Rochester girls, boys cross-country come up ‘bog,’ advance to semistate at muddy Culver Academy
Pioneer’s Montgomery, Winamac’s Smith, Hoover, Valley’s Miller advance to girls semistate; Caston’s Dague, Winamac’s Wegner advance in boys race
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
CULVER –- The Rochester runners felt some utter joy at the Culver Academy cross-country regional Saturday.
Perhaps one can call it mudder joy.
Running on a swampy course soaked in late-week rains, the Zebra girls and boys teams both advanced as teams to the semistate.
The Rochester girls scored 90 points finished second out of 10 teams. The Rochester boys were fourth with 117 points.
The girls reached semistate for the fifth straight year. Though the Zebra boys missed out on semistate last year, they have now made it nine times in the last 11 years.
The top five teams and top 10 individuals on non-advancing teams in each gender advanced to the semistate, which will be held at New Prairie at 11:30 a.m. Eastern this Saturday.
The Winamac girls finished seventh, and the Winamac boys finished 10th. Three Winamac runners – Maggie Smith and Kadence Hoover in the girls race and Kolbey Wegner in the boys race – advanced as individuals.
The Pioneer boys placed eighth and had no individuals advance.
In addition to Wegner, the other area boys runner to advance was Caston’s Austin Dague, who placed ninth overall and third among individuals on non-advancing teams in 17:50.
Area girls advancing included Pioneer sophomore Violet Montgomery, who was 11th overall and third among runners on non-advancing teams in 20:52; Smith, who was 16th overall and seventh among runners on non-advancing teams in 21:08; Hoover, a freshman who trailed right behind Smith in 21:13 and was 17th overall and eighth among runners on non-advancing teams; and Tippecanoe Valley’s Chesnee Miller, who ran a 21:15 to finish 19th overall and 10th among individuals on non-advancing teams.
Warsaw won their ninth consecutive girls regional and their 10th consecutive boys regional.
Culver Academy, Maconaquah and Western also won girls semistate team berths while the Culver Academy (second place), Plymouth (third) and Northwestern (fifth) boys also advanced.
Every girl who ran 21:15 or faster advanced. Every boy who ran 18:37 or faster also moved on.
Northwestern’s Hannah Moore, who ran a 19:41, and Culver Academy’s Sam Tullis, who ran a 16:59, were the individual champions.
In the boys meet, Tullis jumped ahead of the first pack at the one-mile mark, and Maconaquah’s Isaiah Wittenberg and a trio of Warsaw runners – Garrett Hall, Harrison Phipps and Luke Nier – followed those two.
Dague was in a pack behind that group.
And behind them was Hiatt, who crossed in 12th place in the field of 91 runners in 18:05. Dylan Steininger and Chris Rohr were behind Hiatt in 18:20 and 18:22, respectively. Wes Steininger was 29th in 18:40, and Adrian Ochoa was 50th in 19:35.
“I knew even with the lightest rain, CMA is super sloppy,” Hiatt said. “So when it was raining all day yesterday, I started thinking about what we were going to do, and I decided last night that I’m not going to look at my time at all. It’s going to be all place. I wanted to get between 10 and 15, and I got 12th.”
Dylan Steininger and Hiatt are going to semistate for the fourth straight year. They made it as part of the Zebra team in 2018 and 2019 and as individuals in 2020.
He said he will back off on the training, from 50 miles per week two weeks ago to 40 miles prior to regional to 35 miles to get ready for semistate. Plus, there will be one hard workout at practice this week instead of the usual two.
“I’m glad this is as a team this year rather than just individually,” Steininger said. “It feels nice to have a good team bond together.”
Munster, coached by former Rochester coach Scott Stalbaum, will also be in the New Prairie field. Hiatt said Stalbaum texted him before the regional to wish him a good race.
“Getting a text from him this morning was really encouraging, but running against him and seeing what he can bring to the table with his new team, that’s going to be really fun. It’s not going to be brawl competition, but it’s just going to be fun running against him for one last time. Last race against my old coach.”
