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The Journal Gazette

  • Brett Luke | The Journal Gazette Carroll cross country members huddle up to rally prior to the sectionals at Northrop on Saturday.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017 1:00 am

Chargers' concern is doing best, not streak

Look to continue run of 16-straight regional titles

AUBREE REICHEL | The Journal Gazette

Cross Country

Regional championships

Saturday

At West Noble, 9:30 a.m./ 10:15 a.m.

Feeder sectionals: Northrop, West Noble

Area boys teams: Carroll, Homestead, Snider, Concordia, Northrop, West Noble, DeKalb, East Noble, Angola

Boys individuals: Emmett Delaney, Bishop Dwenger; Landon Wakeman, Columbia City; Carson Pocock, Bishop Dwenger; Nathan Mills, Columbia City; John Garcia, Bishop Dwenger; Isaiah Wiseman, Bishop Dwenger; Collin Cahill, Bishop Dwenger; Micah Malcolm, Garrett; Cordell Neuhouser, Leo; Hunter Diamond, Leo; Sam Kelly, Churubusco; Gezahagne Biddle, Eastside; Spencer Castillo, Fremont; Jakob Copas, Central Noble; Levi Skinner, Churubusco; Hayden McLatcher, Fremont

Area girls teams: Carroll, Homestead, Bishop Dwenger, Concordia, Columbia City, East Noble, DeKalb, West Noble, Angola

Girls individuals: Chae-lynn Wilchar, North Side; Marci Wallace, Snider; Alexandra Galassini, Snider; Sydney Weaver, Garrett; Emmaline Shoemaker, Snider; Madilyn Malcolm, Garrett; Aubree Kline, Blackhawk Christian; Kelsey Peck, Snider; Summer Silver-Barone, Northrop; Hayley Jensen, Northrop; Grace Schmucker, Fremont; Sydney Freeman, Central Noble; Marylou Deweese, Eastside; Maggie Burita, Churubusco; Allie Basinger, Churubusco

Marion at Indiana Wesleyan, 10:30 a.m. / 11:15 a.m.

Feeder sectionals: Bellmont, Marion

Area boys teams: Bellmont, New Haven, Heritage, Norwell, South Adams, Hutington North

Boys individuals: Stephen Busch, Bishop Luers; Evan Walda, South Side; Robert McPherson, Wayne; Malique Tai, Wayne; Aaron Carnall, Bluffton; Jared Connor, Woodlan; Corey Oliver, Adams Central; Hudson Shalley, Bluffton; Solomon Bennett, Wayne; Sebastian Wilson, Woodlan; Nathan Lozoya, Southern Wells; Carson Harris, Southern Wells.

Area girls teams: Bishop Luers, Norwell, South Adams, Bellmont, Adams Central, Huntington North, Southern Wells.

Girls individuals: Alexis Grider, South Side; Lilly Biggins, Heritage; Keagan Cole, Bluffton; Elizabeth Kolkman, South Side; Katie Graham, Heritage; Zariah Meador, Woodlan; Autumn Davis, Bluffton; Elayna Kitt, Bluffton; Katelyn Sebring, Heritage; Abbey Gentz, Woodlan

At Culver Academies, 10:30 a.m. / 11:10 a.m.

Feeder sectionals: Culver Academies, Logansport

Area teams: Warsaw boys and girls

At Elkhart Central at Oxbow Park, 10:30 a.m. / 11:15 a.m.

Feeder sectionals: Elkhart Central, South Bend Riley

Area teams: Wawasee boys and girls

Sixteen of Carroll's girls cross country team's 19 regional championships have come in succession since 2001.

This year's team has one goal in mind, but it's not extending the regional streak.

The regional title would be just a stepping stone to bettering the last two years, finishing as state runner-up in the team title.

“The streak, it's something they don't really talk about,” coach Phil Yoder said. “We just run our best race and at the end of the day, if it happens, it happens and eventually that streak will come to an end, they just don't want to be this year. It's something they've talked about, they think about it but they don't really focus on it.”

The Chargers enter the regional championships after a perfect 15-point first-place finish at the Northrop sectional led by freshman Zoe Duffus' 19 minute and 36.6 second 5-kilometer race. Margaret Falater, the team's No. 5 at sectional, finished 13 seconds later, in fifth place.

“I think it gives us a lot of confidence knowing that we've won it the past two years,” junior Meagan Hathaway, the sectional runner-up, said, “and even 16 years (in a row). It's really cool that the tradition has carried on and we have the ability to continue that.”

Duffus has gone nearly two minutes faster this season, lowering the Carroll school record down to 17:45.

“Going into the (sectional) race, our coaches always say that our last race needs to be our best race,” she said, “so these early postseason races, we don't really hold them up to any high standard. We just kind of go out and have fun.”

The runners don't succumb to outside pressures and expectations of others, they focus on running for each other and the accountability of those next to them at the starting line.

“They want to get better for themselves and for their teammates. They're an extremely close team, they run for each other,” Yoder said. “They train together, everything is about them and they know that and they run for the team because they don't want to let anybody down. They put more pressure on themselves than anybody else could.

“The chemistry of this team is really fun. A lot of girls teams have drama but this girls team, they have one goal, one vision, one mind. I have to find ways to get better, myself. They're becoming students of the sport. They're asking me questions and I sometimes I don't have the answers. They're pushing me to be a better coach. I love these girls, I want them to be the best they can, i want to do the best I can be. It's a lot of pressure for me but it's fun.”

After two years as state runner-up and the boys team winning a state title last year, the girls want that top spot.

“They saw the boys, what it took to win a state championship, they've been state runner-up to phenomenal Carmel teams for the past two years so they know what it takes. They know routines so there's no surprises along the way. They definitely want to continue the streak they've had the last few years and want to take that step forward.”

areichel@jg.net