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High Schools

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Fremont runner right at home in regional

– Anna Aldrich is changing her mind about the West Noble cross-country course.

The Fremont senior has ran on the course near the high school parking lot 15 times and came up with her biggest win there in the West Noble Cross Country Regional on Saturday.

“I am really familiar with (the course),” said Aldrich, who won in 18:24.89. “It’s not one of my favorite courses, but it is definitely becoming one of my favorites. You kind of learn to love it when you run it as many times as we do.”

Aldrich, who finished sixth at last year’s regional, beat Marina Konow of Concordia (18:49.72).

“It is definitely an improvement,” Aldrich said. “It was cold outside, so I just wanted to come out and run my race and do what I needed to do, which was win.”

Concordia junior Zach Panning won the boys race in 15:35.63, breaking away after a tight battle with DeKalb’s Mark Beckman, who finished second in 15:54.74.

“It helps me a lot,” Panning said of having someone push him. “It was a pretty slow first mile and second mile. It is a good cross-country course, and it is a tough one. It is fun to run it.”

Panning won the Northrop Sectional last Tuesday.

“We train so the postseason has our best times,” Panning said. “It’s the coaches who set the training. (The win) gives me some motivation for next week (semistate) coming off this, and I am looking forward to it.”

Carroll won both team titles, scoring 53 points in the girls race and 40 in the boys race. It was the 12th straight regional title for the girls, and the boys’ third straight.

The Carroll girls placed five runners in the top 15, led by Madison Fruchey’s sixth-place finish in 19:06.41. For the boys, Carroll had five in the top 14 and got a sixth-place finish from Eric Claxton (16:07.48). The Carroll boys ran without one of its top runners, Jonathan Harper.

“We didn’t run exceptionally well on either side,” said Carroll coach Zach Raber, who expects Harper to return next week. “It’s that point in the season where we really need to be dropping time, and we aren’t dropping time right now. They just don’t feel that’s urgent enough yet, but we need to feel urgent.”

Raber admitted to the program being a bit “spoiled” by their own success.

“Our guys have been ranked second and the girls third all year, and we have walked into a few meets and we scored really good scores, and it’s not going to be like that in two weeks (at state),” he said.

“We need to run like we have some urgency.”

The Concordia girls finished second with 97 points, with Homestead (101) third, Fremont (127) fourth and DeKalb (161) fifth. For the boys, Bishop Dwenger (80) was second, Homestead (91) third, West Noble (106) fourth and Concordia (106).

The top five teams and top 15 runners advance to Saturday’s New Haven Semistate at The Plex North.

gjones@jg.net

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