Start fast, finish strong and move on.
That was the theme for local runners at Saturday’s boys and girls cross-country regional at Blue River Park in Shelbyville.
Franklin won the boys race, highlighting a local sweep of the top three spots, Greenwood in second and Center Grove in third. The Grizzly Cubs tallied a team score of 44. Greenwood had 96, and Center Grove had 97.
The top five teams and top 10 individuals on non-advancing teams qualified for the semistate at Northview Christian Church in Carmel on Saturday.
Running in a three-member pack for most of the race, Franklin senior Peter Hostetter (eighth), sophomore Josh Campbell (10th) and freshman Andrew Bixler (12th) earned 23 of the team’s 44 points.
“Throughout the season we’ve gotten better and better, and I attribute a lot of that to our senior leadership,” Cubs coach Adam Schwartz said. “We’ve also had some phenomenal freshmen come in and push our upperclassmen.
“Of the goals we’ve had, we’ve done a pretty good job of achieving those.”
Winning the race in a record-time of 15 minutes was Oldenburg Academy junior Curt Eckstein.
For second-place Greenwood, senior Hunter Smith placed second and Whiteland senior Jared Williams was fourth among the 88 runners.
Smith, who had a fourth-place finish in last week’s Franklin Sectional, was quick from start to finish with a time of 15 minutes 57.04 seconds.
“I really like this course because there aren’t a whole lot of sharp turns, and it’s pretty flat,” Smith said. “But it was an extremely fast race.”
Williams, along with Greenwood Christian Academy senior Hunter Slater, who was 12th overall, move on as individual semistate qualifiers.
Top runners for third-place Center Grove were freshman J.T. Hodges and juniors Nolan Miller and Adam Russell, placing 20th, 21st and 22nd, respectively.
In the girls race, there was no surprise who crossed the finish line first.
Greenwood Christian Academy junior Allie Dalton, last week’s sectional winner, led wire-to-wire for the victory in a time of 18:02.
Dalton said her strategy was to stay calm, knowing that this week’s semistate and state to follow are the ultimate goal.
“At first I wasn’t really sure I was going to go out and work as hard in the race because the more important race is in a couple weeks,” Dalston said. “But after the boys race, I saw how fast the times were, so I decided it was going to be a good opportunity to get under the 18-minute mark, but I was two seconds short of that.”
Center Grove won the team race, followed by Southport, East Central, Mooresville and Greensburg. Franklin was sixth.
Seniors Valeria Clark and Taylor Hickey placed fifth and eighth, respectively, for the Trojans. Teammates Rachel Chan (13th), Victoria Martin (14th) and Alex Kovacs (18th) were also in the top 20.
For Whiteland, junior Kaley Brewer finished 22nd overall, and Franklin senior Zosia Piotrowski placed 23rd, each qualifying for a spot in the Carmel Semistate.
Indian Creek runners advance
Indian Creek’s Tucker Dawson and Isabel Dawson are headed to semistate.
The Dawsons advanced with their performances in Saturday’s Brown County Regional at Eagle Park. They were competing as individuals after the Braves were eliminated from the team competition in the sectional.
Isabel Dawson, a junior, finished 21st in the girls race in 21 minutes, 4.77 seconds for 5,000 meters (3.1 miles). Tucker Dawson, a senior, took 26th in the boys race in 17:04.76.
The Brown County Semistate is Saturday. The boys race begins at 12:30 p.m., followed by the girls race at 1:15 p.m.