6 Rochester boys set PRs at Manchester Invite, lead to 6th-place team finish
Seward, Rangel shine as shorthanded Lady Zs take 15th; Valley frontrunners include Miller, Myers
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
NORTH MANCHESTER –- After two weeks away from racing, the Rochester boys cross-country team got faster at the Manchester Invitational Saturday.
Meanwhile, the season delved further into the unknown for the Rochester girls.
As for Tippecanoe Valley, they had incomplete girls and boys teams.
The Zebra boys finished sixth out of 17 teams with 167 points. Penn won with 26 points. Of the five teams that finished ahead of Rochester, four of them are larger in size, and only one of them is in their sectional – Culver Academy.
The gap between first place and second place was larger than the gap between third-place Fort Wayne Northrop and the Zebras.
Rochester finished only 24 points behind Culver Academy, whom they will see again on the same Manchester course at the Oct. 9 sectional. But they also finished only two points ahead of the host Squires, whom they will see at both the conference meet Oct. 2 and the sectional.
In fact, only three points separated fifth through eighth places.
Chris Rohr led Rochester in 17:32 and finished 16th in a field of 139 runners. Peyton Hiatt ran a 17:40 and was 19th and, like Rohr, took home a ribbon for finishing in the top 20.
Dylan Steininger ran a 17:53 and was 25th, Wes Steininger ran an 18:31 and was 41st, and freshman Adrian Ochoa ran a 19:50 in his first varsity race and was 73rd. Fellow freshman Reece Johnson tailed him in at 19:52 and was 76th, and Lane Shank ran a 20:39 and was 98th.
After running in heat and humidity at the Zebra Invitational two weeks earlier that coach Eric Linn deemed “miserable,” every runner’s time improved at Manchester. In fact, every Rochester runner set a personal best at Manchester.
Rochester never had three runners break 18 minutes at any point last fall.
“I’ve got to say that some of it was improvement in general,” Linn said. “Just because they did run a lot better. Peyton dropped a lot of time off his last time. He went 17:40 today. He dropped a minute. Not all of that is weather, but a lot of it is weather.”
Every Zebra runner except for Hiatt set a personal best. Rohr is already over a minute faster than he was at last year’s season-ending Logansport regional. Dylan Steininger is 10 seconds faster, and younger brother West is 27 seconds faster.
“They do push each other a lot,” Linn said of the Steininger brothers. “They run together all the time. Often times, they’re running with each other, and they’re pushing each other. So that’s been one of their key things: They’ve probably been the most consistent over the summer getting their mileage in and everything else. So you’re going to see drops in times from them just because they have been that consistent.”
Myers led Valley in 19:02 and was 54th. Isaac Whetstone ran a 20:36 and was 94th, Eli Sterk ran a 21:30 and was 108th, and Aaron Backus was clocked in 24:20 and finished 129th. Myers is a junior, and the other three Valley runners are freshmen.
“He was almost 25 seconds faster on the mile today than what he was last week,” Valley coach Mike Inglehearn said of Myers. “I expected him right around 19. He ran an 18:44 down there at Northfield (last week). I figured right around 19 today with the start and a little bit hillier course.”
Penn’s Mariano Retzloff was the individual champion in 15:55.
Seward, who won the Zebra Invitational, took 23rd in a field of 136 runners at Manchester in 20:41. The goal for Seward was five even-paced kilometers around 4:04 each to achieve a time around 20:20.
Linn said she ran a little faster than that over the first kilometer – he attributed it to nerves and the atmosphere of a big meet – and a little slower than that over the remainder of the race.
Freshman Lucy Rangel started out faster than Seward, struggled in the second mile, and then showed a strong kick to finish in 35th in 21:45 in her first varsity race.
“Being a freshman, she doesn’t know pace yet,” Linn said. “So she took off like a bolt of lightning. … It’s like, hey, maybe we need to back you off just a little bit, and maybe if you back off that first K or so, you’re going to drop 20 or 30 seconds overall. It’s going to be interesting to see what she does later on in the year, especially just because she didn’t run last year.”
Other Rochester runners included Maddie Heinzmann, who was 82nd in 24:06; Greta Brabieri, who ran a 29:39 and placed 131st; and Madalyn Brouyette, who ran a 31:16 and was 133rd.
