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  • Val T.

All-RTC boys cross-country: Regional champion Dodt is RTC Runner of Year


Sports Editor, RTC

It was the biggest surprise of the area boys cross-country season.

RTC Runner of the Year Leighton Dodt

Pioneer’s Leighton Dodt had certainly shown that he was a talented runner, but could he beat some of his rivals like Kolbey Wegner of Winamac, Isaiah Wittenberg of Maconaquah and a bevy of strong runners from Warsaw and Culver Academy at the regional.

In fact, he could beat those runners and proved that he belonged in the discussion with them. He jumped out to a big, early lead and cruised to a win on the Culver Academy course, winning in 16:51.

That came one week after he ran a 16:59 at sectional and two weeks after he ran 16:58 at the conference meet.

For that three-week stretch, Dodt, a sophomore, is our RTC Runner of the Year for boys cross-country.

As for our area teams, the highlight was Rochester making semistate as a team again. Numbers were down slightly, but teams still boasted quality throughout our area, and here are the runners who made the all-RTC team.

Again, we emphasize the end-of-season meets, including conference and the IHSAA state tournament series. We thank area coaches for their assistance, but this list is ours and ours alone, and we take full responsibility.


First team

  • Leighton Dodt (Pioneer) (Runner of the Year) – Dodt took the promise he showed as a freshman and took it a step further as a sophomore. Dodt is a front-running, pacesetting type.

  • Chris Rohr (Rochester) – Rohr was the lone senior on the Rochester boys team and he showed leadership in helping the team win the Tippecanoe Valley Invitational and later qualify for regional. He later broke 17 minutes for the first time when he ran a 16:59 at the Culver Academy regional.

  • Carson Meyer (Pioneer) – Meyer is a rangy athlete with a long stride who broke 17:30 multiple times.

  • Wes Steininger (Rochester) – Steininger was consistently in the 17:20-17:45 range all year and was a consistent No. 2 behind Rohr on a semistate qualifying team.

  • Grant Bailey (Rochester) – Bailey showed promise early in the season and then dropped even more time once his soccer season ended. He’s a naturally gifted freshman.

  • Austin Dague (Caston) – Dague closed out his outstanding career by helping lead the Comets to the Hoosier North title and later qualifying for semistate as an individual.

  • Edison Byrum (Caston) – Unfortunately for Byrum, it was his own teammate Dague who knocked him out of a semistate spot at the regional. Still, if Byrum stays healthy, we think he’ll have a good chance at being a semistate qualifier next year,

  • Destin Green (Culver) – Green was a one-man pack at Culver whose season was highlighted by running 17:12 and taking fourth at the Hoosier North meet.

Honorable mention

  • Jack Cooper (Pioneer)

  • Adrian Ochoa (Rochester)

  • Marshall Finke (Caston)

  • Reece Johnson (Rochester)

  • Isaac Whetstone (Tippecanoe Valley)

  • Reece Johnson (Rochester)

  • Lane Shank (Rochester)

  • Austin Brooke (Pioneer)

Top: Chris Rohr, Wes Steininger, Grant Bailey

Bottom: Austin Dague, Edison Byrum, Carson Meyer

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