CHARLOTTESVILLE — On a hot, sticky evening at Eastern Hancock High School, Mt. Vernon defended its Hancock County girls cross country title.
Down one of their top five runners in junior Allie Jenson, the Marauders still placed four runners in the top five, to finish with a total team score of 24 points.
“A day like today is weird because it’s a school night. It’s also one of the hottest nights of the year when it comes to running races,” Mt. Vernon head coach Brian Williams said. “We weren’t really focused on time. We were just trying to make sure that we were being really competitive. Given all that, the girls did a really good job of stepping up.”
Leading the way for Mt. Vernon, and leading the race from start to finish, was freshman Hannah Hauser with a time of 20:00.
“It feels pretty good to win. It’s really exciting that our team is doing this good together,” Hauser said. “It was pretty hot and I was getting kind of overheated and the ground was pretty hard to run on, but I just pushed through and was able to win the race.”
“It’s a really cool thing. Since the day she started, Hannah has been ready to go as hard as she’s needed to go. She is running way beyond her age. Her competitiveness is over the top and she’s just always willing to do whatever,” Williams added. “It’s pretty cool for her, but now the bad part for her is she’s got to remember that she won and learn how to deal with all the continued pressure going forward.”
Hauser outpaced the entire field by over a minute and a half. The next person to cross the finish line was her teammate, Emma Gale, with a time of 21:38.
“Our goal all year is not to worry about anything other than competing. It’s really hard at a meet like this because of the gaps that get in there. It really becomes a deal where you’ve just got to think about what we do in practice and keep pushing. The girls have done a really good job,” Williams said. “Most of our meets have been with a lot of people, so this was a different challenge. They handled it really, really well.”
Mt. Vernon’s other top five finishes were senior Melinda Cornelius in fourth and sophomore Julia Iserloth in fifth. Cornelius clocked in at 22:25 while Iserloth came in at 23:03.
They joined both Hauser and Gale in earning all-county honors.
Rounding out the scorers for the Marauders was another freshman, Kenydi Russell, with a time of 24:28.
“One of our goals was to win the county so we’ve achieved one of our first goals,” Williams said. “So we’re pretty happy to win this, that’s for sure.”
Greenfield Central (49) and New Palestine (50) battled it out for second place.
The Cougars grabbed second behind four all-county and Top 10 finishes.
They secured the sixth,seventh, ninth and 1oth positions.
Lexie Copeland led the way with a time of 23:35. Following her were Emaline Capen (23:31), Reagan Crouch (24:23), and Kendall Barrett (24:25).
“We told them going in that today was not a day to worry about times. They just needed to go out and compete,” Greenfield-Central head coach Scott Burton said. “This was a lot warmer of a day than it has been the last few Saturday mornings that we’ve run, but the girls are acclimated pretty well. The heat got to everybody today a little bit, but I think they persevered through it and competed pretty well.”
New Palestine had two all-county runners.
Finishing in between all of the Mt. Vernon runners was Courtney Study who ran a 21:51 to finish in third place. Alexis Baynes was next for the Dragons with a 23:43 earning her eighth place.