Heinzmann, Barbieri and Brouyette all improved their times from the Zebra Invitational by multiple minutes.
But the Lady Z delegation was lacking healthy runners. Senior, two-time state qualifier and reigning Three Rivers Conference champion Madilyn Calloway remains out as she recuperates from a stress fracture, but Calloway has begun working out in advance of making it back this season.
Araceli Ochoa was out with a stress fracture. She has begun to work out, and the hopeful return date for her is the New Prairie Invitational on Sept. 18.
Elena Bode missed the meet due to a quarantine and should be back for this weekend’s Valley Invitational.
And Kendyll Bradley missed the meet with a rib injury suffered in a soccer game against Culver two days earlier.
It’s possible that Calloway, Ochoa, Bode and Bradley will vie with Seward, Rangel and Heinzmann to be scoring runners for Rochester if completely healthy.
Linn admitted he asked himself as a coach, What am I going to do now?, when Bradley told him of her soccer injury. But he remains optimistic.
“I’m hoping that everyone is back full 100 percent by the end of the year,” Linn said. “Certain things you can’t always control. I know Calloway and Araceli should be back before too long hopefully. Just having those two back will help out quite a bit.”
Valley’s frontrunner was sophomore Chesnee Miller, who ran a 20:57 and now owns the three fastest times in school history. Her 20:40 at the Northfield Invitational one week earlier is the school record.
“I think with the size of the meet, we’re looking at 22, 23 teams… there was a lot faster start than Northfield,” Inglehearn said. “So comparable. I think she ran the same race. It’s just the start was so much faster that she didn’t have the legs at the end. So that tells me that’s something we’ve got to work on. The mindset and the ability is there.”
Junior Talia Holder was in 27:25.
Led by individual champion Kaylie Politza, Valparaiso won the girls title with 46 points. East Noble was second with 77.
Among sectional rivals of Rochester and Valley, Culver Academy was third and Manchester was sixth.
MANCHESTER INVITATIONAL GIRLS RESULTS (POINTS IN PARENTHESES): Valparaiso 46, East Noble 77, Culver Academy 128, Fort Wayne Northrop 147, Fort Wayne South Side 176, Manchester 193, Fremont 242, Penn 245, NorthWood 258, Fort Wayne Blackhawk 269, Boone Grove 284, Garrett 291, Fort Wayne North Side 326, Mishawaka Marian 350, Rochester 351, Bluffton 379, Whitko 490
Incomplete teams: Tippecanoe Valley, Eastside, Peru, North Miami, Lakewood Park
Rochester results (15th place, 351 points)
23. Zoe Seward – 20:41 (23), 35. Lucy Rangel – 21:45 (34), 82. Maddie Heinzmann – 24:06 (73), 131. Greta Barbieri – 29:39 (110), 133. Madalyn Brouyette – 31:16 (111)
27. Chesnee Miller – 20:57, 120. Talia Holder – 27:25
MANCHESTER INVITATIONAL BOYS RESULTS (POINTS IN PARENTHESES): Penn 26, Morgan Township 66, Fort Wayne Northrop 142, Culver Academy 143, Garrett 166, Rochester 167, Fort Wayne North Side 168, Manchester 169, Bluffton 255, Mishawaka Marian 263, Fort Wayne South Side 276, East Noble 312, Fort Wayne Blackhawk 313, Boone Grove 337, Lakewood Park 396, Peru 473, Eastside 479
Incomplete teams: Tippecanoe Valley, Fremont, Whitko, North Miami
Rochester results (sixth place, 167 points)
16. Chris Rohr – 17:32 (16), 19. Peyton Hiatt – 17:40 (19), 25. Dylan Steininger – 17:53 (25), 41. Wes Steininger – 18:31 (39), 73. Adrian Ochoa – 19:50 (68), 76. Reece Johnson – 19:52, 98. Lane Shank – 20:39, 123. Jacob Brubaker – 23:32, 126. Pablo Lopez – 23:42
54. Evan Myers – 19:02, 94. Isaac Whetstone – 20:36, 108. Eli Sterk – 21:30, 129. Aaron Backus – 24:20
Chris Rohr Zoe Seward