Wes Steininger’s time was 20 seconds faster than his sectional time for Manchester one week earlier. Ochoa’s time was 25 seconds faster than Manchester.
Still, the most important accomplishment was fourth place, according to coach Eric Linn. They beat Northwestern, the Logansport sectional champions, by 24 points for fourth place.
“I told them coming in I don’t care about time at all,” Linn said. “I’m more worried about placing. So, hey, you know kind of where you’ve been and who you’ve been around, so find that person and just stick with them as long as you can. … With the muddy conditions today, it’s probably at least 20 seconds slow and it might be more.”
As for the girls race, that was a two-runner race between Moore, the Logansport sectional champion, and Warsaw’s Josefina Rastrelli, the Manchester sectional champ, for the first mile. By the second mile, Moore had broken into the clear, and she beat Rastrelli by 20 seconds.
Lewis Cass’ Makenna Leicht and Maconaquah’s Abby Jordan, the TRC champion, were in a secondary pack and finished third and fourth, respectively.
After those two, Rochester’s Madilyn Calloway and Zoe Seward broke free and ran side by side for most of the second half of the race. Calloway’s stronger kick gave her fifth place in a field of 90 runners in 20:25, and Seward was sixth in 20:29.
“The course was a little hard to run on, but it was also fun,” Calloway said.
Said Seward: “I’m really proud of our team and how far we’ve gone.”
Lucy Rangel was 26th in 21:51, Araceli Ochoa was 28th in 21:55, and Kendyll Bradley was 26th in 22:15 to close out the list of scoring runners. Elena Bode was 49th in 23:21, and Maddie Heinzmann was 54th in 23:36.
While Calloway and Bode can say they made it to semistate four straight years, the training for this season is designed for the team to peak at semistate. Calloway was an individual state qualifier in 2019 and 2020.
“I’ve been thinking about next week a lot,” Calloway said. “I’m very nervous but also very excited because it could be my last race in my high school career, but it could also be a race to try to have one more race.”
Rangel was 25 seconds slower than her sectional time, but Ochoa was four seconds faster and Bradley was three seconds faster than their sectional times. That trio could hold the key to whether Rochester could threaten their best ever semistate finish, which was eighth in 2012.
Linn said the girls try not to talk about semistate
“I think Lucy and Araceli are going to need to be 20:50s, and Kendyll is probably going to need 21:30, 21:20, somewhere in there, and just see what happens,” Linn said. “Making it out is the goal. So that’s kind of why it’s always been we’re going to try to peak at semistate because that’s our main goal is to make it to state and see what we can do.”
In the boys race, Wegner stayed in the top 20 throughout, and he powered through the quagmire conditions to finish in 18:11, good for 16th place overall and seventh among individuals on non-advancing teams.
The heartbreaker was Cristian Cardenas, whose prep career ended after finishing 11th among individuals on non-advancing teams and missing out on semistate by four seconds in 18:41.
Other Winamac boys included junior Tyler Tankersley, who was 73rd in 20:56; senior Clay Kistler, who was 75th in 20:58; Evan Eaton, who was 80th in 21:19; and A.J. Rimpler, who was 89th in 24:19.
In the girls meet, Winamac, who won the Hoosier North team title two weeks earlier, finished seven points out of sixth place and nine points behind Western, who got the final team semistate spot.
There was little separation between Smith, a sophomore, and Hoover, a freshman, for most of the race, and they crossed in 16th and 17th place in 21:08 and 21:13, respectively.
Other Winamac striders included Kelsey Wegner, who was 35th in 22:12; Alexis Sheets, who was 47th in 23:02; and Ariana Gualajara, who was 56th in 23:46; Bethany Poor, who was 59th in 24:09; and Kate Collins, who was 71st in 24:59.
Pioneer’s top three runners also ran as a pack and finished within seconds of each other, all within 35th through 39th places. Sophomore Jackson Baker ran an 18:54, sophomore Carson Meyer ran 19:00, and freshman Leighton Dodt ran a 19:01. Baker finished 17 seconds out of the final individual regional spot.
