PENDLETON — Just three races into her high school career, Mt. Vernon freshman Hannah Hauser has found her way to the front of the pack.
The Marauder newcomer led the way to an individual and team victory in Wednesday’s Arabian Roundup girls cross country meet at Pendleton Heights High School.
Hauser, running in second place much of the race, got by Blue River Valley’s Charlee Gibson with less than two miles remaining in the 5K race that included 12 teams and 92 runners.
Hauser finished in 20-minutes, 1.99-seconds. Gibson crossed the line in 20:38.63.
“I wanted to get my place, stay in the back of the first pack and move my way up throughout the race,” Hauser said of her strategy. “It feels pretty good (winning the race). It’s a new experience.”
As a team, Mt. Vernon had all five of its scoring runners in the Top 25. Three were in the Top 10.
The Marauders totaled 53 points, well ahead of second-place Yorktown with 87.
Allie Jenson placed eighth with a time of 21:42.49. Emma Gale was 10th in 22:02.89. Mindy Cornelius just missed the Top 10, finishing 11th in 22:07.43.
Julia Iserloth placed 25th in 23:22.73.
“(Gibson) got out ahead of her and she was as patient as if she had been doing this for years,” Mt. Vernon head coach Brian Williams said of Hauser’s race. “She just continued to run her pace and ran a really smart race, overall. The time is not bad for this course this early in the year.”
“I feel like since I’ve started practicing at the high school I’ve improved a lot,” Hauser added. “I didn’t think I’d be here yet, but it’s coming along a lot better than I thought it would.”
The meet included two Hancock County teams – Mt. Vernon and New Palestine – and five Hoosier Heritage Conference teams, the Marauders Dragons, host Pendleton Heights, Yorktown and New Castle.
The Dragons finished sixth with 136 points. Along with Yorktown, other HHC teams were Pendleton Heights (3rd, 94 points) and New Castle (4th, 99 points).
Courtney Study led New Palestine. She placed seventh overall with a time of 21:40.01.
“She ran fine,” New Palestine coach Chuck Myers said of Study. “She’s going to be our No. 1 all season. She’s running well. We have to get some more people up there.”
There was a big gap from Study to the next New Pal runner.
Cami Masseri and Heidi Bloomer were 30th and 31st, respectively. Masseri finished in 23:53.76. Bloomer crossed the line in 24:10.76.
Both Mt. Vernon and New Palestine are running Saturday in the Rushville Invitational.