Going into Saturday’s races, it was hard to anticipate the order of which the teams would finish.
Rainy weather has wreaked havoc for most of the 2018 cross-country season, which has led to slower times and canceled meets.
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Despite the uncertainly, one thing was for sure going into the competition at Floyd Central: The Hoosier Hills Conference would boast some of the top talent in the area.
Seymour’s girls placed fourth and boys took fifth at the HHC on Saturday.
The Highlanders, which only host cross-country races every eight years when its their turn in the conference rotation, mapped a course around their off-campus sports complex.
Top-seven finishes earned All-HHC status, and spots eight through 14 were honorable mention.
Floyd Central won the girls seven-team competition with 20 points. Jennings County was runner-up with 63 points, Columbus East scored 78 for third and Seymour was fourth at 79.
Madison (146), Bedford North Lawrence (159) and Jeffersonville (213) followed. New Albany didn’t have a team score.
The Highlanders’ Sydney Little, a junior, won the race in 18 minutes, 38.25 seconds. Floyd Central had six runners make All-HHC, and the No. 6 and No. 7 runners — who didn’t score — took ninth and 11th.
Seymour senior Ashton Chase made All-HHC for the fourth straight year by placing third of 72 total runners in 19:26:82.
“It is pretty impressive to be named All-HHC four years in a row,” Seymour boys coach Randy Fife said. “We have a very good conference. There are kids that make all-conference freshman year and then don’t get it again. The competition always replenishes. For Ashton to be that consistent is very impressive.”
Grace Rennekamp was honorable mention, placing 13th in 20:54.21, Lillian Sunbury ran 21:25.62 for 18th, Samantha Jacobi clocked 22:03.77 for 30th and Brett Kleber took 31st in 22:07.82.
The Owls were without their No. 2 runner, Makenna Sunbury, because of an injury.
“Realistically, everyone healthy, we are probably looking at second place,” Fife said. “The girls competed well. Ashton did a nice job of staying in control and not doing too much too early. She worked her way up from 10th to third. I know several of the girls had season-bests, as well. The girls are moving in the right direction.”
On the boys side, Jennings County three-peated as HHC champion with 30 points.
Floyd Central (34), New Albany (76), BNL (109) and Seymour (129) rounded out the top five teams, and Columbus East (165), Jeffersonville (203) and Madison (256) completed the field.
Jennings County junior Carter Leak was individual champion in 16:25.45, while senior teammate Alex Hednrix was runner-up in 16:35.02.
Less than a minute separated first and 14th place in the race. Ninety runners competed in the boys race.
Owls junior Luke Plummer ran 17:08.31 for 11th overall and honorable mention status.
“(Plummer) did a nice job of moving up throughout the race,” Fife said. “We held him back a little bit through the first mile. We were going to hold him back the first two if we could keep the rest of the pack with him. That pack fell apart about a mile and a quarter in, so Luke decided to pick off some people.
“He made a nice move to get honorable mention. He finished with his second-best time ever. I don’t think the strategy hurt him any, and I don’t know that it is a strategy we want to adopt the rest of the season. For today, it was fine.”
Brandon Kleber was next for Seymour (20th, 17:36.83), while Michael Proffer (33rd, 18:15.04), Luke Bane (40th, 18:30.39) and Luke Hauersperger (42nd, 18:34.03) completed the Owls’ scoring.
“I thought we could realistically be third, fourth, fifth or sixth depending on how we ran and how everyone else ran,” Fife said. “It was hard to get a feel for the teams coming in. Nobody has had great conditions this year, so we didn’t know how good Bedford or New Albany were. I was really hoping top four, but fifth this year with how we’ve done, we just need to accept that and move on to the sectional and regional.
“The bright spot is that we had several career-bests and several season-bests. We’re making progress. We just have some work to do.”
Seymour will run in the Brown County Sectional at Eagle Park in Nashville on Saturday. Regional and semistate competition will be the following two weekends if the Owls should advance.