VALPARAISO — Rensselaer Central’s girls’ distance runners put their best feet forward in their first-ever run at Sunset Hill County Park Saturday.
The Bombers’ own version of the magnificent seven — led by top 11 finishers Amzie Maienbrook and Kelsie Wuethrich — attacked the Sunset Hill course, the site of this year’s Chesterton Regional. The end result was a fourth-place finish and advancement to the New Prairie Semistate this Saturday.
Maienbrook, a sophomore, finished 10th overall for the young Bombers, who had three freshmen, a sophomore, a junior and two seniors compete at the regional. Maienbrook covered the 5,000-meter course in 20 minutes, 1.8 seconds.
Wuethich, a senior, finished in 11th in 20:07.9 and two other runners — freshmen Rheannon Pinkerman and Baylie Wuethrich — finished 25th and 29th, respectively for RCHS.
Pinkerman’s time was 20:58.6 and Baylie Wuethrich finished in 21:00.8. Senior Piper Sell added to the scoring with a 46th-place finish in 21:55.8, giving the Bombers 102 points.
Valparaiso won the team title with 46 points, followed by Portage (70), Chesterton (86), RCHS and Wheeler (109). Wheeler beat the Bombers for the Hammond Gavit Invitational title last month.
Freshman Solcy Sanchez (49th) and junior Alyse Musch (64th) also competed for the Bombers.
Valpo senior Ava Gilliana won the race in 18:36.2. Kouts freshman Kassidy Gregory, who finished third to Kelsie Wuethrich and Maienbrook at last week’s sectional, was an impressive fourth overall in 19:43.6.
Kankakee Valley senior Sam Martin was 40th in 21:35.5 and teammate Halle Frieden, a junior, placed 45th in 21:54.5. Emiliee Wilson (52nd), Keely DeKock (57th) and Sam Sullivan (65th) also scored for the Kougars, who finished ninth overall.
Olivia Sheehy and Abby Robinson also competed for coach Lane Lewallen’s squad.
Delaney Farmer was 61st for South Newton and Kylie Blann placed 66th for North Newton. Brandi McQueen (69th) and Madelyn Arenholz (74th) also competed for the Spartans and West Central senior Camille Wuethrich was 78th overall. Aubree Florian also competed for the Lady Rebels.
In the boys’ race, KVHS came within two points of qualifying for its first semistate in 14 years, placing sixth with 145 points to 143 for Wheeler. Valparaiso was the team champion (34 points), followed by Chesterton (71), New Prairie (84) and LaPorte (130).
Senior Tim O’Laughlin of New Prairie was the individual champion in 16:12.7. RCHS sectional champion Kohler Peterson of Covenant Christian was fourth overall in 16:31.3 and will compete in his second semistate race this week.
The Kougars did qualify two individuals for the semistate, with senior Ethan Tillema finishing among the top 10 in 16:46.9. Sophomore teammate Justin Hoffman was 16th in 17:02.2.
RCHS will send freshman Tristen Wuethrich to the semistate race after he finished 29th in 17:22.5. He was the only first-year runner to finish among the top 35 and just one of two to finish in the top 50.
Also scoring for the Kougars were senior Tristen Thomas (38th), senior Micah Adams (53rd) and sophomore Adam Collard (59th).
Senior Jacob Parrish was 42nd in 17:53.3 for the Bombers and classmate Camden Chapman finished 56th in 18:31.9. Freshman Nolan Potts (67th) and junior Geoffrey Hopkins placed 69th.
Junior Will Messman was 71st and senior Rodney Woudema finished 76th.
Luke Bristol (65th) and Zach Meadows (78th) also competed for KV and junior Kyle Hall was South Newton’s top finisher in 64th place.
Gavin Secviar, a senior, was North Newton’s top finisher in 66th place. Ryan Williams (73rd), Isaac Knights (83rd) and Joe Smith (89th) also competed for the Spartans. Nolan Ganz was 83rd for the Rebels.