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  • Val T.

Valley’s Miller takes 2nd at Jacob Graf Invite

Boys: 3 Panthers, 2 Zebras, Caston’s Byrum receive medals


Sports Editor, RTC

Tippecanoe Valley’s Chesnee Miller finished second in 19:52 at the Jacob Graf Invitational at Logansport Saturday. Her time broke her own school record.

LOGANSPORT — She has been Tippecanoe Valley’s No. 1 girls cross-country runner since her freshman year.

She is a senior now, and she showed at the Jacob Graf Invitational at Logansport High School Saturday that she is faster than ever.

Miller ran a 19:52 and finished second in the field of 113 runners. Her time is a new Valley school record, breaking her own mark. Northwestern’s Hannah Moore won the race in 19:23.

Hamilton Heights scored 58 points to win the girls title, which consisted of 16 complete teams. Winamac was third with 115 points, Pioneer was 12th with 306, and Caston was 16th with 369 points.

Rochester and Valley had incomplete teams.

Miller was one of four RTC area girls to receive a medal or ribbon for finishing in the top 20. The others were Pioneer senior Violet Montgomery, who was seventh in 21:12; Winamac senior Maggie Smith, who was 10th in 21:42; and Winamac’s Kadence Hoover, was 18th in 22:17.

In the boys race, the top area team was Pioneer, who scored 134 points and took fifth in the 20-team field. Rochester was seventh with 227, Caston was 13th with 335, Winamac was 16th with 354, and Valley was 20th with 485.

Maconaquah won the boys title with 99 points, four fewer than runner-up Western.

Six area boys took home medals or ribbons for finishing in the top 20. The top three area boys hailed from Pioneer. They included Carson Meyer, who was eighth in 17:28; Jackson Baker, who was 11th in 17:42; and Leighton Dodt, who was 12th in 17:58.

In addition, Caston’s Edison Byrum was 13th in 18:00, and the Rochester duo of Wes Steininger and Grant Bailey finished in 17th and 18th, respectively. Steininger was timed in 18:13, and Bailey was on his heels in 18:15.

Meet notes

  • “This was our first 5K of the season, and we were just hoping to get out and knock some rust off and get everyone acclimated to racing again,” Rochester coach Alex Gudeman said. “A more tangible goal for all our returners … was to run a little faster at our first race this year than we did last year. We had six returners, and five out of six of them accomplished that goal. The sixth, Wesley, was real close. I think if he hadn’t have missed a little time over the summer, he would have been right there.”

  • The Rochester girls team consisted of just two runners – Allyson Calloway and Brooklyn Chandler. Calloway took 23rd overall in 22:54 while Chandler was 80th in 26:51 in her cross-country debut.

  • Valley’s other girls runners included McKenna Lowe, who was 43rd in 24:15; and Ava Minix, who was 76th in 26:46.

  • Caston’s four fastest girls were all sophomores. They included Myli Rude, who was 56th in 24:53; Alexa Lowe, who was 63rd in 25:30; Camila Hernandez-Rios, who was 67th in 25:56; and Jaded Aguilar, who was 103rd in 29:37. Breana Amezquita, the team’s lone senior, was 113th in 34:59.

  • Montgomery, a two-time semistate qualifier, was running competitively for the first time after an illness ended her track season prematurely in the spring. Other Pioneer girls times included Kylie Jamerson, who was 69th in 26:03; Ellie Hines, who was 70th in 26:05; Avery Haselby, who was 85th in 27:13; and Laylynn Malchow, who was 100th in 28:52.

  • In addition to Smith and Hoover, other Winamac girls times included Kandace Kroft, who was 27th in 23:02; Kelsey Wegner, who was 29th in 23:10; Avery Wegner, who was 39th in 24:00; Claire Goodman, who was 41st in 24:10; and Lily Bennett, who was 57th in 24:58.

  • Smith is a five-sport athlete at Winamac. She also plays golf in the fall, basketball in the winter and softball and track in the spring.

“I wasn’t really sure where I was going to land today, but I was really happy with what I did do,” Smith said. “Tenth place, so I felt really good about that.”

Smith said team goals include winning the Hoosier North, which Winamac will host on Sept. 30. Winamac has been reassigned to the Rensselaer sectional, which will occur on Oct. 14.

“We’re in a new sectional this year, so we’re not sure what’s going to happen there, but we’re hoping for the best,” Smith said.

Smith said former Winamac girls golf coach Scott Roudebush asked her to try golf.

“I was really happy that I did,” Smith said. “Golf usually takes place on the weekdays, and so I get my run in afterwards, after the golf meets. And then, I’m ready to go for my big meets on Saturdays.”

Asked which sport she is better at, Smith smiled and said “cross-country, by far” but added that golf forces her to be patient.

“It teaches me to lean on my teammates and trust them and trust that we’re going to go far together,” Smith said.

  • Besides Steininger and Bailey, other Rochester boys runners included Lane Shank, who was 39th in 19:02; Reece Johnson, who was 56th in 19:33; Leandro Javier, who was 98th in 21:33; and Hayden Shuck, who was 102nd in 21:51. Javier and Shuck were making their cross-country debuts.

  • Valley’s fastest boy was Christopher Marquez, who took 71st place in 20:10. The remaining Vikings included Isaac Whetstone, who was 84th in 20:42; Eli Sterk, who took 94th in 21:25; Luis Nuňez, who was 114th in 22:24; Gavin Leininger, who was 130th in 26:03; Michael Leininger, who was 133rd in 27:19; and Christian Guzman, who was 135th in 27:25.

