The Eastern Hancock girls cross country team repeated as Mid-Hoosier Conference champions Saturday at Johnson County Horse Park.
Led by Kiersten Schrope’s fourth-place finish, six Royals earned All-MHC honors.
EH’s team score of 34 was 25 points better than runner-up Waldron (59). Southwestern (79) was third, North Decatur (82) fourth and Indian Creek (94) fifth.
North Decatur’s Megan Hoover won the race in a time of 19 minutes, 50.76 seconds.
Adhering to coach Rex Putt’s pre-race credo of “let’s do it as a team,” the Royals placed six runners in the top 12: Schrope, Karlee Gray (eighth), Hope Spaulding (ninth), Paige Schuyler (10th), Cara Johnson (11th) and Emiley Carlton (12th).
“I couldn’t ask any more from them,” Putt said. “Last year in our first year as a member of the Mid-Hoosier Conference, we landed five young ladies on the all-conference team and I challenged them to improve, and it was wonderful to see that sea of blue near the front of the field of 46 runners. We established our positions early in the race and maintained our focus throughout.
“Unfortunately one of our sophomores, Emily Schrope, is out with a stress fracture, or I’m confident we would have had seven all-conference runners. These amazing young ladies have worked hard all season and it’s finally beginning to pay off. Now, hopefully we can carry that momentum over for another good showing today at sectional.”
The EH boys placed third with 98 points, finishing behind Indian Creek (66) and Waldron (68). Southwestern also had 98 points, but took fourth because the Royals had a sixth runner. Southwestern did not, giving the blue and white the tiebreaker.
RJ Claycomb of Waldron was first, clocking in at 16:58.25.
Jacob Mueller (sixth) and Parker West (14th) garnered All-MHC honors. Gabe Blake was 17th, Nathan Kell 27th, Matt Thompson 34th and Mitchell Scott 38th.
West and Thompson had career-best times.
“Our boys team has made major strides this year with the help of my assistant Tyler Wilcher, the former standout for Greenfield. They have run with a purpose and I’m extremely proud of what they have accomplished,” Putt said. “To go from an incomplete team with the top finisher at 29th last year to a third place finish and four individuals better than 29th was incredible.
“We had two young men with career best times and two all-conference performers. Our sectional competition is very tough, but the possibility of advancing some individuals to regional this year looks good. In my eight years as coach, I’ve never had a boy advance to the regional level.”
Both EH squads are at the New Palestine Sectional Tuesday.
Cross Country Sectionals
Date: Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2013.
Advancement: The top 10 individuals from non‐advancing teams and the first 5 qualifying teams from each sectional shall advance to designated regionals.
15. Pendleton Heights (12) | 5:15 pm
Alexandria Monroe, Anderson, Blue River Valley, Daleville, Elwood Community, Frankton, Lapel, Liberty Christian, Mt. Vernon (Fortville), Pendleton Heights, Shenandoah, Yorktown.
21. New Palestine (12) | 5 pm
Beech Grove, Eastern Hancock, Franklin Central, Greenfield-Central, Indianapolis Lutheran, Indianapolis Marshall, Indianapolis Scecina Memorial, Morristown, New Palestine, Roncalli, Triton Central, Warren Central.
Date: Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013.
Advancement: The top 10 individuals from non‐advancing teams and the first 5 qualifying teams from each regional shall advance to designated semi‐states.
8. Delta | 10:30 am
Feeder Sectionals: Delta, Pendleton Heights.
11. Rushville | 10:30 am
Feeder Sectionals: Connersville, New Palestine.