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Royals run to first-ever MHC championship

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In their first year as a member of the Mid-Hoosier Conference, the Eastern Hancock girls’ cross country team won the conference championship Saturday at Hoosier Horse Park in Edinburgh.

Led by individual conference champion EH junior Kiersten Schrope, the Royals’ harriers outdistanced runner-up Indian Creek 35 to 61 in the nine-team conference.

North Decatur (89 points) was third, followed by Waldron (94), Southwestern (108), Morristown (124), Hauser (166), Edinburgh (incomplete) and South Decatur (incomplete).

Schrope finished in 20 minutes, 15 seconds. She was joined on the All-Conference Team (places 1-15) by senior Shelby Wyatt (sixth, 22:00) and freshmen Cara Johnson (ninth, 22:18), Karlee Gray (10th, 22:27) and Hope Spaulding (13th, 22:59). Junior Hannah Miller barely missed all-conference at 16th and Alex Perkins placed 33rd among the 50 girl runners.

“Our young ladies are peaking at the right time,” claimed coach Rex Putt. “The course was very soggy and muddy due to the heavy rain on Friday, but two of our freshmen still had their fastest times of the year. 

“As a team we have won two invitationals and a conference in the last three weeks, but our biggest meets are yet to come. We have a very tough sectional, but our goal is to make it to semi-state and we must be one of the top five teams (today) in order to take the next step at regional on Saturday. We’re still definitely underdogs to the bigger schools, but with a leader like Kiersten Schrope, a solid senior in Shelby Wyatt, and three determined freshmen I’m confident we have a good chance to advance.”

The Eastern Hancock, New Palestine and Greenfield-Central boys’ and girls’ teams will compete at the sectional at New Palestine today at 5 p.m., while Mt. Vernon will take part in the sectional at Pendleton Heights at 5:15 p.m. The top 15 individuals and top five teams advance to regionals, Saturday at Rushville (EH, GC, NP) and Delta (MV).

In the boys’ conference meet Saturday, Eastern Hancock did not field a full team. Indian Creek (22) finished well in front of Waldron (73) and South Decatur (85) to win the team title.

The Braves’ Jake Johnson (17:10) won the individual championship, while Parker West was 29th (20:19) for Eastern Hancock.

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