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Maconaquah girls win Logansport Cross Country Sectional

BY TRENT SCOTT - tscott@perutribune.com

LOGANSPORT – The runner-up spot was a purgatory of sorts for Maconaquah in the big girls’ cross country races the past three years.

After winning the Logansport sectional in 2014, the Braves saw themselves stuck in second place at the next five conference and sectional meets heading into Saturday’s sectional race.

Maconaquah would not be denied a title this year, however, with three runners finishing inside the top-10 and all five scorers inside the top-20 to win the IHSAA Girls’ Cross Country Logansport Sectional title ahead of Western 46-58.

Going along with the Braves to next week’s Culver Military Academy regional are seven other individual runners from the boys’ and girls’ races at Logansport and three more from the Culver Military Academy sectional.

Maconaquah girls head coach Allen Sayger noted that the girls did their thing and took home a title as a result.

“The girls have been very consistent all year long,” Sayger said. “They have been dropping times every race and they’re doing exactly what they’ve done all season long.

“We told the girls the day was not about pace but about place. The conditions were windy and overall times were slow but despite that, Madison (Winegardner) broke the school record again by nine seconds.

“Our girls beat Western’s pack and that was enough to take care of business today,” Sayger added.

Winegardner led the Braves’ charge with a second-place finish behind sectional winner Miah Martin of Lewis Cass, crossing in 19:24.

Haley Wimmer was second across the line for Maconaquah, finishing fifth in 21:02, followed by Karli Miller in seventh place in 21:09.

Bailey Hays finished 15th at 22:14 while Haley Salinas rounded at the team scoring with a 19th-place finish to set the Braves on course for the team title. Betsy Powell finished the race in 25:45 while Jeana Friedersdorf came in at 28:51.

Sayger pointed to each of the five scorers for having big efforts in a big meet.

“Bailey was sick all day (Friday),” Sayger noted. “We didn’t tell the girls that but she was on the bus and made things happen.

“Credit has to go to all top-five runners on their races. Having two freshmen in the top five runners, even without having the experience of a post-season experience, was vital.

“Every one of the girls stepped up today when it mattered,” Sayger added.

Peru, without enough runners to qualify for a team score, advanced three of its four girls to the regional, starting with Jaelin Richardson, who finished 14th overall in 22:12.

Freshmen Mya Lancaster and Sadie Carter finished back-to-back in 23rd and 24th-place at 23:16 and 23:21 respectively while teammate Jazzmyan Bayless finished in 25:26.

Peru girls’ head coach Mike Herrell was very happy for the three advancing runners while a bit saddened about Bayless ending her cross country racing days for the Tigers at the meet.

“They all ran well,” Herrell said. “They didn’t have to do anything special, just do what they normally do all years and they’d have an opportunity to advance.

“It was unfortunate race for Jazzmyan as we understand she tripped in the woods, which put her behind a little bit. It is a surprise that both freshmen are out as we didn’t know that Mya was going to run cross country this year and didn’t meet Sadie until the first day of practice.

“We’re very happy for Jaelin to advance,” Herrell added. “We know that wasn’t her goal this year as she wants to go another level beyond next week and we’ll do what we can to get her out to the semi-state.”

The boys’ race was not as great for Maconaquah or Peru as the schools finished seventh and eighth respectively on 169 and 175 team points.

Logansport won the boys’ race on 62 points, followed by Western on 68 while Lewis Cass made it a sweep of race winners with Scott Bailey claiming first place.

Peru’s Adam Garner was not far behind, finishing third overall in 17:52 while Braxton Jimenez crossed in seventh place at 18:08, finishes that saw both racers advance to the regional.

The next runner in for the Tigers was Alex Legg in 38th place at 19:33. Jacob Black crossed in 21:35, followed by Treydon Curtis in 21:38, Nathan Moore in 22:19 and David Schulte at 23:25.

Peru boys’ head coach Rob Hileman said he was happy with the effort of the runners and was pleased with Jimenez’s big race.

“It was a little bit later start than we’ve had all year and it was very windy but it’s still sectional,” Hileman said. “Everybody runs a little harder because there’s a lot on the line with everyone looking to extend their season or go home.

“We were pleased with the seven guys who ran today. We were sure Adam would have a good meet but we talked with Braxton all week about where he might finish.

“We had some targets set up for the race and not only did he find those targets but he surpassed them,” Hileman added.

Maconaquah was paced by Caleb Winegardner, who finished 14th in 18:23, and Sam Bourne, who was 20th overall in 18:45, with both runners advancing to the regional.

Jacob Edwards was next to cross in 37th place at 19:33, followed by Fletcher Williams in 19:54, Evan Baldwin in 20:25, Jordan Edgington in 20:28 and Billy Miles in 20:35.

Maconaquah boys’ head coach Chris Edgington said the runners didn’t click at the wrong time.

“We didn’t do well,” Edgington said. “We had a lot of guys that didn’t show up.

“Sometimes the best run isn’t always the same from race-to-race. A couple of runners were a bit overconfident while a couple of others were feeling ill but overall, it wasn’t our day.”

At the Culver Military Academy sectional, North Miami managed to get two runners out in the girls’ race and a third from the boys’ race but were denied two additional runners.

The girls finished seventh overall on 156 team points. Warsaw smashed the completion to win the meet on 35 points with Mia Beckham winning the race for the Tigers.

Nicky Scher finished third overall in 20:43 while Kaylee Lane finished 20th in 22:56, results that saw both advance to the regional. Alyssa Ramsell crossed in 25:26 and Nichole Eccles finished in 28:37.

Allie Smith finished 39th overall in 25:19 but was the 11th runner to cross on a team that did not place in the top-five.

It was a fate also shared by Ethan Butcher in the boys’ race, who finished 42nd overall but seven second behind the final advancing individual runner, Triton’s Russell Reichard.

Warsaw again won the team title with 34 points while Caston’s Mitchell Rans cruised to an individual title.

North Miami finished eighth on 233 team points with Malachi Sanderson advancing to the regional, finishing in 33rd place at 19:38.

After Butcher came Kasey Deardorff in 20:27, followed by Auston Hileman in 21:09, Daniel Madden in 22:57 and Kenny Wilkinson in 23:21.