The Mt. Vernon Marauders boys and girls cross-country teams finished in the top 20 at the New Haven Semistate on Saturday.
The girls were 19th overall and the boys placed 16th with several athletes setting personal bests despite a sloppy, water-logged course.
Inexperienced this season after the graduation of six seniors, junior Drew Bluethmann led the Marauders throughout the year, and the trend continued with a 91st-place finish at semistate in 17:19.2.
Marco Ramirez came in at a career low 17:27.8 with Alex Carver not far behind with a personal best at 17:33.2.
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Trey Klevickas ran in 17:51.2. Ryan Strantz finished with a time of 18:12.2, Cody Plasma was timed at 18:23.4, and Riley Glassing completed the race in 18:39.3.
Bluethmann’s season best was 17:06.3 set on Sept. 24 at the New Haven Invitational. His semistate time was the lowest he’s posted this postseason, shaving nearly 13 seconds off his sectional run of 17:32.
As a sophomore Bluethmann was on the senior-laden Marauders team that placed 18th at the state finals. He posted a time of 17:22 at state for 196th overall.
Bluethmann and the Marauders intend to build from the strides taken this fall toward another shot at state in 2017 after missing the cut. The top six teams and 10 individuals from non-advancing teams move on to state.
“Going into the season we had more tournament experience on the boys team with Drew Bluethmann than the other 21 boys on the team combined, so we were real thrilled to take to 16th with no experience basically,” Mt. Vernon head coach Bruce Kendall commented.
The Marauders reached semistate for a 17th time as a team in program history. They placed third at sectional and regional to advance.
With the assistance of a dedicated coaching staff, Kendall’s girls team overcame similar odds, advancing to semistate for a ninth time as a team. The Marauders have sent at least one individual to the semistate in eight other years.
Rilee Hartman led the group in Fort Wayne, running a personal best for 102nd overall in 21:10.8. Erin Lyday ran the course in a season-best 21:23.4.
Kamryn Eason set a new career time at 21:48.1 while Reagan Woodruff came in at 22:01.3. Hannah Watson (22:21.3), Addison Cullom (22:37.5), and Andrea Maynard (22:45.3) each followed.
“We finished on a real high note,” Kendall said.