RUSHVILLE — Mt. Vernon’s Tristan Trevino was in his usual position, the front.
Rivals and teammates weren’t too far behind.
Hancock County cross country runners grabbed six of the top 10 positions and nine of the top 20 at Saturday’s Rushville Regional, a combination of qualifiers from the Mt. Vernon and Connersville sectionals.
Trevino ran the 5K course in just 15:33.5, his best time of the year.
“(A time of) 15:33 on this course is very, very good,” Mt. Vernon coach Bruce Kendall said. “That’s his best time and this is not a fast course. It has 21 90-or-more degree turns and those are very time consuming.”
Trevino is adding to a remarkable season that has included individual titles in the Hancock County and Hoosier Heritage Conference meets along with the Mt. Vernon Sectional.
“The only strategy I really had was to get out first and run for my life, just really run,” Trevino said after adding a regional title to his accomplishments. “I was more focused on my team this year. It’s a very young team and I want them to go far. I’ve been focusing on pushing my team and making them more mentally ready.
“(Saturday) they showed up and showed out. Semistate (this Saturday at Shelbyville’s Blue River Park) is going to be fun for us. I’m hoping to get them to state. I’ll race whoever I have to race to get them to state. It was a good day.”
Greenfield-Central’s Griffen Wheeler placed second, finishing under 16 minutes (15:53.7) for the first time. His time of 15:54 is fourth best in G-C’s program history.
“To finish runner-up, that’s awesome for him,” Greenfield-Central coach Aaron Smith said.
Wheeler, like Trevino, is the only senior in the varsity lineup. He, too, is looking after his teammates.
“My success matters, but my team’s success matters way more than my own,” Wheeler said. “It’s good to see my guys doing well. When my guys don’t do well, and when I have to come back to our tent to see them sad and down, it hurts. If four out of seven guys are down, it’s a loss. We try to build everyone up, and make sure everyone’s happy after races. If they do well or not, we try to get everyone to move on, mentally.
“It wasn’t a happy race (Saturday). We’re working to hammer it down and get a happy race (next week). That’s what we want (at semi-state).”
Along with a 1-2 finish from Trevino and Wheeler, the Cougars had fifth- and seventh-place runs from Christopher Ross (16:19.6) and Liam Brinkruff (16:39.2), respectively. Eastern Hancock’s Preston Markley (16:46.1) was ninth and Mt. Vernon’s Ahmed Saleh (16:51.2) finished 10th.
In the top 20, Mt. Vernon had representation from both Colin Strachman (11th, 16:53.9) and Landon Willis (17th, 17:12.0). Greenfield-Central’s Carter Crouch was 16th (17:07.4)
As they’ve been all season long, Greenfield-Central and Mt. Vernon were close together and toward the top. G-C won the county meet. Mt. Vernon won the Hoosier Heritage Conference meet. The last two weekends, Greenfield-Central has edged Mt. Vernon for second.
Franklin Central won the regional meet with 37 points. The Flashes grabbed all top 10 positions that weren’t occupied by local racers. Greenfield-Central had 62 and Mt. Vernon 65. Northeastern (118) and Richmond (122), both representatives from the Connersville Sectional, earned fourth and fifth and were the final two teams to qualify for Saturday’s Shelbyville Semistate.
Ten runners that were not on qualifying teams also advanced. Included in that group were Eastern Hancock’s Markley and Brandon Metz (24th, 17:30.9).
Richmond beat Roncalli (124) by only two points to be the final team qualifier.
New Palestine finished 10th with 255 points. The Dragons were led by a 53rd place finish from Jacob Collins (18:27.0)
Greenfield-Central, Mt. Vernon and the two runners from Eastern Hancock will run at 11:15 a.m. at Blue River Park in Shelbyville Saturday.
The semistate will include runners from the Ben Davis, Noblesville, Rushville and Franklin regionals. The top six teams and top 10 individuals not associated with the qualifying teams, will advance to the state finals in Terre Haute Oct. 29 at LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course.
Qualifying for the state meet will be quite a chore for G-C and MV teams, though ranked No. 22 and No. 23 in the state, respectively. They are among 11 ranked schools that will run in Shelbyville.
That group includes, No. 1 Carmel, No. 2 Zionsville, No. 4 Noblesville, No. 5 Center Grove, No. 7 Franklin Central, No. 13 Brownsburg, No. 14 Brebeuf, No. 18 Chatard, No. 20 Westfield, the Cougars and the Marauders. Also advancing is unranked Indian Creek, which defeated Center Grove to win the Franklin Regional.