RENSSELAER — That monkey on Amzie Maienbrook’s back? It’s been sedated and placed back in its cage.
After finishing as the runner-up in both the 2018 and 2019 sectional races at Rensselaer Central, Lady Bomber junior Maienbrook finally broke through Saturday, winning her first individual title.
She held off Kankakee Valley freshman Emma Bell, who kept pace with Maienbrook over the first mile before falling back. A three-time regional qualifier and two-time semistate runner, Maienbrook covered the course at RCHS in 19 minutes, 42.9 seconds.
Bell finished in 20:12.3 and Emma Rakowski of Morgan was third in 20:32.1.
Maienbrook’s finish propelled the Bombers into first position in the team race, holding off Morgan Township. RCHS had 37 points to 39 for the Cherokees.
The top 10 individuals from non-advancing teams and the first five qualifying teams advance to the regional round. Chesterton will host a regional at Sunset Hills Park on Saturday.
The Bombers had seven runners finish among the top 15, including Maienbrook, freshman Ava Barten (sixth in 21:30.6), sophomore Baylie Wuethrich (ninth in 22:03.6), freshman Riley Rentschler (10th in 22:04.1), twin sister Emma Rentschler (11th in 22:08.3), sophomore Solcy Sanchez (12th in 22:11.4) and sophomore Rheannon Pinkerman (15th in 22:24.4).
Morgan — the pre-race favorite — had six runners in the top 17, going 3, 5, 7, 8, 16 and 17.
Kankakee Valley had 84 points for third place, with Bell, freshman Audrey Campbell (13th in 22:14.7) and senior Halle Frieden (14th in 22:21.6) placing in the top 20. North Judson had 148 points for fourth and Knox took the last qualifying spot with 163 points.
Morgan Township junior Owen Thomas, meanwhile, was the runaway winner of the boys’ race, flying over the course in 17:06.2 to beat runner-up Tristan Wuethrich of Rensselaer (17:18.2) by 16 seconds.
Wuethrich, just a sophomore, finished in the top five for the second straight year. It was Thomas’ first individual title.
KV’s Justin Hoffman was third in 17:33.9 and Covenant Christian’s Jonah Ingram, a junior, placed fourth in 17:38.3. South Newton senior Kyle Hall rounded out the top five with a time of 17:49.3.
Morgan Township won the team title with 33 points, placing five runners in the top 11 and seven in the top 20. KV was second with 75 points, followed by Rensselaer Central (90), South Newton (131) and Knox, which secured the fifth qualifying spot on its sixth runner’s finish. The Redskins tied West Central at 136 to force a tiebreaker.
Kouts was seventh, Covenant Christian — which had just its second team score at sectional — was eighth and North Newton placed ninth.