CCHS, 'Busco move runners on to regional

Whitko's Zack Freel led the Wildcats with a 62nd place finish
Mark Parker
Staff Writer

FORT WAYNE – The first leg of the IHSAA cross-country state tournament took place Saturday, with Columbia City and Whitko boys and girls competing at the Fort Wayne Northrop Sectional and Churubusco participating in the sectional at West Noble.
Each of the Whitley County teams met with a measure of success. For Columbia City and Churubusco it was an increase of the number of runners advancing to regional competition next Saturday. For an improving Whitko program it was fielding a full team on both the boys and girls sides of the ledger.
With the top five teams advancing full teams, Columbia City’s boys and girls and Churubusco’s girls teams finished just short placing fifth.
In the boys sectional at Northrop, Homestead placed first with 48 points. Concordia (71) was second, Carroll (79) took third, Snider (81) was fourth, and Northrop (142) was fifth. The Eagle boys were sixth with 147 points, with Dwenger, Leo, Blackhawk Christian, North Side and Garrett taking the next five spots.  Whitko’s boys came next, followed by Lakewood Park Christian.
Columbia City’s boys advanced three runners to regional competition, up from two last season, led by Landon Wakeman’s seventh-place finish. Wakeman finished with a time of 16:57. Columbia City’s Nathan Mills also qualified, placing 14th with a time of 17:21. Also qualifiying for the Eagles was Nicholas Mills, finishing 33rd with a time of 18:05. Also competing for the Eagles were Reece Spencer (45th), Austin Hall (48th), Wes Story (61st) and Ian Harrold (69th).
Whitko’s boys were led by Zack Freel in 62nd place, finishing with a time of 19:56. Freel was followed by Jacob Porter who finished 76th in 22:00. Jacob Stratton (77th), Gavyn Alexander (81st) and Caden Compton (82nd) rounded out the scoring for the Wildcats.
In the girls race, Carroll took first place with 24 points, with Homestead second with 50, Dwenger (76) took third, with Leo (134) fourth and Concordia (143) fifth. Columbia City took sixth with 178 points, followed by Northrop, Garrett, North Side and Snider. Whitko was 11th followed by Blackhawk Christian and Lakewood Park Christian.
The Lady Eagles qualified two runners as individuals. Lillie Oddou led the Lady Eagles with a 23rd place finish, crossing the line with a time of 21:24. Lillie’s sister Eden Oddou was the other regional qualifier for the Lady Eagles finishing 27th with a time of 21:39. Others competing for the Lady Eagles included Karris Sigler in 39th, Jaslyn Cook (43rd), Allyson Willson (46th), Caroline Shelton (52nd) and Hailey Whiteleather, who finished 57th.
Lily Spurlin led the Whitko Lady Wildcats, finishing 54th with a time of 24:00. Spurlin was followed by Amaya Norman in 68th with a time of 26:53. Elizabeth Foutz placed 72, with Amanda Leppek right behind in 73rd. Laura Jackson (75th) and Zoe Foutz (76th) filled out the roster for the Lady Wildcats.
At West Noble, the Churubusco boys placed seventh on a tie-breaker, with Westview (30) taking first, with West Noble (47) second, DeKalb third with 109, East Noble (118) fourth and Angola fifth with 1222 points.
Churubusco and Fremont tied, with each team scoring 180 points. Fremont took sixth based on the sixth runner’s placing. Eastside and Hamilton rounded out the field.
Churubusco’s boys send four runners onto regional competition led by Sam Keily who placed 19th with a time of 17:36. Levi Skinner also qualified with a 32nd place finish in 18:59. Eli Lantz and Shawn Prater also qualified. Lantz placed 33rd in 19:01 and Prater took 36th, finishing in 19:11.
Others participating for the Eagle boys included Bryce Kolvoord (53rd), Kyle Brandt (58th) and Dylan Stroder placing 59th.
In the girls race at West Noble, host West Noble took first with 59 points, followed by East Noble with 68, Angola with 81, DeKalb with 94 and Westview with 95. The Churubusco girls placed sixth with 179 points, followed by Fremont, Prairie Heights, Lakeland and Central Noble.
Churubusco’s Katie Graft and Jamie Zeigler both qualified for regional competition. Graft placed 20th with a time of 22:25, while Zeigler placed 36th in 23:42.
Also competing for the Lady Eagles were Kaitlynne Gaerte, who placed 39th, Allie Basinger 944th), Maggie Burita (48th), Cara Debolt (56th) and Katelynn Schuman in 61st.
All those qualifying for regional competition will run at the West Noble regional on Saturday with racing beginning at 10:30 a.m.