Jack Cooper, who was 51st in 19:35; Austin Brooke, who was 55th in 19:43; Ryan Adams, who was 83rd in 21:52; and Eli Rans, who was 88th in 23:06, rounded out the Panther lineup.
In the girls race, Montgomery dealt with the difficult course – “the mud just wore you down,” Montgomery said afterwards – and hung just behind three Warsaw runners before crossing in 20:52, good for 11th place overall and third among runners on non-advancing teams.
“It feels great,” Montgomery said. “I went last year, and I just know how the race is, and it’s so much fun with all those girls running at semistate next weekend, so yeah, I’m very excited.”
Senior Kylie Farris’ prep career ended after she finished in 31st place in 22:00.
Miller ran at a consistent pace throughout and hung tough to get the final individual spot in 21:15. Miller beat out Manchester’s Ayla Cashdollar for that final spot, and that was a noteworthy accomplishment: Cashdollar finished nine seconds ahead of Miller at the sectional but 16 seconds behind her at the regional.
Freshman Bailey Bussard finished 51st in her first regional and clocked in at 23:25.
Valley’s frontrunner in the boys race was freshman Isaac Whetstone, who was 64th overall in 20:08. Other Valley runners included junior Evan Myers, who was 76th in 21:03, and junior Brady Rodgers, who was 78th in 21:17.
Dague’s time in the muck was 17:50, just three seconds slower than his time at the much dryer Manchester course the previous week at the sectional. Dague also beat two runners – Hiatt and Culver Academy’s Hunter Miller – who beat him at the sectional.
Other Caston runners included Caleb Stinson, who was 70th in 20:49, and Brady Evans, who was 85th in 22:31.
The Caston girls frontrunner was junior Delaney Strasser, who scooted home in 22:48 and placed 42nd. Mackenzi Roudebush was 68th in 24:44, and Emma Stinson was 72nd in 25:05 in her final prep cross-country run.
Argos freshmen Ava Stackhouse and Savannah Lyon are part of a talented crop of area ninth-graders, and they finished in 44th and 45th, respectively, in 22:51 and 22:55.
Both Culver runners – Rose Peterson in the girls race and Destin Green in the boys race – are juniors, and they had similar placings in their first regional.
Peterson was 64th in 24:33. Green was 65th in 20:09.
Culver Academy girls regional results (points in parentheses; top five teams advance): Warsaw 46, Rochester 90, Culver Academy 111, Maconaquah 118, Western 136, Manchester 138, Winamac 145, Plymouth 185, Lewis Cass 203, Northwestern 235
Rochester (second place, 90 points)
5. Madilyn Calloway – 20:25 (5), 6. Zoe Seward – 20:29 (6), 26. Lucy Rangel – 21:51 (23), 28. Araceli Ochoa – 21:55 (25), 36. Kendyll Bradley – 22:15 (31), 49. Elena Bode – 23:21, 54. Madison Heinzmann – 23:36
Winamac (seventh place, 145 points)
16. Maggie Smith – 21:08 (15), 17. Kadence Hoover – 21:13 (16), 35. Kelsey Wegner – 22:12 (30), 47. Alexis Sheets – 23:02 (38), 56. Ariana Gualajara – 23:46 (46), 59. Bethany Poor – 24:09, 71. Kate Collins – 24:59
42. Delaney Strasser – 22:48, 68. Mackenzi Roudebush – 24:44, 72. Emma Stinson – 25:05
11. Violet Montgomery – 20:52, 31. Kylie Farris – 22:00
Tippecanoe Valley results
19. Chesnee Miller – 21:15, 51. Bailey Bussard – 23:25
