Three Blackford cross country runners advanced to the IHSAA Regional next week, while two others showed the definition of sportsmanship while competing at the cross country sectional at Indiana Wesleyan University today.
Lady Bruin junior Natalie Thurman raced to a 17th place finish, earning the second individual spot for the ladies while teammate freshman Ruby Slentz followed suit with a 28th place finish, taking the fifth individual spot. The top 5 teams advance to the Regional, while the top 10 individuals not on an advancing team also move on.
The third Bruin to advanced was junior Brayden Roberts who secured the sixth individual spot at Regional with his 27th place finish.
Oak Hill won the girls title with 32 points, while also advancing were Huntington North, Northfield, Mississinewa, and Southern Wells.
Wabash won the boys title with 37 points while the four other teams advancing include Oak Hill, Huntington North, Eastbrook, and Mississinewa.
Another highlight from the day, representing the Face of Sportsmanship as advertised by the IHSAA, were BHS juniors Cam Rinker and Josh Jennings. The two Bruin runners were seen helping a fellow runner who stumbled, repeatedly, throughout the course.
“We have some really great kids,” stated Coach Holly Caldwell. “It is awesome to see them recognized for their talents and their actions.”
Athletic Director Tony Uggen also posted a note he received today and commended the two Bruins. He wrote, “They helped him up, sacrificing their own times, and encouraged him to run with them the rest of the race. This is awesome! Proud of our Bruins!”
The rest of the Bruins ran their last race of the season today. It was bittersweet for three young runners who narrowly missed advancing to next Saturday’s Regional: freshman Sami Williamson; sophomore Drew Caldwell and freshman Noah Kitterman. Sophomore Lance Manley, Rinker and Jennings raced tough on the slippery course, according to Caldwell.
“We have a lot to be proud of this season,” Caldwell said. “The men’s team improved their overall time by over five minutes and finished one place better from last year’s Sectional performance, in poorer conditions. We qualified one more individual for Regional with 3 others quite close. Most importantly, everywhere we raced we represented Blackford well in our efforts and our attitudes. The future also looks bright, as we return every runner who ran in the Sectional this morning.
The boys team finished 10th out of 11 complete teams.
The Regional will be right back at Indiana Wesleyan University next Saturday.
27 Brayden Roberts
47 Drew Caldwell
49 Noah Kitterman
60 Lance Manley
65 Cam Rinker
67 Josh Jennings
out of 75 runners
17 Natalie Thurman
28 Ruby Slentz
41 Sami Williamson
out of 58 runners