GREENFIELD — It was a record-setting Tuesday for Greenfield-Central’s cross-country teams at Cougarpalooza as four of the top five boys set personal bests and sophomore Sydney Cook broke a five-year-old school record.
The only runner in the Cougars’ top five that did not obtain a personal record was senior Zach Bishop, who won the race in 16:14. The meet at Brandywine Park featured 10 teams, including a tough Warren Central squad.
However, Greenfield-Central’s boys were able to place five runners in the top 12 to take first with 22 points. Warren Central was second with 53, and Scecina Memorial finished third (113).
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“It’s more important to me that my team won,” Bishop said. “It was pretty awesome. I was trying to focus on what was in front of me and chase that down.”
And that’s exactly what he did. Bishop, who qualified for the semistate in 2014, trailed Warren Central’s Chance Thompson to begin the race. But after the lead group went behind the baseball diamonds at Brandywine Park, Bishop emerged in first at the 1.5 mile-marker.
From there, he built nearly a minute lead over Thompson, who finished fifth in 17:12.
“Definitely, a great race for him (Bishop),” Greenfield-Central boys coach Aaron Smith said. “He’s had a great four years here but is not done yet. We’re looking for bigger things from him. He was by himself today. When he has competition, our next goal for him is to drop under 16 minutes.
“It’s a lot harder to build speed than endurance, and he’s got endurance.”
Juniors Jacob Hanson and Tyler Morris finished a close second and third, respectively, for the Cougars in 16:36.67 and 16:36.94.
Sophomore teammate Cooper Hanson was fourth in 17:03, and freshman Parker Niemeier rounded out Greenfield-Central’s scoring with a 12th-place finish in 17:41.
On Senior Night, senior Tommy Hembree finished 13th behind Niemeier in 17:46.
“We’ve put in a lot of time,” Smith said. “Our top guys are really dedicated. We’re excited about how everyone ran tonight. It’s a good night for them (seniors).”
Sophomore sets record
In the girls race, sophomore Sydney Cook led Greenfield-Central with a third-place finish in 19:44.37 — a new school record.She broke Kara Purvis’ record of 20 minutes flat set in 2010. Overall, the Cougars finished third (37) behind Roncalli (54) and Warren Central (35).
“I think it just shows the future to come,” Cook said. “I want to get to state, and this is bringing me closer to my goal.”
Entering Tuesday’s meet, Cook, who has raced against Warren Central twice this season, had one simple goal: stay with the Warriors’ No. 2 runner.
Unfortunately, an early kick from Cook allowed Warren Central’s Jessie Wells to claim second in 19:43.61.
“I had a feeling coming in that she could run with Warren’s (Central) No. 2,” Greenfield-Central girls coach Scott Burton said. “She couldn’t hold her off. The course ran fast today.”
Cook and the team qualified for regional competition in 2014. Burton said this race will help give the girls, and Cook specifically, more drive moving forward.
“It’s a chance for her to build some confidence and see that she can run with that type of competition,” he said.
Also for the Cougars, freshman Sarah Muckerheide finished 14th in 22:06, while junior Rebekah Gottwald placed 18th in 22:27.
Another freshman, Brenna Ditto, came in 24th in 23:08, and junior Brianna Cass rounded out Greenfield-Central’s scoring with a 26th-place finish in 23:19.
With numbers in the program down, the Cougars have only two seniors this season. One of them, Shelby Bowmer, who joined the team to help with track in the spring, finished 47th in 26:55.
“She’s really improved this year over the last couple seasons,” Burton said.
And the other, Nikki Stephenson, is out due to injury, Burton said.
Boys medalists (Top 5)
1. Zach Bishop, Greenfield-Central, 16:14
2. Jacob Hansen, Greenfield-Central, 16:36.67
3. Tyler Morris, Greenfield-Central, 16:36.94
4. Cooper Hanson, Greenfield-Central, 17:03
5. Chance Thompson, Warren Central, 17:12
Girls medalists (Top 5)
1. Jamie Wells, Warren Central, 18:55
2. Jessie Wells, Warren Central, 19:43
3. Sydney Cook, Greenfield-Central, 19:44
4. De’Andra Bigbee, Warren Central, 20:01
5. Jacqueline Kennedy, Scecina Memorial, 20:29