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MARION—Three out of four Adams County teams entered in Saturday's IHSAA cross country regional tournament at Indiana Wesleyan University survived to run another day and will move on to the semi-state competition at The Plex in Fort Wayne this Saturday.
The South Adams boys were listed as winners of the regional on the IHSAA website by a 57-58 score over Huntington North but it was later discovered a scoring snafu had developed as the Bluffton team was not included in the scoring. The Tigers had runners that finished 20th and 30th overall and that was just enough to change the scoring to a 59-59 tie between South Adams and Huntington North.
The team title was thus awarded to Huntington North based on the results of the sixth runner. The sixth Viking was 27th overall while the SA sixth man was 33rd.
South Adams coach Clint Anderson understated the Starfire's performance noting "we had a pretty good day." The Starfires dominated the top 10 finishers placing three runners in the top six with Sawyer Miller and Bailey McIntire going second and third respectively with times of 16:01.9 and 16:03.0 behind individual winner Josh Neideck of Eastbrook at 15:47. Brody Shane also had a strong race for South Adams with a sixth place finish running a 16:33.6 race.
"Those three really had a strong day for us. The Eastbrook kid made a strong move at about the one mile mark and sort of broke away from the others. Brody was right there with the leaders as well," he said. Anderson added that both of the runs by Miller and McIntire were personal best efforts.
Daniel Velasco and Clayton Rhoades finished the scoring for the SA boys as Velasco was 15th in 17:04.6 and Rhoades was 31st in 17:49.0. Other South Adams harriers in the race were Daniel Steffen, 33rd in 17:51.9 and Cole Litwiller, 58th in 20:21.4.
Anderson predicted that "if we put all five out and have them run like they did Saturday, I really think we might have a shot at advancing to the state finals (the top six teams from regionals move to the state finals at Indiana State University in Terre Haute along with the top 10 runners of non-advancing teams).
Somewhat hidden by the South Adams-Huntington North performance was the strong race turned in by the Bellmont Braves in the boys event as the Braves ended up third ahead of Norwell and Oak Hill.
Other teams and their order of placement were Northfield, New Haven, Bluffton, Eastbrook, and Wabash.
The BHS finish was their best at regional since 2009 and coach Randy Hisner called their effort "an intelligent, gutsy race. Our main goal going into the race was to finish in the top five and qualify for semi state. We did that and more!"
Hisner lavished praise on his "pack of four," Adam Garner (14th in 16:56, a 40-second personal career best that was his first sub-17 minute race and the first by a Bellmont runner this year), Thomas McNamara (15th in a 20-second career best of 17:01), Josh Porter (17th in a 23-second career best clocking of 17:06), and Mason Mendez, who cut 28 seconds off his previous best to claim 19th place in 17:08.