PENDLETON — It wasn’t the fastest cross country race Christian Noble has run, by far.
But the Mt. Vernon sophomore’s effort in Tuesday’s Pendleton Heights sectional was plenty good enough, as was the Marauders’ meet as a group.
Both Noble and MV raced atop the results sheet, with Noble the only runner to break 17 minutes (16:52) and the Marauders capturing the team trophy with 44 points.
The MV girls also easily qualified for Saturday’s Delta regional in Muncie, finishing second with 67 points.
Noble beat runner-up Tyler Flood of PH by 19 seconds, but his time in windy and somewhat damp conditions was 25 seconds shy of his personal best, set at the Blackford Invitational earlier this season.
“I was trying to run a strategic race,” Noble said. “There are some good runners out there, but I was just trying to run my race and run as hard as I could.”
MV coach Bruce Kendall said he doesn’t remember anyone from the school winning an individual boys sectional meet in his 30-plus years with the program.
“I don’t think it was a real good time, but it’s his first year of cross country and he’s just a sophomore,” Kendall said. “There’s a lot more that I think he can do.”
Noble had plenty of familiar company not far behind him, beginning with sophomore Aaron Rush, fourth in 17:14.
And places 12 to 15, as well as 17, were Marauders. Leading that pack was senior Andrew Thaxton, followed by sophomore Brandt True, junior Jake Russell, senior Andrew Boyle and sophomore Jimmy McDonald.
“It’s been 11 days since our last meet (because of fall break), and that might have been our biggest obstacle,” Kendall said. “Rush wasn’t quite 100 percent and True wasn’t quite 100 percent, but the depth was there and the seniors came through.”