The Journal Gazette
Sunday, October 17, 2021 1:00 am

Cross country regionals

Spartans sweep boys, girls titles

VICTORIA JACOBSEN | The Journal Gazette

LIGONIER – The Homestead Spartans swept the team titles at the West Noble Cross Country Regional meet Saturday morning as the boys edged two-time defending champion Concordia and the girls ended a 20-year winning streak by Carroll. 

Homestead sophomore Addison Knoblauch won the girls race in 18:27, beating runner-up Addison Lindsey, an East Noble freshman, who finished nearly a minute later in 19:24.

Lauren Saddington, Alexis Goebel and Elise Peckinpaugh finished 10th, 11th and 13th for the Spartans, who won with 59 points. Lindsey's Knights were right behind with 62 points, followed by Carroll in third with 67. Concordia and Leo will also advance to the New Haven Semistate at Huntington University next weekend. 

“We knew it was close, and it could've gone several different ways. Probably the pivot point was where our No. 4 finished,” Homestead girls coach Sara Wyss said. “It's been since 1999 since we won a regional, so it's exciting to do.”

The Homestead boys were also celebrating Saturday night before getting back to their training schedule today. The Spartans, who were paced by third-place finisher Ethan Baitz in 16:27, finished with 68 points, ahead of Concordia's 74.

“There's a lot of excitement this year, it's a team, we've got four seniors running in that top seven for us this year that have put in a lot of hard work the last four years,” Homestead boys coach Ian Wilson said. “And not just the top seven – our alternates, they call themselves our hype crew. That's where all the excitement comes from, that's led by Trevor (Nadeau), another one of our seniors. And they're just thrilled. They love the sport. They love everything about cross country.”

Defending boys state champion Izaiah Steury, an Angola senior, won his second individual regional title in 15:41. But this year's tournament run carries an added bonus for Steury, who has committed to Notre Dame. The Hornets won their first sectional title last week and advanced to semistate for the first time in program history with Saturday's fifth-place finish. 

“We've been working all yea,r and we've had that as our goal, and we've achieved that, and that means so much, more than anyone has known,” Steury said. “We're such a small team. We've only got six guys. We really get to work hard every day. They put so much hard work and effort in, and it's amazing to watch them go to great lengths to be successful as a team. I love it. I'm blessed to be a part of it.”

Columbia City's Austin Hall, fresh off a win at the Northrop Sectional, was second in 16:11. His Eagles finished fourth with 99 points, just one spot behind third-place Carroll with 98, and both teams will move on to the semistate.

Regional roundup

Bellmont senior Deion Guise won the boys regional at Marion on Saturday to lead the Braves to their third straight regional title. Senior Addison Wiley won the girls race to help the Huntington North girls clinch back-to-back regional trophies. 

Guise won in 16:10.3, beating runner-up Owen Jackson of Oak Hill by more than 16 seconds. Harrison Niswander of Huntington North was third in 16:45.3. Bellmont won with 51 points, beating Oak Hill's 62. Huntington North, Bluffton and Bishop Luers advance to next week's semistate at Huntington University. 

Wiley won her race in 18:54.6, beating second-place finisher Lauren Walda of South Side (19:29.7). The Vikings won with 51 points, and Walda's Archers finished second with 74.

The Norwell girls will also advance by finishing fourth as a team. 

Also Saturday, the Warsaw boys and girls each won a regional title at the Culver Academies Regional. Garrett Hall, Harrison Phipps and Lukas Nier took third through fifth place for the Tigers, and all five scorers came across the line in the top 13. 

Josefina Rastrelli finished second overall for the Warsaw girls in a time of 20:01, and the Tigers girls also swept eighth through 10th place. 

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