By Mike Deak
WARSAW – Those with long memories will just assume Warsaw will continue asserting itself, if only because it has for nearly a decade. Those with very short memories wonder if Culver Academy can spoil some of the cross country reign the Tigers have maintained.
Warsaw comes into the 2020 Logansport Cross Country Regional winners of seven straight girls titles and eight straight boys crowns. But Culver Academy nearly stole the show last weekend with the two girls sides tying at 41 and needing to go to a sixth-woman tiebreaker, which Warsaw’s Adree Beckham’s 15th place run did the trick.
The two will go back to battle again this weekend, but also adding in a very strong Winamac side, winner of the Logansport sectional, that will likely toss in some place stealers in the top 20. To which those places were vital for Warsaw a week ago at Manchester.
Otherwise not much should change near the top. Warsaw had four of its top five place in the top 10, led by Wini Barnett and closely chased by Regan Brouwer, Erika Bugg and Ava Knight. Culver’s Alexis Allen, barring any setbacks, should again be the cream of the crop, having won the Manchester title by a full minute at 18:35, with Northwestern’s Hannah Moore coming in as the Logansport champion at 19:19.
The Tiger boys could get a challenge from Western, but should be in good shape to continue its regional title streak, to which it has won every time since joining the Logansport/Culver group in 2012. Western went 1-2-5-6-7 to dominate at Logansport, with Brayden Curnutt and Joseph Packard at the top of the list with a 16:46 and 16:47. Warsaw saw Jacob Kissling win the Manchester sectional at 16:28, 10 seconds clear of Culver’s Samuel Tullis.
Warsaw landed all five of its runners in the top 10, and another week of experience should help the likes of Garrett Hall and Tanner Stiver keep pace with Kissling, Harrison Phipps and Sam Lechlitner.
Individually, Tippecanoe Valley and Triton will send a handful of individuals to Logansport. Triton has four active in Jocelynn Faulkner, Anela Hill, Brandon Kitch and Tyler Gladieux while Valley has five in Chesnee Miller, Ella Myers, Chase Miller, Evan Myers and Matthew Howes.
Moving north to Ox Bow Park and the Elkhart Regional, NorthWood finished third in both tables at the Elkhart sectional. But with the likes of Penn – champion of both sectional races at Erskine – along with South Bend St. Joe and strong teams in Riley’s girls and Mishawaka’s boys, there are no guarantees. Also adding in Northridge and Goshen on both sides, plus a loaded Elkhart girls team, and NorthWood will have to figure a way to draw its packs closer together with its leaders if it wants to head to New Haven for the semi-state as a collective.
Leading the way for the Panthers are Kaitlin Burden and Brady Hunsberger, Burden second at the Elkhart sectional with a 20:03 and Hunsberger fifth at 16:55. The Panther boys will need a faster showing from Grady Stevenson, Jordan Burden, Owen Allen, Eric Hochstetler and Sam Schlatter, and the Lady Panthers from Reese Barhydt, Emilie Allen, Jenna Markham and Sydney Prenkert.
Wawasee will send five total runners to the regional, with the hopes of Karlson Hand and Camden Powell on the boys side, as well as Emma Ebright, Lily Tyler and Mariah Hurst on the girls side intending on grabbing advancing spots among the top 15 non-advancing team runners.