MUNCIE — There was no catching Christian Noble at the Delta Regional.
The Mt. Vernon senior turned in the fastest regional time in the state on Saturday, breezing to a first-place finish in 14 minutes, 55.3 seconds and a three-peat performance.
Noble won regional the past two seasons and has lost only one event this year but hadn’t been able to break the 15-minute mark until this weekend.
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His personal best in 2015 was 15:19 at the Muncie Central Invitational, which he set last month. At the Pendleton Heights Sectional last week, he ran a 15:52 to win.
Noble’s regional-title run puts him in line with the state’s best — reported as being only two seconds off the state’s top time this year — and directly into the Marauders’ record books.
His time established a new program mark for a 5,000-meter run. The old record was set by Jeff Wheeler in 1983 when he won the state championship in 14:57.3.
The state finals record for fastest 5,000 meters remains 14:42.3 set by Curt Carey of Owen Valley in 1980-81. The most recent sub-15 minute time set at the state meet was recorded by North Central’s Futsum Zienasellassie at 14:48.8 in 2011-12.
However, before Noble can challenge either mark, he must get through the New Haven Semistate this coming weekend where the Marauders advanced after a runner-up finish to Pendleton Heights at regional.
Mt. Vernon earned 50 team points compared to Pendleton Heights’ 45 with three runners in the top 15 and five in the top 25.
Senior Aaron Rush followed Noble for second-place overall at 15:27.6, which was fourth-fastest time ever in program history. Rush surpassed Brad Untrauer at 15:32 and will look to challenge Mike Mundy’s record run at 15:13 during semistate.
Mt. Vernon defeated Pendleton Heights at sectional the week prior 40-43, but the Arabians turned the tables with five runners placing in the top 16.
The Marauders are seeking their first semistate team title after taking second at New Haven last year before advancing to the state finals for a fourth time in program history.
The Mt. Vernon girls team will join the boys at semistate following a fifth-place team finish at regional.
The squad earned an eighth consecutive trip to the semistate level and are gaining ground as the postseason unfolds.
Chelsea Foster and Elena Rohrwasser led the Marauders at 12th and 24th in 20:10 and 20:54, respectively.
Reagan Woodruff and Leah Chaves each recorded personal best times, finishing in 21:36 and 21:43 for 35th and 38th. Erin Lyday was 43rd at 22:05.4.