By GREG KEIM
THE GOSHEN NEWS
It was the Northridge show Tuesday night in the local high school boys and girls cross country sectionals at Ox Bow County Park with the Raiders taking home both team trophies.
The Northridge girls had the third, fourth and fifth runners on the way to a team score of 37 points. Wawasee was second at 76, followed by Concord 94, Elkhart Memorial 132, Goshen 133, Fairfield 135, Elkhart Christian 156, NorthWood 226, Elkhart Central 230 and Jimtown 261.
Blake O’Dell won the boys individual title as Northridge posted a team score of 24 points. Goshen was second at 71, followed by Wawasee 109, NorthWood 115, Elkhart Central 130, Fairfield 141, Elkhart Memorial 179, Jimtown 240 and Elkhart Christian 257.
The top five teams and top 10 individuals not on advancing teams move on to the regional Saturday at Ox Bow. The boys race is at 10 a.m. and the girls at 10:30.
Sierra Moore of Memorial won the girls race (18:53).
Olivia Golden was third (19:32), Morgan Blyly fourth (19:57) and McKenzie Love fifth (19:58) to lead Northridge.
“The girls had a great night,” Northridge coach Ryan McClane said. “Olivia was our frontrunner last year and was the sectional champion. She hasn’t quite been at the level this year, but tonight stepped it up.
‘We still have some holes to fill, but the good thing is there is competition. Carly Spirito ran her first postseason in four years. She was our fifth runner (16th overall in 21:05). It was her personal best time by 25 or 30 seconds.”
Kayla Casaletto of Elkhart Christian was the runner-up to Moore (19:23).
“I’m really pleased,” said her father and coach Peter Casaletto. “The goal was to have try and stick with Moore. Not at the beginning of the race, because Moore just goes out so fast. Kayla ran a personal best for this course and we have not started peaking her yet.
“I was also impressed with Maddie Morehead (sixth in 20:06). Maddie is a race-day runner. She does not look like this in practice.”
The Goshen Redskins grabbed the final regional qualifying spot, led by Tricia Place (17th in 21:09), Annelise Wiebe (26th in 21:25) and Adrienne Henke (29th in 21:37).
“Some fans had scored it out and had us missing the fifth spot by six points so we were a little bummed, but it was really exciting hearing our name called,” Goshen coach Mike Wynn said. “All the girls ran well today.”
Henke had been dealing with health issues most of the season.
“I’m finally feeling better,” she said. “I have been taking iron supplements. My low iron count was making it hard to breath. I really had problems at NLC when it was warm and humid. My time was about two minutes slower than normal. Today is was a lot better.
“It’s awesome we made it to regional. We knew we were in a battle for the fifth spot.”
Fairfield just missed the fifth sport by two points.
“We had a couple of slip ups and you can’t have those at this level,” Fairfield coach Kirt Hunsberger said. “We had some runners passed at the finish line and you can’t give back places like that.”
O’Dell led most of the boys race.
“The weather conditions were a little more to my liking today,” O’Dell said. “I didn’t have a strategy other than to just run the race. The first K was a little rough. After that I took the lead. I wasn’t really pushing the pace. I wanted to save my finish for Saturday.”
Conner Sandt was second (16:30) and Neel Patel fourth (16:36) for the Raiders.
“The boys had a great night,” McClane said. “This is the kind of effort we have been seeing in practice, but not in the meets.
“Patel had a huge personal best for us. He ran a 16:46 last year at state and we were expecting big things this ear, but her has been stuck around the 17:00 to 17:05 marl all season.
“I told the guys there is nothing better than for me to run to the finish line to congratulate them.”
Goshen was led by Gerardo Abad (third in 16:35), Shawn Graves (sixth in 16:58) and Ricardo Castillo (10th in 17:08).
“Gerardo, Shawn and Ricardo all ran great,” Wynn said. “The three of them have been tight all season.
“Andrew Pillow has been a JV runner for, but moved up based on his performance in the NLC. Tonight he was our fifth runner (18:01).”
NorthWood snared a spot in the regional led by Caleb Darr (seventh in 16:59).
“This has been a long time coming,” NorthWood coach Justin Bell said. “I think 1991 as the last time we went to regional. This team has tremendous potential. We have 15 sophomores and six freshmen. Four of our top seven runners were from that group.”
Girls Team Scores
1, Northridge 37; 2, Wawasee 76; 3, Concord 94; 4, Elkhart Memorial 132; 5, Goshen 133; 6, Fairfield 135; 7, Elkhart Christian 156; 8, NorthWood 226; 9, Elkhart Central 230; 10, Jimtown 261.
Top 20 Girls
1, Sierra Moore (Elkhart Memorial) 18:53; 2, Kayla Casaletto (Elkhart Christian) 19:23; 3, Olivia Golden (Northridge) 19:32; 4, Morgan Blyly (Northridge) 19:57; 5, McKenzie Love (Northridge) 19:58; 6, Maddie Morehead (Elkhart Christian) 20:06; 7, Breanna Robinson (Wawasee) 20:17; 8, Vanessa Steiner (Concord) 20:19; 9, Amanda Dibley (Elkhart Central) 20:22; 10, Hannah Yeakey (Bethany Christian) 20:24; 11, Katelyn Kilmer (Northridge) 20:42; 12, Bridgette Yoder (Wawasee) 20:46; 13, Anna Nisen (Concord) 20:46; 14, Courtne Linnemeier (Wawasee) 20:46; 15, Taylor Stidham (Fairfield) 20:55; 16, Carly Spirito (Northridge) 21:05; 17, Tricia Place (Goshen) 21:09; 18, Megan Campbell (Northridge) 21:09; 19, Molly Schwartz (Wawasee) 21:11; 20, Hailey Moore (Elkhart Memorial) 21:12.
Boys Team Scores
Northridge 24; 2, Goshen 71; 3, Wawasee 109; 4, NorthWood 115; 5, Elkhart Central 130; 6, Fairfield 141; 7, Concord 175; 8, Elkhart Memorial 179; 9, Jimtown 240; 10, Elkhart Christian 257.
Top 20 Boys
1, Blake O’Dell (Northridgge) 16:22; 2, Conner Sandt (Northridge) 16:30; 3, Gerardo Abad (Goshen) 16:36; 4, Neel Patel (Northridge) 16:36; 5, Adam Doll (Wawasee) 16:38; 6, Shawn Graves (Goshen) 16:58; 7, Caleb Darr (NorthWood) 16:59; 8, James Bradberry (Northridge) 17:03; 9, Nolan Rodes (Northridge) 17:05; 10, Ricardo Castillo (Goshen) 17:08; 11, Chet Samuels (Elkhart Central) 17:16; 12, Zach Cockrill (Wawasee) 17:16; 13, Domini Proffitt (Concord) 17:18; 14, Alexander Oberlin (Fairfield) 17:20; 15, Nathan Miller (Fairfield) 17:20; 16, Phil Kilmer (Northridge) 17:25; 17, Landon Miller (Fairfield) 17:26; 18, Lane Graves (Goshen) 17:27; 19, Ryan Shank (Concord) 17:28; 20, Spencer Dibley (Elkhart Memorial) 17:30.