LAFAYETTE — Kankakee Valley senior Justin Hoffman and Rensselaer Central junior Tristen Wuethrich claimed top-10 finishes at the annual Lafayette Harrison Cross Country Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 4.
The meet was held at the Tippecanoe Amphitheater.
Hoffman finished fifth overall in a time of 15 minutes, 43 seconds. He was just 10 seconds off the winning time of 15:33 turned in by Drew Hogan of Goshen.
Hoffman’s time was 50 seconds better than his previous season best and the top finish in Lafayette by a male KVHS runner in two decades.
“Justin’s races in the last two weeks have been uncontested,” KV coach Tim Adams said. “He’s had this eyes on this meet at a place to make a statement and to break 16 minutes for the first time. An injury held him back last season, so now he’s turning heads.”
The last time Hoffman competed at the Harrison invite, he finished in 16:58.
Goshen put three of its runners in the top four, with Cole Raymond of LaPorte breaking up the pack with a third-place finish in 15:39.
Wuethrich, meanwhile, had the best time of his career at 16:18 for 10th place to earn a medal.
Twenty-five teams and 180 runners competed in the race, with Goshen (59 points) and Bloomington South (63) going 1-2. Lake Central was third and West Lafayette fourth.
KVHS had 353 points for 12th place and RCHS finished 14th with 416 points. It was the Bombers’ best finish at the Harrison invite in over two decades, according to coach Sid Dobson.
Scoring for the Kougars were Hoffman, Ethan Ehrhardt (17:24) in 41st place, who had a four-second improvement over where he left off last season, Adams said; Luke Bristol (season-best 17:59) in 72nd place, Marino De Le Paz (personal-best 19:20) in 120th place and Brock Maple (season-best 19:45) in 130th.
Ethan Kelly also competed in the varsity race, while Nikolai De La Paz Marino, Caden Adams, Thomas Ketchem and Luke Lukasik participated in the junior varsity race.
For Covenant Christian, Nathan Bennett, a senior, was 81st overall in 18:09. Freshman Hunter Drain was 115th in 19:07, Devin Hoffman was 152nd in 20:52 and sophomore Ewan McNamara finished 170th in 22:08. Evan Decavitch also competed for the Knights, placing 174th. As a team, Covenant was 21st among the 25 teams.
RCHS senior Amzie Maienbrook had her best showing at the Harrison Invitational with a 17th-place finish in 19:45.
It was one of four PRs on the afternoon for the Bombers, with Audrey Davisson (79th) finishing 22:47, Solcy Sanchez (87th) covering the course in 22:05 and Annalise Yeager (140th) in 23:32. Rheannon Pinkerman (23:13), Gracie Castle (25:03) and Emily Dobson (27:18) also competed for the Bombers.
KV sophomore Emma Bell had a top-25 finish, placing 25th overall in 19:57. Her time helped the Kougars keep pace with RCHS, finishing 17th in the team standings.
Freshman Addie Johnson followed up teammate Bell’s finish by placing 88th in 22:05. Senior Emilee Wilson was 92nd in 22:18, freshman Natalie Walker was 123rd in 23:07 and senior Juliana Balog rounded out the scorecard by finishing 147th in 23:53.
Liv Sheehy and Taylor Anderson also competed for coach Lane Lewallen’s squad, placing 165th and 168th. According to Lewallen, all of KV’s runners had season- or personal-best times.
Covenant Christian of DeMotte also brought a small squad to the Amphitheater, with sophomore Sophie Bakker covering the course in 54th place in 20:55. Junior Gabbi Zeilenga was 71st in 21:34, freshman Clair Bakker was 128th in 23:15, junior Hannah Frump finished 145th in 23:48 and freshman Abby Talarek was 155th in 24:29.
Zeilenga and Frump took time away from soccer to compete in the race.