PLAINFIELD — Five of the county’s seven cross country teams took to the course for the first time this past weekend at the Plainfield Hokem Karem at Swinford Park. The opening event for many teams across the area gives the runners a chance to break into the year in a different format.
Runners pair up with a teammate and compete together, switching out laps on the course. The format is fun for everyone involved and gives the athletes their first look at competition in the new fall season.
Avon took first in the girls’ competition and second on the boys’ side.
Ranked 10th overall in the state, the Avon girls showcased their talent with the team of Malyka Abramson and Courtney Kerr winning the event in dominating fashion. The Avon duo finished a full minute and two seconds in front of the second-place team from Cathedral.
“The girls all ran really well today and they’re hard working and dedicated,” Avon coach Brad Rosebrock said. “They’re self motivated and it’s easy to coach them and that goes a long way.”
Avon’s pair of Megan Price and Victoria Collins was the county’s next best finishers in fifth and Kelsie Mothersead and Hannah Jennings took eighth, showcasing the Orioles’ depth.
“We graduated two great seniors last season, but we have had some girls step up and fill those roles in,” Rosebrock said. “This is a good way to start the season, but I’m excited to see our first 5K race and see how we do.”
Plainfield’s Samantha Woodford and Brynn Olinger finished in the top 10 with their seventh-place finish. The pair will make up a strong duo for the Quakers this season.
“I think Woodford had a really good run and, as a pair, it was a strong run,” Plainfield coach Wes Woodson said. “Our second group of Kylie Cason and Marina Pfeil also ran well.”
Brownsburg’s Mackenzie Vandersar and Julia Popenfoose took 12th for the Bulldogs and Megan Newcomer and Melanie Foreman finished 24th for the Warriors as both pairs had the best showings of their schools’ pairings.
Cascade’s Megan Frederick and Hadley Whicker placed 45th for the Cadets.
While as a team the Avon boys took second, it was overall second-place finishers Levi Musson and Matt Sheperd that placed the highest of any county team as they finished second.
“I predicted that they would get third here after finishing eighth last season, and to be able to place second was absolutely incredible,” Cascade coach Steve Harris said.
Avon’s Jordan Mueller and Ross Hughes took fourth and Plainfield’s Abiel Mogos and Robert Weisbach placed eighth.
“I thought our boys ran well, especially our first team that came in eighth with some pretty good competition here,” Woodson said.
Brownsburg’s Justin Hays and Sam Fellers came in 12th and the pairing of Danville’s Brandon Siller and Sam Bratton took 37th.
“These early meets we’re trying to gauge where the guys are and get some great workouts in and we definitely achieved that today,” Brownsburg coach Bret Neylon said. “Justin put in a lot of miles over the summer and looks really strong.”
The competition at this meet was good for the Warriors, Danville coach Pat McKenzie said.
“I was pleased with our consistency today,” he said. “The squad can look at the team aspect with regard to training and it helps them push one another. I think what stands out at this meet is how many people do it and the great thing is you can go out and run anywhere and anyone can be competitive because they train.”