The Mt. Vernon boys and girls cross country teams finished 15th and 16th, respectively, at the New Haven Semistate Saturday in Fort Wayne.
Fort Wayne Carroll won both team events, with the boys accumulating 40 points, well ahead of runner-up Homestead (110), and the Carroll girls compiling 62 points to out-pace Northridge (117).
The top six teams and top 15 individuals advanced to the State Finals, this Saturday in Terre Haute.
FW Concordia’s Zachery Panning won the five-kilometer race in 15 minutes, 37 seconds.
The Marauders’ boys, who finished with 389 points, were led by freshman Aaron Rush (44th place in a personal-record 17:03), freshman Brandt True (81st, 17:35), junior Andrew Boyle (93rd, 17:42), senior Taylor VanWinkle (116th, 18:01) and junior Andrew Thaxton was (125th, 18:10).
“Thaxton and VanWinkle have had their moments (this season) and True has led us at various times, but the day belonged to Rush, who was the 18th fastest, after you erase all the seniors in front of him,” MV coach Bruce Kendall said.
This was MV’s 14th boys team to advance to a semistate, and Kendall expects to add a 15th appearance next season.
“We have not had a front runner all year,” Kendall said. “Along with True and a resurgent Boyle, we may go from no front runners to four if we can return with good preparation for next year.
“Rush set the team and season best for the team and True and Boyle were very close to their season best. VanWinkle and Thaxton defeated more opponents than any other athletes the season, so it was a total team effort. We are so looking forward to 2013 and hopefully can make our own ‘gold Rush’ for the season.”
In the girls race, MV was led by Elizabeth Cook in 44th (20:19). The senior and was followed by junior Samantha Sanders in 87th (21:10 PR), sophomore Morgan Hayes in 101st (21:31), sophomore Jessica Grubb 111th (21:41) and junior Lindsey Eckart in 129th (22:13 PR).
Cook finished her career as the program’s record holder, with a MV all-time best time of 19:39.
Kendall commented that Cook will not be easily replaced, but he’s excited to have the rest of the lineup returning next season.
Sanders and Eckart posted personal bests Saturday.
“In fact,” Kendall added, “of our five scores, they all had the personal best or one of their top two or three times ever, so we are confident.
“Grubb and Hayse were our super sophomores of the day and both came out wanting more and very near the personal best. That is a great attitude to build on.”
Mishawaka sophomore Anna Roher completed the course in 17:03 to take the individual semistate title.
“With Cook and VanWinkle the only seniors we will lose in the scoring from this meet, we will on paper return the strongest boy/girls team combination we have had at Ft. Wayne,” Kendall said.