Stars 2nd, Squaws 7th at Spencerville

    SPENCERVILLE, OHIO—South Adams captured three of the top 11 places in the 35th annual Spencerville Bearcat Cross Country Invitational Saturday and was narrowly edged out of first place by Shawnee (Ohio) by a 49 to 69 county.
    Bellmont and New Haven were the only other teams from Indiana in the meet which is billed as the second largest cross country meet in the United States. The Squaws ended up seventh out of 20 teams in the mid-school division while New Haven was eighth despite the fact Bulldog Brenda Diaz won the individual competition with a finish time of 20:11.7.
    South Adams' Hannah Moore finished fourth overall out of 179 runners at 20:51.5 while fellow teammate Kristen Muselman scored a sixth place slot at 21:07.9. Jenna Smith of South Adams was 11th in 21:254.5 while Aleesha Goodwin and Allison Amstutz rounded out the SA scoring with Goodwin 21st in 22:15.7 and Amstutz going 22:43.3 for 31st.
    Bellmont was again led by sophomore harrier Cadence Faurote who was 21:56.2, good for 16th position. Sarah Garner and Allyson Norby were 26th and 29th with respective times of 22:28.4 and 22:34.1 while Alexis Harvey went 23:28.8 for 48th and senior captain Amanda Noon was 68th in 24:20.
    Following Shawnee and South Adams were Bellefontaine 140, Ottawa-Glandorf 145, Elmwood 147, Lima Central 167, Bellmont 175, New Haven 181, Anna 207, St. Mary's Memorial 234, Van Buren 243, Indian Lake 268, Wayne Trace 303, Benjamin Logan 395, Elida 455, Bath 463, and Paulding 473. Several schools had incomplete teams as well.
    New Haven actually had a lower combined time of their top five runners than did Bellmont (1:54.4.90 to 1:54.47.80) because Bellmont placed higher as a team due to points amassed from individual finishers.
    "This race was a step in the right direction for our girls," praised Bellmont coach Carl Risch, adding "I was very pleased with the finish. It was humid out there and the course wasn't in ideal conditions as it was soft in places due to recent rains. We had personal or career bests by six of our eight runners despite the ground being soft."
    Only four other freshmen finished higher in the race than Norby did for the Squaws. "This was her best of the year by over a minute and I think she's getting an idea of what she's capable of doing," Risch praised of Norby.    Harvey's time was a season best and was the best she's ever run in her career at this point of the season. Noonan recorded a career best by five seconds. Risch also noted three other Bellmont runners had personal bests including Ashley Myers, 140th in 28:39 (30:12), Amber Loshe, 153rd in 29:28 (31:18), and Jessica Hedrick, 165th in 30:41 (34:10).
    Risch said Bellmont was assisted by the fact this was the first meet they've had this year that had basically a full team run for them and they placed well despite the fact by Garner and Noonan are still recovering from illnesses.
    He was especially impressed by Norby's run saying "Ally really stepped up and it was quite a performance to see her post a strong challenge to our top two runners. She finished fifth overall among the 40 or so freshman runners in the meet."
    He added "we're not quite yet to being 100 percent but we are getting closer to reaching our potential."
    Bellmont will have the week off until this coming Saturday when they will travel with the Bellmont boys to the huge New Prairie Invitational in eastern LaPorte County.