Rochester’s Steininger takes 13th at foggy TRC meet
Bradley sets PR, takes 14th in girls meet
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
NORTH MANCHESTER — Perhaps it was fitting that the Three Rivers Conference cross-country meet was run in a thick fog at Manchester Saturday morning.
After all, nobody was quite sure how Lewis Cass, the newest conference member, would affect the quality of competition.
As it turned out, Lewis Cass would appear to have strengthened the conference with both their girls and boys teams finishing third, and Lady Kings star sophomore Aftin Griffin won the girls individual title in 19:08.
Neither Lewis Cass team was able to prevent repeat championships for the Maconaquah girls or the Wabash boys.
Already too low in numbers to have a complete girls team, Rochester also had an incomplete boys team Saturday.
Rochester’s girls frontrunner was Kadence Bradley, who ran a personal-best 22:33 and finished in 14th in a field of 63 runners. Bradley showed off a finishing kick as she passed nearly 10 runners in the second half of the race.
“Kady’s a sophomore, but she’s a little less experienced than your typical sophomore runner,” Rochester coach Alex Gudeman said. “She didn’t do track last year. She was on and off for cross-country in middle school, so she’s still fairly inexperienced, still
trying to learn how to pace a
race well. I think today was probably her best-paced race of the season. She ran a little easier the first mile and really kicked it into gear the second one, which is what we've been preaching the past two weeks. I think she’s finally feeling good about her running and good about her health, so I think that really showed up today.”
Meanwhile, fellow sophomore Brooklyn Chandler also set a personal best in 23:53 and finished in 27th place.
“This is her first season of high school cross-country, so still learning,” Gudeman said. “But you can tell how much she has already learned in one year. … She paced really well today as well.”
Allyson Calloway, who had been the team’s frontrunner in every previous race this season, missed the race due to an Achilles injury. Gudeman said she will be back for the sectional.
The boys frontrunner was senior Wes Steininger, who ran a 17:41 and finished 13th in the field of 63 runners. Steininger, an all-TRC runner in 2021 and 2022, just missed the top 12 this time, finishing nine seconds behind 12th-place finisher Andrew Lane of North Miami.
Last year, any boy who ran 18:03 or faster made all-conference. Steininger, whose personal best of 17:28 came at the 2022 sectional at Manchester, missing the all-conference cut line might reflect more on whom he ran against.
Three Rochester runners received ribbons for finishing in the top 20 at the TRC meet at Manchester Saturday. From left – Reece Johnson, who was 17th in 18:00; Wes Steininger, who was 13th in 17:41; and Kadence Bradley, who was 14th in 22:33.
“The postseason in general is getting tougher,” Gudeman said. “We have the fortune, whether good or bad however you look at it, of getting some new schools in the conference. Of course, Valley left this year, and North Miami will be leaving next year, and the schools we’re bringing in are going to be more competitive than the schools they’re replacing. Lewis Cass, you saw got third in the boys and girls. I can’t remember the last time Valley got third, boys or girls side. So Lewis Cass definitely brings another level of competition to the conference, and Northwestern replacing North Miami will just make the conference a little bit harder next year, so our conference is getting more competitive for sure.”
Other Rochester boys runners included junior Reece Johnson, who ran a personal-best 18:00 and finished 17th; senior Lane Shank, who ran a 19:41 and took 36th; and freshman Leandro Javier, who was 40th in a personal-best 20:33.
Johnson also continues to improve. His time was 19 seconds faster than his New Haven Invitational time one week earlier, and his New Haven time was 14 seconds faster than his New Prairie Invitational time from Sept. 16.
“Reece is a machine,” Gudeman said. “I think the thing with Reece is I still think we’re scratching the surface with him. I don’t think we’re anywhere close to reaching his full potential. As long as he keeps working, he’s going to keep getting faster.”
Sophomore Grant Bailey missed the meet with a leg injury suffered during a soccer game, and sophomore Hayden Shuck did not run because of a “non-running-related issue,” according to Gudeman.
