NEW PALESTINE — Zachariah Bishop had a plan in place from the very beginning.

Already well-versed in the hills, woods and, at times, tricky footing around the sectional course at New Palestine, the Greenfield-Central senior never looked back Saturday, setting a personal-best with an overall first-place time at 16 minutes, 22.75 seconds.

“Coach told me I had to bury them from the start because I don’t really have a sprint at the end,” Bishop remarked after claiming his first-career sectional title. “I still want to get faster, though. That’s always a goal for a runner. I definitely want to break 16 (minutes) by the end of the season. That’s my goal.”

He’ll get his chance at the Rushville Regional next weekend as Greenfield-Central advanced with a runner-up team finish, narrowly missing out on the program’s first sectional title since 1992.

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The Cougars scored 40 points with three runners in the top 10. Franklin Central won with 36 points, stemming from five runners placing 10th or better.

New Palestine (123) was fifth overall led by Chase Crowder (17:18.17) at 12th. Samuel Voelz was 22nd at 17:43.31.

Roncalli (120) and Warren Central (70) rounded out the regional-qualifying teams.

“Everybody ran pretty well. We just weren’t quite good enough. I knew it was going to be close,” Greenfield-Central boys cross-country coach Aaron Smith said. “We have another shot at (Franklin Central) at regional.”

Bishop, who is trying to chase down his first career state-qualifying berth, was a sectional runner-up last year on the same course at 16:32.60.

At the Hancock County Meet hosted by New Palestine two weeks ago, he was third at 16:42.76. Last week, Bishop returned to course for the Hoosier Heritage Conference Meet and took fourth-place at 16:44.3.

He was fourth at regional a year ago in Rushville with a 16:34.46 and 11th at the Carmel Semistate in 16:25.5.

“He led the entire way and ran the kick right out of them,” Smith said. “He was in the lead at the mile and the rest of the way. He has a chance to win the regional, too.”

Greenfield-Central juniors Tyler Morris (16:59.19) and Jacob Hanson (17:04.98) were fourth and fifth, respectively. Freshman Parker Niemeier (17:20.96) was 13th and sophomore Cooper Hanson was 17th at 17:34.39.

“I ran a 17:34 when I was a senior here and I was seventh at conference,” Smith remarked on Saturday’s times. “The competition has gotten that much better. Hopefully, we’ll be up there at regional. We’ll be hungry that’s for sure.”

Franklin Central competed the sweep as the girls team won with 22 points (five in the top 10). Warren Central (66) was second. Roncalli (102) was third.

Eastern Hancock (129) finished fourth while county champion New Palestine advanced to regional with 135 points at fifth overall.

“I thought we had a chance to go out and beat New Palestine. We really ran well and to have two in the top 20 is just outstanding,” Eastern Hancock head coach Rex Putt said. “Our first five all ran great. Liberty Durham, our fifth runner, was in the top 40. That’s all we can ask for.”

Eastern Hancock’s Taylor Stine was the highest place-winner from the county. The freshman secured 11th-place in 20:57.90. New Palestine’s Sarah Schwartz followed at 12th in 21:00.96. Greenfield-Central’s Sydney Cook was 13th at 21:13.99.

New Palestine’s second-best finisher was Grace Voelz at 23rd in 22:21.42. 

Cook, Sarah Muckerheide (22nd, 22:16.54) and Breanna Ditto (35th, 22:56.29) all advanced to regional as individuals.

Marauders take down Arabians: Mt. Vernon’s Christian Noble inadvertently ran down the path less traveled, but despite a gator mishap Saturday, the Pendleton Heights Sectional went back to the defending champions.

Winning their third straight sectional, the Marauders placed five in the top 15, including Noble first overall at 15:52, to fend off No. 24 Pendleton Heights 40-43.

Aaron Rush was third at 16:15.38. Brian Bozymski was 11th at 17:21.37 with Brandt True (17:23.10) and Brendon O’Bryhim (17:24.32) filing in behind for 12th and 13th, respectively.

Noble became the program’s first repeat sectional champion but was nearly ran out of contention when the race’s gator made an incorrect turn for the sake of fan safety as a large crowd gathered down the final mile stretch.

Noble followed but wasn’t disqualified. Luckily, he had a large enough lead to remain the race leader and cross the finish line comfortably.

The Mt. Vernon girls finished third and will advance with the boys to the Delta Regional. 

The Marauders were paced by senior Chelsea Foster in 10th at 21:08.06. Elena Rohrwasser was 14th, setting a personal-best at 21:26.12. Reagan Woodruff was 19th (22:23.77) and Leah Chaves was 22nd at 22:52.71.


New Palestine Cross Country Sectional

Girls Race Results

Team Scores (top-five teams advance): Franklin Central 22, Warren Central 66, Roncalli 102, Eastern Hancock 129, New Palestine 135, Scecina Memorial 159, Greenfield-Central 169, Triton Central 180, Beech Grove 223.

Local Individual Regional Qualifiers (non-advancing team)

Sydney Cook, Greenfield-Central (13th, 21:13.99)

Sarah Muckerheide, Greenfield-Central (22nd, 22:16.54)

Breanna Ditto, Greenfield-Central (35th, 22:56.29)

Boys Race Results

Team Scores (top-five teams advance): Franklin Central 36, Greenfield-Central 40, Warren Central 70, Roncalli 120, New Palestine 123, Beech Grove 132, Scecina Memorial 191, Eastern Hancock 242, Triton Central 261, Morristown 298, Indianapolis Lutheran 319.

Local Individual Regional Qualifiers (non-advancing team)

Gabe Blake, Eastern Hancock (15th, 17:30.14)

Rich Torres is sports editor at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. He can be reached at or 317-477-3227.