Rohr breaks 17 minutes, leads Rochester boys back to semistate
Pioneer’s Dodt wins regional, joins Meyer, Montgomery, Caston’s Dague, Rochester’s Seward, Valley’s Miller as individual qualifiers
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
CULVER — The Rochester boys cross-country team might go through different team leaders and different coaches, but that does not keep them from getting to semistate.
Meanwhile, Pioneer sophomore Leighton Dodt might have lost to rival Kolbey Wegner from Winamac at both the Hoosier North and sectional races, but that did not keep him from winning an individual regional title.
And as for Rochester’s Zoe Seward, Pioneer’s Violet Montgomery and Tippecanoe Valley’s Chesnee Miller, their consistency in the biggest races of the season earned them return trips to semistate.
The Rochester boys finished third out of 10 teams at the Culver Academy regional Saturday and advanced to semistate for the fourth time in five years and the 10th time in the last 12 years. They have done that with three different coaches. Scott Stalbaum guided them there eight times, Eric Linn took them there in 2021, and now Alex Gudeman mentored them to New Prairie.
Chris Rohr, the lone Zebra senior, ran a personal best and broke 17 minutes for the first time, finishing third in the field of 85 runners in 16:59. Other Rochester runners included freshman Grant Bailey, who was 22nd in 17:43; junior Wes Steininger, who was right on Bailey’s heels in 23rd in 17:44; sophomore Adrian Ochoa, who was 49th in 18:52; sophomore Reece Johnson, who was 52nd in 18:59; and junior Lane Shank, who was 57th in 19:14.
Warsaw had five of the top 11 runners and won the regional with 33 points. Culver (91), Rochester (125), Maconaquah (126) and Lewis Cass (130) also advanced to semistate.
Gudeman cited the significance of beating Maconaquah. The Braves had beaten Rochester by 13 points when they went head to head at the Three Rivers Conference meet two weeks earlier. Rochester had not beaten them in any competition in which both were entered.
“The goal today was to beat Maconaquah,” Gudeman said. “They’ve beat us every time we’ve seen them this year, and the way we’ve been improving, we knew that if we were going to get them, that today would be the day. So that was our goal. We always put a target on their back, and I’m really impressed with the way they raced and got after it today, especially Chris.”
Pioneer, the other RTC area team in the field, was eighth with 166 points, but Dodt and junior Carson Meyer advanced as individuals.
Dodt finished third at the Logansport sectional one week earlier behind Wegner and Maconaquah’s Isaiah Wittenberg. This time, Dodt pushed the pace in the second mile to build a lead and maintained a 10-15 meter lead for much of the rest of the race and won in 16:51. Wittenberg, the Three Rivers Conference individual champion, was second in 16:57. Then came Rohr and three Warsaw runners.
Dodt said he ran 35 to 40 miles per week during the summer with Meyer and schoolmate Jackson Baker.
He said the first mile is the best part of his race, and he wanted to get an early lead in this race.
“Last year, I didn’t really put as much work in over the offseason, and I really felt the difference,” Dodt said. “You’ve just got to get the pace down, know your workouts and just build your speed.”
While Dodt aggressively took the lead, Rohr took a more measured pace.
“That’s the tried and true method,” Gudeman said. “You tell them it’s a three-mile race, not a one-mile race. I don’t care who’s first through the mile. Take it easy. I tell them to run smart the first mile and then trust your training in two and three to get you to where you need to be. We did that to perfection again today, so I was really excited about that.”
Wegner was seventh in 17:08 and also advanced to semistate as an individual.
About 200 meters behind Dodt, Meyer earned a top 20 finish in 17:26 and also advanced as the seventh fastest individual on non-advancing teams.
Northwestern’s Colin Feazel and Western’s Rowan Hale crossed in 17:33 and 17:36, respectively. Once Bailey and Steininger finished, that led to a race between two Caston runners for the 10th individual spot, and Austin Dague beat out Edison Byrum by seven seconds for it. Dague, a senior, went back to semistate at 17:47 while Byrum ran a 17:54 and did not advance.
Jack Cooper, who was 43rd in 18:44; Austin Brooke, who was 66th in 19:35; and Elliott Cooper, who was 79th in 20:36, rounded out the Pioneer lineup.
Among other area runners competing as individuals:
Culver senior Destin Green placed 53rd in 19:01.
Valley sophomore Isaac Whetstone was 63rd in 19:30.
Caston senior Marshall Finke was 69th in 19:44.
Caston senior Connor Sommers was 73rd in 20:02.
Caston sophomore A.J. Reyburn was 78th in 20:35.
Seward laid back in the top 10 after one mile and then went to a higher gear for the second mile.
