RUSHVILLE — Seth Eagleson fulfilled one of his high school cross country goals with a regional title Saturday. Equally important to the New Palestine senior, he and his fellow Dragons marked an overdue ambition off their bucket list.
One year after finishing runner-up, Eagleson won the Rushville Regional cross country title in 16 minutes, 24 seconds Saturday and advanced to semistate, where he’ll aim for his first-ever state finals qualification.
Joining Eagleson at the Carmel Semistate this Saturday will be Sam Voelz (11th, 17:06), Dominic Basciano (32nd, 17:55), Riley Wilson (38th, 18:01) and Chase Tuggle (64th, 18:46), who combined with Eagleson for a fifth-place team finish. The top five teams and top 10 runners from non-qualifying teams advanced to the semistate.
New Palestine hadn’t advanced a full boys team to semistate since 1998.
“It’s amazing,” Eagleson said. “We really haven’t had this much synergy and been so much of a team before, and now that we do so many good things are happening.
“I really care that I won regionals, but team was way up there on the list. Words can’t express how awesome it is.”
Warren Central won the boys team title on the 5k/3.1-mile Rushville course with 44 points, followed by Roncalli (75), Franklin Central (81), Greenfield-Central (104) and the Dragons (117). New Castle was sixth with 132 points.
Eagleson’s individual title added his name to the New Palestine record book alongside Lincoln McKinley, the first and only — until Saturday — NP boy to win a cross country regional title. McKinley won his crown in 1995.
The main competition for Eagleson on Saturday came from a pack of runners that included Connersville senior Mathew Hill, Greenfield-Central sophomore Zach Bishop and a quartet of Warren Central athletes.
Hill and Bishop got out of the gate quickly Saturday, but Eagleson didn’t let them get more than a few strides in front. Then, roughly one-third of the way through the race, Eagleson made his move.
“At that point the pace needed to be faster so I just decided to take it out,” he said. “I just wanted to keep it honest.”