FORT WAYNE—It would have taken nearly an order from the Supreme Court to change the top two team positions in the girls Northeast Hoosier Conference cross country meet Saturday at the Plex but the real battle was for positions three through seven.
Bellmont rebounded from an eighth place finish in the 2011 NHC meet to end up fourth Saturday, an effort that left coach Carl Risch elated.
"A lot of people would have been surprised at our finish with many picking us to probably be sixth or seventh but our girls ran together as a pack (out of the 54-runner field, the Squaws had their top five runners between 17th and 35th). It turned out to be a five-team battle for third and we beat three of them," he said.
So close was the NHC meet Saturday is evidenced by the fact that after runaway victor Carroll (34 points), and second place Homestead (70 points), only 20 points separated the next five teams. East Noble took third with 113 followed by Bellmont at 121, Norwell at 123 (a team that had finished ahead of Bellmont the previous Saturday at the New Haven Invitational, also at the Plex), DeKalb 130, Columbia City 133, and New Haven 194.
Cadence Faurote led the Squaws with a season best time of 20:05.9 and finished 17th overall. The consistency of the Bellmonters then kicked in as freshman Bailey Beery was 20th in 20:40.1, Sarah Garner took 22nd in 20:50, Emily Gunsett was 27th in 21:13.3, and Allyson Norby finished 35th in 21:47.2.
Ironically, Risch noted the Summit Athletic Conference (Fort Wayne teams) ran their annual event at the same time at the Plex and the BHS girls would have finished a solid second had they been in the SAC race.
FORT WAYNE—As they did in the girls NHC meet at the Plex on Saturday, the Carroll Charges easily raced their way to a first place finish in the boys meet as well taking the top four places and then finishing with three more runners in the top 10 to score just 18 points.
Homestead was a distant second at 61 followed by DeKalb 99, East Noble 116, Norwell 147, Columbia City 160, Bellmont 162, and New Haven 209.
Bellmont's senior co-captain and number four runner Michael Braun was unable to participate in the race due to an injury and Coach Randy Hisner said that hurt the Braves.
"We had a few bright spots in the NHC meet but overall it was a disappointing day for us as we finished seventh, the lowest we've ever finished in the NHC. We were expected to compete for fifth if we could beat Norwell but with Braun out, our chances of doing that were diminished. It would have taken a sterling performance, and that's not what we produced, with a couple of exceptions," said Hisner.
Sophomore Adam Garner stepped up to the plate and came through with a career-best 17:44 to place 23rd overall, just two places away from being on the NHC honorable mention team.
"It was a real gutsy effort by Adam," praised Hisner.
Junior Josh Porter was close behind Garner in his second-best time ever of 17:47 which was good for 24th place. Senior Adam Corral finished 32nd out of 56 total runners in 18:18. Junior Tyler Fenwick rose to the occasion in Braun's absence to run a big season-best of 18:48, his first sub-19 minute time of the season.