While a three-person race materialized early between Warsaw’s Josefina Rastrelli and the Northwestern duo of Hannah Moore and Courtney Adams, Seward kept putting distance between herself and Manchester’s Kadence Fox and Maconaquah’s Abby Jordan.
Seward powered home in 19:12, seven seconds slower than her time at the Manchester sectional. But Celeste Gram, who finished three seconds ahead of Seward at the sectional, finished 23 seconds behind her this time.
Seward was fourth overall and third among individuals on non-advaning teams.
Jordan, the TRC champion, was not even the fastest Maconaquah runner. She finished ninth in 19:47 while freshman teammate Zoie Laber was eighth in 19:45. Jordan finished 35 seconds ahead of Seward at the TRC meet the last time they raced two weeks ago; this time, Jordan finished 35 seconds behind Seward.
Gudeman said Seward had been “killing” her recent workouts.
“What a great race for Zoe,” Gudeman said. “It’s telling her again you’ve got girls you’re going to see again today that have beaten you all year. Well, this is your chance to get a little bit of revenge and get them today. You are fit. You’re in shape. And she showed exactly how good she was today.”
Rastrelli paced the field of 87 runners in 18:16 and led Warsaw to the team title with 51 points. Maconaquah (80), Western (96), Winamac (124) and Manchester (146) also advanced.
Montgomery, the Hoosier North individual champion, stayed within the top 10 after the first mile and the top 15 throughout the race and eventually crossed in 20:12, good for 14th overall and seventh among individuals on non-advancing teams.
Miller knocked off six seconds from her sectional time and crossed in 20:26, good for 16th place and eighth among individuals on non-advancing teams. The semistate berth is her third in three seasons.
Among other area runners:
Argos freshman Lexi Gibson was 40th in 22:03 and finished 16 seconds out of a semistate spot.
Rochester freshman Allyson Calloway was 47th in 22:21.
Pioneer’s Paula Fernandez was 48th in 22:24.
Argos sophomore Savannah Lyon took 49th in 22:28.
Valley sophomore Bailey Bussard was 59th in 22:59.
Caston freshman Alexa Lowe was 62nd in 23:32.
Argos sophomore Ava Stackhouse was 67th in 23:47.
Caston senior Mackenzi Roudebush was 75th in 24:18.
Valley freshman McKenna Lowe was 78th in 24:28.
The top five teams and top 10 runners on non-advancing teams advanced to semistate.
New Prairie will host the semistate at 11:30 a.m. Eastern this Saturday.
Culver Academy girls regional results: Warsaw 51, Maconaquah 80, Western 96, Winamac 124, Manchester 146, Northwestern 147, Culver Academy 156, Plymouth 164, Carroll (Flora) 209, Triton 250
4. Zoe Seward – 19:12, 47. Allyson Calloway – 22:21
16. Chesnee Miller – 20:26, 59. Bailey Bussard – 22:59, 78. McKenna Lowe – 24:28
62. Alexa Lowe – 23:32, 75. Mackenzi Roudebush – 24:18
40. Lexi Gibson – 22:03, 49. Savannah Lyon – 22:28, 67. Ava Stackhouse – 23:47
14. Violet Montgomery – 20:12, 48. Paula Fernandez – 22:24
Culver Academy regional boys results (points in parentheses): Warsaw 33, Culver Academy 91, Rochester 125, Maconaquah 126, Lewis Cass 130, Northwestern 144, Manchester 154, Pioneer 166, Plymouth 224, Logansport 235
Rochester results (125 points, third place)
3. Chris Rohr – 16:59 (3), 22. Grant Bailey – 17:43 (19), 23. Wes Steininger – 17:44 (20), 49. Adrian Ochoa – 18:52 (41), 52. Reece Johnson – 18:59 (42), 57. Lane Shank – 19:14
Pioneer results (166 points, eighth place)
1. Leighton Dodt – 16:51 (1), 18. Carson Meyer – 17:26 (16), 43. Jack Cooper – 18:44 (36), 66. Austin Brooke – 19:35 (52), 79. Elliott Copper – 20:36
63. Isaac Whetstone – 19:30
25. Austin Dague – 17:47, 27. Edison Byrum – 17:54, 69. Marshall Finke – 19:44, 73. Connor Sommers – 20:02, 78. A.J. Reyburn – 20:35
53. Destin Green – 19:01
The Rochester boys cross-country team finished third in the 10-team field at the Culver Academy regional Saturday and advanced to semistate. Front, from left – Reece Johnson, Adrian Ochoa, Wes Steininger. Back – Grant Bailey, Lane Shank, Chris Rohr.