Rochester will now get two weeks to prepare for the sectional, which Manchester will also host on Oct. 14.
“I told all the people that didn’t have a fantastic race today that this was our fifth Saturday in a row that we’ve run hard,” Gudeman said. “I think we’ll be better set up for sectional in two weeks as we get a little week off for racing, a week to refocus and get a little sharper and ready to race our best at sectional.
“I still think our best is yet to come.”
Maconaquah scored 33 points to win the girls title. Manchester was second with 40, and Lewis Cass had 61. Maconaquah put its top five runners in the top nine. Each of the top 11 runners came from Maconaquah, Manchester or Lewis Cass.
Griffin forced the early pace and controlled the pace over the Manchester junior duo of Ayla Cashdollar and Kadence Fox.
Maconaquah junior Daylen Schrock won the boys individual title in 16:24.
Wabash, who has only one senior, put five runners in the top 20 and finished with 39 points. Maconaquah was second with 48. Lewis Cass, who has no seniors, put three runners – sophomore Kale Skiles, freshman Ben Jay and sophomore Kaiden Hughes – on the all-conference team.
Striders on the Rochester Middle School boys cross-country team received ribbons for finishing in third place at the Running Rivers Conference meet Saturday. The girls team finished fifth. Troy Pryor and John Wachtmann coach the RMS girls and boys teams.
The Rochester Middle School boys finished third and the girls fifth in the Running Rivers Conference meets.
Sixth-grader Addisyn Osburn placed seventh in the girls race in 12:32. In the boys race, seventh-grader Caden Biernacki finished seventh in 11:25.
THREE RIVERS CONFERENCE GIRLS RESULTS (POINTS IN PARENTHESES): Maconaquah 33, Manchester 40, Lewis Cass 61, Wabash 85
Incomplete teams: Rochester, Northfield, Peru, North Miami, Whitko, Southwood
14. Kadence Bradley – 22:33, 27. Brooklyn Chandler – 23:53
ALL-TRC GIRLS (TOP 12): 1. Aftin Griffin (Lewis Cass) – 19:08, 2. Ayla Cashdollar (Manchester) – 19:16, 3. Kadence Fox (Manchester) – 19:20, 4. Abby Jordan (Maconaquah) – 19:38, 5. Zoie Laber (Maconaquah) – 20:23, 6. Ava Egolf (Manchester) – 20:45, 7. Lucy Loshnowsky – 20:55, 8. Chloe Jordan (Maconaquah) – 21:26, 9. Kaytlin Moeller (Maconaquah) – 21:46, 10. Calisen Kugler (Wabash) – 21:52, 11. Grace Spicer (Lewis Cass) – 21:59, 12. Kaylee Futrell (Maconaquah) – 22:10
THREE RIVERS CONFERENCE BOYS RESULTS (POINTS IN PARENTHESES): Wabash 39, Maconaquah 48, Lewis Cass 65, Manchester 83, Northfield 150, Peru 151, North Miami 190
Incomplete teams: Rochester, Southwood
Wes Steininger – 17:41, Reece Johnson – 18:00, Lane Shank – 19:41, Leandro Javier – 20:33
ALL-TRC BOYS (TOP 12): 1. Daylen Schrock (Maconaquah) – 16:24, 2. Kaden Vogel (Wabash) – 16:30, 3. Kyler Dale (Manchester) – 16:47, 4. Isaiah Wittenberg (Maconaquah) – 16:49, 5. Isaiah Cordes (Wabash) – 16:50, 6. Kale Skiles (Lewis Cass) – 16:50, 7. Ben Jay (Lewis Cass) – 17:06, 8. Kaiden Hughes (Lewis Cass) – 17:08, 9. Brett Shull (Wabash) – 17:18.5, 10. Ezra Church (Wabash) – 17:18.6, 11. Kaden Miller (Maconaquah) – 17:22, 12. Andrew Lane (North Miami) – 17:32