44. Ava Stackhouse – 22:51, 45. Savannah Lyon – 22:55
64. Rose Peterson – 24:33
Top 10 individuals on non-advancing teams: 1. Hannah Moore (Northwestern) – 19:41, 2. Makenna Leicht (Lewis Cass) – 20:12, 3. Violet Montgomery (Pioneer) – 20:52, 4. Sophie Wray (Plymouth) – 20:55, 5. Liberty Scott (Lewis Cass) – 21:06, 6. Kadence Fox (Manchester) – 21:06, 7. Maggie Smith (Winamac) – 21:08, 8. Kadence Hoover (Winamac) – 21:13, 9. Jocelynn Faulkner (Triton) – 21:13, 10. Chesnee Miller (Valley) – 21:15
Individual champion: Hannah Moore (Northwestern) – 19:41
Culver Academy boys regional results (points in parentheses; top five teams advance): Warsaw 27, Culver Academy 84, Plymouth 104, Rochester 117, Northwestern 141, Manchester 151, Western 186, Pioneer 190, Lewis Cass 197, Winamac 223
Rochester results (fourth place, 117 points)
12. Peyton Hiatt – 18:05 (10), 21. Dylan Steininger – 18:20 (17), 24. Chris Rohr – 18:22 (20), 29. Wes Steininger – 18:40 (25), 50. Adrian Ochoa – 19:35 (45), 77. Reece Johnson – 21:11, 81. Lane Shank – 21:22
Pioneer results (eighth place, 190 points)
35. Jackson Baker – 18:54 (30), 37. Carson Meyer – 19:00 (32), 39. Leighton Dodt – 19:01 (34), 51. Jack Cooper – 19:35 (46), 55. Austin Brooke – 19:43 (48), 83. Ryan Adams – 21:52, 88. Eli Rans – 23:06
Winamac results (10th place, 223 points)
16. Kolbey Wegner – 18:11 (13), 31. Cristian Cardenas – 18:41 (27), 73. Tyler Tankersley – 20:56 (59), 75. Clay Kistler – 20:58 (61), 80. Evan Eaton – 21:19 (63), 89. A.J. Rimpler – 24:19
9. Austin Dague – 17:50, 70. Caleb Stinson – 20:49, 85. Brady Evans – 22:31
Tippecanoe Valley results
64. Isaac Whetstone – 20:08, 76. Evan Myers – 21:03, 78. Brady Rodgers – 21:17
65. Destin Green – 20:09
Top 10 individuals on non-advancing teams: 1. Isaiah Wittenberg (Maconaquah) – 17:12, 2. Pete Bradshaw (Western) – 17:37, 3. Austin Dague (Caston) – 17:50, 4. Raven King (Manchester) – 17:53, 5. Daylen Schrock (Maconaquah) – 18:07, 6. Enoch Hines (Lewis Cass) – 18:09, 7. Kolbey Wegner (Winamac) – 18:11, 8. Collin Keesling (Kokomo) – 18:14, 9. Cade Jones (Manchester) – 18:34, 10. Dominic Gilbert (Lewis Cass) – 18:37
Individual champion: Samuel Tullis (Culver Academy) – 16:59
The Rochester girls cross-country finished in second place at the Culver Academy regional Saturday to advance to this Saturday’s New Prairie semistate. Warsaw won the regional for the ninth consecutive year. Rochester advanced to the semistate for the fifth consecutive year. From left – Araceli Ochoa, Kendyll Bradley, Lucy Rangel, Maddie Heinzmann, Elena Bode, Madilyn Calloway, Zoe Seward. Calloway and Seward finished fifth and sixth, respectively, and made the all-regional team.
The Rochester boys cross-country team finished in fourth place at the Culver Academy regional Saturday to qualify for this Saturday’s New Prairie semistate. Warsaw won the regional for the 10th consecutive year. Rochester has advanced to the semistate nine times in the last 11 years. Front, from left – Lane Shank, Adrian Ochoa, Wes Steininger, Reece Johnson. Back – Dylan Steininger, Peyton Hiatt, Chris Rohr.
Top: Top: Top:
Mackenzi Roudebush Kelsey Wegner Isaac Whetstone
(Caston) (Winamac) (Tippecanoe Valley)
Bottom: Bottom: Bottom:
Jackson Baker Ava Stackhouse Destin Green
(Pioneer) (Argos) (Culver)