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FORT WAYNE—Bellmont girls cross country coach Carl Risch will freely admit to anyone who wants to listen that he believes Bailey Beery, a sophomore on his team this year, is one of the top "5-10 runners in the state."
Beery solidly backed up that statement Saturday in the annual Northeast Hoosier Conference cross country meet winning the girls race by sloshing her way to an 18:30.4 finish in an event mired by driving rain and mud.
The winning time for Beery was only 13 seconds off the time she posted a week earlier on the same course near the Plex (New Haven Invitational).
"Bailey didn't appear to let the rain and mud affect her race whatsoever," Risch said, adding "when you talk about mentally tough runners, Bailey's definitely as mentally tough as anyone I've seen."
Beery has recorded significant improvement this year in becoming the first BHS runner to win the individual NHC title since Wendy Mahlan did so in 2005. Risch also noted she is only the third Bellmont runner that's ever won the conference event as Allyson Hammond swept the event for three consecutive years from 1996-1998.
As expected, Carroll easily dominated the team competition and breezed to victory with just 33 points placing their five scoring runners in the top 10 (third, fifth, seventh, eighth, and tenth). Homestead was second with 66 while Norwell squeaked past Bellmont for third at 106 as the Squaws scored 121 points, the same as 2012. Rounding out the conference race were DeKalb 126, East Noble 137, Columbia City 151, and New Haven 203.
Risch pointed out that Homestead freshman Madison Distelrath was over 20 seconds behind Beery in second place and those two harriers were the only ones in a field of 54 runners that broke 19:00.
A huge surprise and benefit for Bellmont was the performance of Emily Gunsett who despite the horrendous weather conditions actually turned in a season best time of 21:28.1
Cadi Faurote was the third Bellmont runner to cross the finish line and was came in at 21:47.6 for 26th while Amberly Gutierrez was 34th in 22:20.7 and Ally Norby was 37th in 22:32.2.
Grace Fisher did not score for the Squaws but performed much the same as Gunsett as she was only three seconds off her season best time with a 22:46.5 clocking. Alyssa Strickler also ran for the Squaws, now 80-29 on the season, with a time of 26:53.9.