By Mike Deak
WARSAW – Round one painted the picture. Round two added the highlights. Northridge and Warsaw will look to frame the masterpiece in two weeks after waging another war Wednesday evening on the girls cross country circuit.
Round two of the Northern Lakes Conference Cross Country Super Duals was delayed a day because of lightning, but the extra 24 hours didn’t separate Northridge and Warsaw a bit. After slipping past Warsaw in round one at Ox Bow in August, Northridge did almost the exact same thing on the Warsaw course, beating the Tigers 28-29.
While Warsaw had the better overall numbers in getting its seven runners home, led by race winner Joey Rastrelli’s 18:49, Northridge did a better job with its frontline. Northridge had the second, third, sixth and seventh place times, with Warsaw’s fourth time in 10th overall. Warsaw’s five, Ava Knight, was 12th overall, better than Ridge’s Ella Hoefer in 17th, but it was the overload at the top that gave the Raiders another 7-0 finish Wednesday and a 14-0 record heading into the final race on Oct. 2 back at Ox Bow. Warsaw will take a 12-2 mark into the final, needing to beat Northridge head-to-head to salvage any NLC hardware.
Times and places for Warsaw behind Rastrelli were Wini Barnett in fifth at 19:51, followed by Elizabeth Vander Bie (9, 20:13), Mikayla Mimnaugh (10, 20:17) and Knight (12, 20:20).
Haylie Hile (19:21) and Tame Baylis (19:32) were at the top of the triangle for the Raiders.
NorthWood ran well in defeating everyone but the Raiders and Tigers. Kaitlin Burden ran among the leaders, finishing in fourth overall at 19:37, and Emilie Allen worked with the lead group before settling for 14th at 20:46. Scoring for the Panthers included Savanah Slone (30, 22:09), Emma Davidhizar (36, 22:38) and Bridgette Stutsman (39, 22:53).
Wawasee, running severely shorthanded, still managed to beat both Concord and Goshen in the aggregate to salvage part of its day. Jasmine Henderson led the Warriors with a 22:04 to place 26th in a very tight bunch of runners to come home. Mariah Hurst (34, 22:39), Trinity LaJoice (37, 22:39), Lily Tyler (38, 22:42) and Jordan Gibbs (82, 26:50) were Wawasee’s top five.