By Jake Thompson
GREENCASTLE — For the second consecutive year, the Avon Orioles boys’ and girls’ cross country teams brought home sectional titles. The Orioles overcame the challenging and undulating course set up at South Putnam High School last night to bring home their championships.
Avon took home the boys’ title without one of its best runners (Jordan Mueller) and is finally rounding into shape after overcoming illness and injury bugs. Orioles coach Zach Toothman was proud of his squads’ efforts.
“With the way our whole season has gone so far, we are pretty pleased,” he said. “We went out incredibly hard and I’ll be honest, I panicked quite a bit when I saw it. But it shows their fitness and that is the toughest they have ran over 3K all season.”
Avon (48) edged out county champion Brownsburg (59) for first and Plainfield finished third (76). Each of those teams head to regional action for their efforts of finishing in the top five.
Danville (151) finished sixth, missing the cut by 13 points. Cascade (191) took eighth, Tri-West (312) finished 10th and Bethesda Christian (363) placed 12th.
Abiel Mogos brought home the individual title for the Plainfield Quakers in a time of 16:18.04. Mogos, a first-year cross country runner, has had a stellar season and could go far in the state tournament.
“It feels good especially because of my county loss, but I beat the guy who beat me,” Mogos said. “Those hills are tough, though. I am going to try and beat 16 (minutes) this weekend on a flat course.”
Mogos edged out Cascade’s Levi Musson (16:24.74) for the win. Musson was the only county boy moving on to the Ben Davis regional on Saturday not on an advancing team.
Top finishers from each school were Mogos, Musson, Brownsburg’s Justin Hays (16:42.65), Avon’s Ross Hughes (16.46.48), Danville’s Brandon Siller (17:53.25), Tri-West’s Chris Wright (19:01.58) and Bethesda’s Kale Kight (20:21.75).
Avon won the girls’ title by a wider margin than the boys, dominating the nearest competition. The Orioles scored a 33 with Plainfield (75) coming in second and Brownsburg (85) taking third. Danville (160) also advanced to the Ben Davis regional with its fifth place finish.
“I am really, really pleased with four of our girls in the top seven in this sectional,” Avon coach Brad Rosebrock said. “We ran really good times and a couple of them ran season bests with Courtney Kerr only a couple of seconds off her personal best.”
Tri-West (221) took ninth while Cascade and Bethesda Christian did not complete a team score.
Avon sophomore Malyka Abramson (18:20.86) won by a healthy margin, repeating as sectional champion.
“It has been a lot of hard work and hours put in this year,” Abramson said. “It has taken a lot of discipline to get this far.”
Plainfield’s Samantha Woodford (18:50.85) finished second, shattering the Quakers’ school record (19:11) by over 20 seconds. The Plainfield sophomore was thrilled with her effort.
“I got 19:15 two races in a row and finally got it today,” Woodford said smiling. “I think this time will stay up (on the record wall) for a while.”
Tri-West’s Carrie Chappell (20:47.26) finished 14th overall and is the only county girl advancing to the regional not on a team automatically moving on.
Top finishers from each school were Abramson, Woodford, Chappell, Danville’s Megan Newcomer (20:05.58), Brownsburg’s Julia Popenfoose (20:20.02), Cascade’s Megan Frederick (22:58.34), and Bethesda’s Hannah Joiner (24:59.81).