PENDLETON — The Pendleton Heights Arabians had the depth, but Mt. Vernon’s Christian Noble controlled the clock.
Noble jumped out fast and was never challenged, winning the Arabians Roundup at Pendleton Heights High School in 15 minutes, 38.18 seconds Wednesday.
As has been the routine for the defending Hancock County champions, senior Aaron Rush followed his classmate with a runner-up finish at 16:27.43.
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The Marauders had three runners place in the top 10, five in the top 25 and seven in the top 30. Brandt True was eighth in 17:13.15.
The Arabians, however, led by Parker Jones (16:42.35) in third, had six competitors run to top 25 placements with five in the top 15. Pendleton Heights won the team trophy with 41 points compared to Mt. Vernon’s 54.
“Pendleton (Heights) beat us in the middle with depth. The fifth guy was considerably ahead,” Mt. Vernon head coach Bruce Kendall said. “This is how it’s going to play out over and over.”
The Mt. Vernon girls were 10th as fourth-ranked Pendleton Heights ran to the team championship with 35 points. The New Palestine girls were fifth behind a strong 20th finish by Sarah Schwartz in 21:10.74.
The New Palestine boys took third with Samuel Voelz fourth overall and three runners in the top 25. Chase Crowder was 10th (17:24.99) and Kyler Harrison was 21st (17:56.59).
Winning the Pendleton Heights Sectional last season, the Marauders came into the event ranked 18th in the state by hoosierxc.com. The Arabians were 23rd.
Mt. Vernon ran this past Saturday at the Bloomington North Invitational on the IHSAA state championship course where they placed fourth out of 18 teams. Noble won the event in 15:50 and Rush was second at 16:01.
“(Christian) is kind of picking up where he left off last spring,” Kendall said. “He’s probably more confident. This is his first real summer he’s ever really been able to train. The past two, he came off some brutal track (wear), so he just couldn’t do it.
“His stride is so long, so you can’t run next to him and develop any rhythm, but it’s August. October, yes. August, it’s August.”
The boys team (and girls) run again this Saturday at Noblesville, so runner-up at Pendleton Heights didn’t change their approach to a busy week.
“There’s no need for them to run any faster with a race on Saturday,” Kendall said. “Three races in eight days. In cross-country you don’t do that. We’re treating this Saturday like a practice. The meet today was to get the girls on the sectional course.”
Erin Lyday (22:25.33) and Chelsea Foster (22:25.90) paced the girls team at 28th and 29th, respectively.
New Palestine’s Mattie Waggoner was 29th at 22:10.38.
Voelz, who was coming off a tendinitis and Achilles injury this past spring, which sidelined the junior until late summer, ran at a pace of 5:26. He battled with Jones behind Rush and Noble down the stretch. He was only two seconds off Jones’ pace and five seconds overall.
“I was happy with my run since this was only my second race back,” said Voelz, who also will run at Noblesville on Saturday. “I’m glad to back. I knew it was going to be a four-man race. I didn’t expect Noble to shoot out of a cannon like he did, but I give him props. He’s running well and has continued to do it.”