Wildcats keep state hopes alive

   MARION — Fresh off a championship at the Marion cross country sectional, the Whitko boys’ team returned to the same course for regional competition. The Wildcat boys put together a solid performance, highlighted by a second-place individual finish by Brian Menzie, to place third as a team, thereby qualifying for next Saturday’s New Haven semistate.
   The Wildcats, sectional winners last week, scored 80 points to take third behind Homestead, who won with 54 points and Huntington North who was second with a score of 75.
   Menzie, who won the individual sectional title, took second behind a course record run of 15:43 by Kodi Mullins of Homestead. Menzie ran a fine 15:46 for the runner-up spot. Trapper Mize crossed the finish line in 16:13 placing 11th to give the Wildcats another top 15 individual finish.
   The next Wildcat to cross the line was Jude Stieglitz, who came across in 16:39 placing 20th, two places ahead of Dallas Asher, who was 23rd. Asher ran 16:44 as the fourth-place Wildcat.
   Right behind Asher in 25th-place was Brody Wilson in a time of 16:49. Trent Walther in 42nd place in a time of 17:30 and Wade Eberly who placed 55th in 18:04 rounded out the scoring for the Wildcats.
   The competition at the regional was extremely close, with places five through nine being decided by only 14 points. Those 14 points spelled disappointment for the Columbia City boys’ team. Despite six of seven Eagle runners posting personal records, the Eagles finished ninth as a team with 177 points.
   Brenden Zoltek led the Eagles with a 13th place finish, crossing the line in 16:17. Adam Bernhard and David Potter were the next two Eagles to finish with Bernhard coming in 31st and Potter at 34th.
   Senior Trevor Maggart ran a personal best 17:39 in his final competition, placing 46th for the Eagles. Evan Harney, the Eagles No. 2 runner for most of the season placed 59th in 18:14, with Ben Fausey running 18:35 and Connor Slavicek recording a time of 18:38 to round out the Eagles’ efforts.