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  • Val T.

Led by Steininger, Rochester boys edge Garrett for Valley Invite crown

Manchester edges Rochester by 1 point for girls title


Sports Editor, RTC

AKRON –- Regardless of the order of finish of their top three runners and regardless of the course at which they run, not much is getting in the way of the Rochester boys cross-country team and the trophies they seek.

At the Tippecanoe Valley Invitational Saturday, Rochester flipped the order with senior Dylan Steininger taking fourth overall in 17:56 to lead the Zebras to the team title with 69 points.

Garrett was second in the field of 13 teams with 73 points. Among other area teams, Caston was ninth with 253, and the host Vikings were 12th with 286.

In the girls race, Manchester topped a field of eight teams with 51 points. Rochester was second with 52, and Tippecanoe Valley was fifth with 119. Caston and Argos had incomplete teams.

Garrett’s Tanner McMain won the boys race in 17:32. Caston’s Austin Dague, who was second in 17:35, was the top area boys finisher.

Garrett’s Nataley Armstrong beat 69 other runners and won the girls individual title in 20:18. Rochester’s Zoe Seward and Valley’s Chesnee Miller took second and third, respectively.

The Valley meet was the final prep race for next week’s New Prairie Invitational, the largest annual prep sporting event in the state.


For Rochester, Peyton Hiatt was seventh in 18:11, Chris Rohr was ninth in 18:16, and Wes Steininger was 16th in 18:48 at the challenging, hilly course that curled along Indiana 19 and also included a steep section in the woods.

Rohr was the individual champion at the Zebra Invitational on Aug. 21 and was also the Rochester frontrunner at the Manchester Invitational on Sept. 4.

This time, McMain and Dague separated themselves from the first pack with the three Rochester runners competing with Lakeland’s Zeke Wachtman, Manchester’s Raven King and Lakeland’s Caden Hostetler and Bethany Christian’s Jesse Bontrager in a secondary pack.

But it was Dylan Steininger who was the first Zebra across the line for the first time.

“He ran there with Chris and Raven (King) from Manchester for about the first 4 or 5K or almost the entire race,” Linn said. “He just gapped them. … He did a great job. He was just trying to keep up with Chris, I think was the game plan. And then he outkicked them all.”

Hiatt ran a measured second mile before coming home with a strong kick.

“It’s just getting pacing down for him too,” Linn said. “And maybe getting some confidence for him just so he does feel like he has that kick again.”

The top Valley runner was Evan Myers, who was 27th in 19:27. Brady Rodgers was 55th in 21:17, Isaac Whetstone was 61st in 21:59, Eli Sterk was 71st in 22:35, and Aaron Backus was 102nd in 25:15. Whetstone, Sterk and Backus are all freshmen.

“They’re really coming into it really nice,” Inglehearn said of the freshmen. “Isaac’s taking off a little bit quicker than the other two. Eli wasn’t too far behind.”

Dague was the top area runner at the Caston Invitational from one week earlier. Caleb Stinson was 44th in 20:46.

Caston sophomore Edison Byrum will miss the season with a broken ankle, according to coach Blair Zimmerman. Zimmerman said Byrum, a 2020 regional qualifier, should return for track season in the spring.

Destin Green was the top Culver finisher, taking 51st in 21:09.

Nudtanum Sangchaitawee was the fastest Argos runner, taking 97th in 25:12.


Armstrong broke away from the pack within the first mile, and Seward was securely in second place for the last two-and-a-half miles before crossing in 21:13, which was 32 seconds slower than her Manchester Invitational time.

Miller finished eight seconds behind Seward and ahead of a group that included Triton’s Jocelynn Faulkner and Manchester’s Ayla Cashdollar and Kadence Fox.

The Valley girls fielded a full squad for the first time this season. In addition to Miller, Bailey Bussard was 23rd in 24:23, Maria Henderon was 42nd in 26:07, Ella Myers was 45th in 26:15, and Talia Holder was 50th in 27:39.

“They’ve had a good week of practice,” Valley coach Mike Inglehearn said. “We changed some things up. Our course is probably a little harder course than what we’ve run so far this year. I thought (Miller) performed well. I know she’s probably not happy with her time, but considering the course and the competition that we had today with a couple of different schools that have never ran here before.”

Rochester’s Lucy Rangel was eighth in 21:49, and Kendyll Bradley (15th, 23:00), Elena Bode (19th, 24:00) and Maddie Heinzmann (20th, 24:08) also finished in the top 20. Bode was back after missing a meet due to quarantine, and Bradley returned after missing a meet with a rib injury suffered while playing soccer.

