invite champion Burden to win the race at 20:04 to Burden’s 20:21.
Warsaw, however, was lurking behind in bunches. Wini Barnett was fifth at 20:52, and had teammates Ava Knight (21:12) and Regan Brouwer (21:21), coming home right behind her. Elizabeth Vander Bie (21:36, 11th) and Amanda Lusinde (21:49, 12th) gave the Tigers enough points to counter Tame Baylis (20:51, 4th), Clare Ritchie (21:21, 8th), Emma Long (22:09, 16th) and Ella Hoefer (22:36, 20th). Warsaw would beat Northridge head-to-head 27-32.
No. 20-ranked Northridge sits second at 6-1, followed by Mishawaka (5-2), NorthWood (4-3), Goshen, Wawasee and Concord all at 2-5, and Plymouth at 0-7.
NorthWood had Burden lead the team, followed by Reese Barhydt (22:37), Emilie Allen (22:52), Jenna Markham (23:37) and Savannah Stone (24:35).
Wawasee was led by Emma Ebright (23:07, 27th) and then Mariah Hurst (23:46), Lily Tyler (24:05), Ella Beezley (24:11) and Autumn Turner (24:38).