NEW PALESTINE — The Pendleton Heights Arabians swept the team titles Saturday, but several Hancock County runners made their presence known during the 2015 Hoosier Heritage Conference Cross Country Meet.
A total of 13 county runners earned all-conference honors at New Palestine High School while Mt. Vernon’s Christian Noble finished first in the boys race to propel the Marauders to a runner-up team placement.
Mt. Vernon scored 60 team points compared to Pendleton Heights’ 37, and had five runners in the top 25 and three in the top 15 in the final tune-up before sectional this week.
Greenfield-Central was third with 77, led by Zach Bishop’s fourth-place run at 16 minutes, 44.3 seconds. Only one of the Cougars’ top-five runners fell outside of the top 20.
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Jacob Hansen (17:13), Tyler Morris (17:20.4) and Parker Neimeier (17:51.4) were eighth, 10th and 19th, respectively.
The New Palestine girls (95) were second to eighth-ranked Pendleton Heights (16), which claimed the race’s top four individual spots and had five runners in the top six.
“We knew Pendleton Heights was a strong team. They’re a probably a top-10 team in the state, so we sort of came in focusing on doing what we knew we could do,” New Palestine head coach Chuck Myers said. “Delta and Yorktown are good teams as well, so we sort of ran at those two. We did a great job.”
Yorktown was third at 103, and Delta took fourth at 105.
The defending county champion Dragons were paced by freshman Grace Voelz, who added an all-conference seventh-place finish to her runner-up showing at county in her first season.
“She’s a very good runner. She works really hard. We only get her for one practice a week because she also plays soccer,” Myers said. “She’s a talented athlete.”
Voelz posted a time of 20:27.3 to improve upon her 21:18 run at county last month on the same course.
Dragons teammate Sarah Schwartz secured her all-conference designation with a 12th-place run in 20:59.7, which bested her 21:31 at county.
Greenfield-Central’s Sydney Cook, who won county in 21:03, cut her time to 20:27.9 to place eighth at conference.
Mt. Vernon’s Chelsea Foster made the all-conference team with a 17th-place finish in 21:26.4. The Marauders were sixth as a team.
Noble (15:54.3) was untouchable for the Marauders, crossing the finish line nearly 30 seconds ahead of Pendleton Heights’ Parker Jones (16:23.3).
Gearing up for the postseason, the senior chopped 27 seconds off his time from county (16:21) after losing his first race of the season the week prior.
Homestead’s Brayden Law (15:18.4) edged past Noble (15:26.45) during the New Haven Invitational at IPFW. Law, a senior, placed 13th at state last year. Noble was 16th at the state finals.
“I knew it was going to happen eventually. It was an eye-opener,” Noble remarked on the loss. “It’s better now then in semistate or something.”
“This meet is kind of like county,” he added. “We’re not really training for it. It’s all about the big picture. It wasn’t really about times or anything. It’s about getting us ready for the postseason.”
Aaron Rush was in postseason form, racing to a third-place time of 16:43.7 at conference, jumping two spots down the stretch.
“He had a fantastic ending,” Noble said. “I turned around and he looked like he was fourth or fifth behind Zach Bishop and another runner. He came back and got them in the last 10 meters. That was a really good finish for him and us. That was awesome.”
Brian Bozymski joined Noble and Rush on the all-conference team with a 13th-place time of 17:31.7. The Marauders go to Pendleton Heights for sectional this upcoming weekend. The host Arabians are ranked 24th in the state and didn’t have a runner drop deeper than 12th at HHC.
Noble ran the course in 15:38.18 during the Arabians Roundup in late August. Rush was second ahead of Parker, though Pendleton Heights won the event.
Greenfield-Central and Eastern Hancock return to New Palestine for the sectional.
Dragons juniors Sam Voelz (17:13.9, ninth at HHC) and Chase Crowder (17:39.9, 16th at HHC) are both trending in the right direction.
New Palestine took third at home during county and was fifth at conference. Voelz was fourth (17:19) and Crowder was seventh (17:42) at county. At the sectional in 2014, Voelz was fourth and the team advanced to regional with a fifth-place finish.
“I like our chances of advancing,” Myers remarked. “I think we can do it. That’s what we’re shooting for.”
2015 Hoosier Heritage Conference Meet
Team Standings: Pendleton Heights 16, New Palestine 95, Yorktown 103, Delta 105, Shelbyville 144, Mt. Vernon 146, New Castle 149, Greenfield-Central 155.
All-HHC runners (top 20)
Alex Buck, Pendleton Heights (18:29.1)
Emma Hall, Pendleton Heights (19:57.0)
Grace Baer, Pendleton Heights (19:59.8)
Alli McCarty, Pendleton Heights (20:08.8)
Madeline Aul, Yorktown (20:19.4)
Christina Magers, Pendleton Heights (20:26.1)
Grace Voelz, New Palestine (20:27.3)
Sydney Cook, Greenfield-Central (20:27.9)
Danielle Lubbe, Shelbyville (20:29.8)
Faith Baer, Pendleton Heights (20:48.3)
Brittany Tuttle, Delta (20:55.2)
Sarah Schwartz, New Palestine (20:59.7)
Monica Dudley, Pendleton Heights (21:14.1)
Brandy Tuttle, Delta (21:17.3)
Alaina Murali, New Castle (21:21.2)
Suzanne Scanameo, Yorktown (21:21.4)
Chelsea Foster, Mt. Vernon (21:26.4)
Taylor Phillips, Yorktown (22:00.9)
Melissa Crouch, Delta (22:05.9)
Catherine Brock, New Castle (22:10.1)
Team Standings: Pendleton Heights 37, Mt. Vernon 60, Greenfield-Central 77, New Castle 106, New Palestine 106, Yorktown 158, Delta 187, Shelbyville 212
All-HHC runners (top 20)
Christian Noble, Mt. Vernon (15:54.3)
Parker Jones, Pendleton Heights (16:23.3)
Aaron Rush, Mt. Vernon (16:43.7)
Zachariah Bishop, Greenfield-Central (16:44.3)
Luke Upton, Pendleton Heights (16:45.2)
Cade Orchard, Delta (17:03.1)
Eli Young, Pendleton Heights (17:07.7)
Jacob Hansen, Greenfield-Central (17:13.0)
Samuel Voelz, New Palestine (17:13.9)
Tyler Morris, Greenfield-Central (17:20.4)
Milan Jones, Pendleton Heights (17:24.9)
Wren Parker, Pendleton Heights (17:25.3)
Brian Bozymski, Mt. Vernon (17:31.7)
Kevin Kratz, Yorktown (17:34.1)
Jeff Melton, New Castle (17:39.3)
Chase Crowder, New Palestine (17:39.9)
Jayden Wenning, Pendleton Heights (17:46.0)
Trevor Ragle, New Castle (17:50.9)
Parker Niemeier, Greenfield-Central (17:51.4)
Chris Graham, New Castle (17:51.9)