Bode is “just getting back into it,” according to Linn. He added that Bode had a “rough” first workout after returning but added that it will take time for her to get back into top condition.

“I gave her a little pep talk in the end just to say, ‘Hey, you’re doing great,’” Linn said of his message to Bradley. “You were right there where I wanted you to be.”

Greta Barbieri was 64th in 30:14.

Rochester ran without Madilyn Calloway and Araceli Ochoa, who continue to rehab from stress fractures. Linn said he hoped Ochoa will be back for the New Prairie meet on Saturday. Calloway, a state qualifier in both 2019 and 2020 who won the TRC at the same Valley layout last year, is also expected back this season.

Other area runners finishing in the top 20 included Caston’s Delaney Strasser, who was 13th in 22:41; and Argos’ Ava Stackhouse, who was 17th in 23:26.

Middle school

In the middle school girls race, West Noble won with 32 points while Valley was fifth with 108, and Rochester was eighth with 184. TVMS’ Savana Miller ran a 13:27 and finished eighth.

Argos’ Emily Pippenger and Emma Lyon were 20th and 21st, respectively. Caston’s Hadlie Coffing was 23rd in 14:24, and Rochester’s Allyson Calloway was 36th in 15:11.

Culver won the middle school boys race with 31 points. Jack, Geoff, Tommy and Brady Standfast took third, fourth, fifth and eighth, respectively.

Tippecanoe Valley Invitational girls results: Manchester 51, Rochester 52, Garrett 89, John Glenn 96, Tippecanoe Valley 119, Bremen 131, Northfield 143, Whitko 179, Caston (incomplete team), Argos (incomplete team)

Rochester results (second place, 52 points)

2. Zoe Seward – 21:13, 8. Lucy Rangel – 21:49, 15. Kendyll Bradley – 23:00, 19. Elena Bode – 24:00, 20. Maddie Heinzmann – 24:08, 64. Greta Barbieri – 30:14

Valley results (fifth place, 119 points)

3. Chesnee Miller – 21:21, 23. Bailey Bussard – 24:23, 42. Maria Henderson – 26:07, 45. Ella Myers – 26:15, 50. Talia Holder – 27:39

Caston results

13. Delaney Strasser – 22:41, 34. Stevanna Young – 25:08, 36. Emma Stinson – 25:15, 48. Maddie Sprow – 27:07

Argos results

17. Ava Stackhouse – 23:26, 40. Savannah Lyon – 25:43

Tippecanoe Valley Invitational boys results: Rochester 69, Garrett 73, Manchester 77, Lakeland 85, Bethany Christian 117, Bremen 140, John Glenn 191, Fort Wayne Blackhawk 233, Caston 253, Northfield 266, Jimtown 275, Tippecanoe Valley 286, Triton 357, Culver (incomplete team), Argos (incomplete team)

Rochester results (champions, 69 points)

4. Dylan Steininger – 17:56, 7. Peyton Hiatt – 18:11, 9. Chris Rohr – 18:16, 16. Wes Steininger – 18:48, 33. Adrian Ochoa – 20:02, 49. Reece Johnson – 21:03, 58. Lane Shank – 21:35, 87. Pablo Lopez – 24:11, 90. Jacob Brubaker – 24:18

Caston results (ninth place, 253 points)

2. Austin Dague – 17:35, 44. Caleb Stinson – 20:46, 59. Marshall Finke – 21:40, 85. Connor Sommers – 23:44, 89. Alex Craig – 24:14, 106. Max Sommers – 26:07

Valley results (12th place, 286 points)

27. Evan Myers – 19:27, 55. Brady Rodgers – 21:17, 61. Isaac Whetstone – 21:59, 71. Eli Sterk – 22:35, 102. Aaron Backus – 25:15

Culver results

92. Quaid Primm – 24:46, 93. Aleks Stacy – 24:53

Argos results

97. Nudtanum Sangchaitawee – 25:12, 110. Cameron Force-Fields – 28:45

The Rochester boys cross-country team won the Tippecanoe Valley Invitational title Saturday with 69 points. Front, from left – Reece Johnson, Adrian Ochoa, Lane Shank, Wes Steininger. Back – Pablo Lopez, Chris Rohr, Peyton Hiatt, Dylan Steininger, Jacob Brubaker. (photo provided by Jenny Steininger)

Chesnee Miller Lucy Rangel Austin Dague

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