  • Reed Sommers was Caston’s second fastest runner in the boys race behind Byrum, taking 63rd place in 19:53. Other Caston runners included Kane Finke, who was 66th in 19:58; Maxwell Sommers, who was 80th in 20:40; Josiah Helt, who was 116th in 22:29; Jace Rentschler, who was 126th in 24:19; and Braden Rush, who was 127th in 25:19. Caston will run at Logansport twice more: at the Cass County Meet this Saturday and at the sectional on Oct. 14. Caston was reassigned to the Logansport sectional this year after being in the Manchester sectional.

  • Pioneer, a regional qualifier in 2022, was the only boys team to have three runners break 18 minutes. Other Pioneer times included Dane Bowditch, who was 48th in 19:21; Jack Nance, who was 55th in 19:33; Kevin Gluth, who was 82nd in 20:41; and Elliott Cooper, who was 89th in 21:09.

  • Logan Fredel was the fastest boy from Winamac, taking 35th in 18:53. Other Winamac boys times included Nathan Pierzchalski’s 19:00, good for 38th place; Dylan Guilford’s 19:13, which placed 43rd; Corbin Holehan’s 22:13, which placed 112th; and Joel Showley’s 27:10, which placed 132nd.

  • Clinton Prairie’s Hayden Kemple was the boys individual champion in 16:23.

JACOB GRAF INVITATIONAL AT LOGANSPORT GIRLS RESULTS (POINTS IN PARENTHESES): Hamilton Heights 58, Western 98, WINAMAC 115, Maconaquah 125, Lewis Cass 146, Northwestern 180, Frankfort 220, Carroll (Flora) 227, Lafayette Jeff 241, Clinton Prairie 259, Twin Lakes 269, PIONEER 306, Wabash 312, Eastern (Greentown) 324, Logansport 349, CASTON 369

Incomplete teams: ROCHESTER, TIPPECANOE VALLEY, Kokomo, Tipton, Peru


10. Maggie Smith – 21:42 (9), 18. Kadence Hoover – 22:17 (17), 27. Kadence Kroft – 23:02 (25), 29. Kelsey Wegner – 23:10 (27), 39. Avery Wegner – 24:00 (37), 41. Claire Goodman – 24:10, 57. Lily Bennett – 24:58


7. Violet Montgomery – 21:12 (6), 69. Kylie Jamerson – 26:03 (65), 70. Ellie Hines – 26:05 (66), 85. Avery Haselby – 27:13 (78), 100. Laylynn Malchow – 28:52 (91)


56. Myli Rude – 24:53 (52), 63. Alexa Lowe – 25:30 (59), 67. Camila Hernandez-Rios – 25:56 (63), 103. Jaded Aguilar – 29:37 (94), 113. Breana Amezquita – 34:59 (101)


23. Allyson Calloway – 22:54, 80. Brooklyn Chandler – 26:51


2. Chesnee Miller – 19:52, 43. McKenna Lowe – 24:15, 76. Ava Minix – 26:46

JACOB GRAF INVITATIONAL AT LOGANSPORT BOYS RESULTS (POINTS IN PARENTHESES): Maconaquah 99, Western 103, Clinton Prairie 108, Lafayette Jeff 114, PIONEER 134, Northwestern 227, ROCHESTER 227, Hamilton Heights 239, Frankfort 266, Logansport 276, Kokomo 287, Tipton 319, CASTON 335, Twin Lakes 338, Tri-Central 341, WINAMAC 354, Carroll (Flora) 381, Peru 404, Eastern (Greentown) 406, TIPPECANOE VALLEY 485


8. Carson Meyer – 17:28 (8), 11. Jackson Baker – 17:42 (11), 12. Leighton Dodt – 17:58 (12), 48. Dane Bowditch – 19:21 (48), 55. Jack Nance – 19:33 (55), 82. Kevin Gluth – 20:41, 89. Elliott Cooper – 21:09


17. Wes Steininger – 18:13 (17), 18. Grant Bailey – 18:15 (18), 39. Lane Shank – 19:02 (39), 56. Reece Johnson – 19:33 (56), 98. Leandro Javier – 21:33 (97), 102. Hayden Shuck – 21:51


13. Edison Byrum – 18:00 (13), 63. Reed Sommers – 19:53 (63), 66. Kane Finke – 19:58 (66), 80. Maxwell Sommers – 20:40 (80), 116. Josiah Helt – 22:29 (113), 126. Jace Rentschler – 24:19, 127. Braden Rush – 25:19


35. Logan Fredel – 18:53 (35), 38. Nathan Pierzchalski – 19:00 (38), 43. Dylan Guilford – 19:13 (43), 112. Corbin Holehan – 22:13 (109), 132. Joel Showley – 27:10 (129)


71. Christopher Marquez – 20:10 (71), 84. Isaac Whetstone – 20:42 (83), 94. Eli Sterk – 21:25 (93), 114. Luis Nuňez – 22:24 (111), 130. Gavin Leininger – 26:03 (127), 133. Michael Leininger – 27:19, 135. Christian Guzman – 27:25

LEFT: Pioneer’s Violet Montgomery finished seventh in 21:12 at the Jacob Graf Invitational at Logansport Saturday. The Lady Panthers scored 306 points and finished 12th out of 16 teams.

RIGHT: Winamac’s Maggie Smith placed 10th overall in 21:42 at the Jacob Graf Invitational at Logansport Saturday. The Winamac team finished third in the 16-team field with 115 points.

LEFT: Caston’s Edison Byrum took 13th place in a field of 137 runners in 18:00 at the Jacob Graf Invitational at Logansport Saturday. Caston scored 335 points and finished in 13th place as a team.

RIGHT: Rochester’s Wes Steininger finished 17th in a field of 137 runners in 18:13 at the Jacob Graf Invitational at Logansport Saturday. Rochester finished seventh out of 20 complete teams.

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