Chase wins regional race; other county runners advance to semistate



A week earlier on the same Eagle Park course, Ashton Chase finished second, 31 seconds behind Columbus North’s Olivia Morlok.

Saturday morning, Chase made up that distance. The Seymour senior battled back and forth with Morlok throughout the Brown County cross-country regional, then overtook her in the final few meters.

“My goal was just to stay with her,” Chase said. “I kind of wanted to keep the pace today, so we were just back and forth. At the end, I kind of pulled off and was able to get her.”

Chase finished in 18 minutes, 47.41 seconds for 5,000 meters (3.1 miles). That was 39-hundreths of a second ahead of Morlok.

Chase also ran 1 minute, 24 seconds than in the previous week’s Brown County Sectional, when temperatures were much warmer.

“I think the cooler weather paid off,” Chase said. “Last week, it was about 90. This week, it’s 40. I feel so good. I feel like I trained a lot better this week.”

The regional title was the first postseason victory for Chase.

“We’ve been waiting on that race,” Seymour girls coach Spencer Sunbury said. “It’s been a rough year for her, and the last couple of weeks, we’ve been really working on just getting her mindset back into confidence. I wasn’t expecting what she did, but she took charge of the race right off the bat and was not going to let anything get in the way of herself today.”

The Owl girls finished third as a team with 106 points, trailing 16th-ranked Columbus North (33) and Jennings County (91). Columbus East (113) and Silver Creek (135) also qualified for Saturday’s Brown County Semistate.

Seymour’s Brett Kleber and Grace Rennekamp finished 23rd and 24th in 21:01.59 and 21:05.72. Samantha Jacobi took 32nd in 21:22.47, and Lillian Sunbury was 43rd in 21:48.41.

“I’m so proud of those girls,” Spencer Sunbury said. “We had some great runs today. Five of the seven girls had season-best runs today. We worked hard this week and got really focused, and they were excited to get out here and run, and I couldn’t have asked for more.”

Brownstown Central finished eighth with 191 points, and Crothersville was ninth with 209. Two Tigers and one Braves individual advanced to semistate.

Brownstown’s Kaelyn Johnson qualified with a 21st-place finish in 20:54.31. Shauna Drake took 40th in 21:41.39, while Grace Garland was 48th (21:01.07), Claire Poulton 60th (22:58.40) and Emma Winks 66th (23:19.14).

Crothersville advanced Kaylyn Holman, who finished fourth in 19:31.95, and Grace Wilson, who took 14th in 20:33.46. Ella Plasse finished 82nd in 25:47.17, while Piper Hensley was 83rd (25:47.81) and Rebekah Cook 87th (35:11.12).

Trinity Lutheran’s lone girls entrant, Sadie Nay, finished 75th in 24:12.05.

Meanwhile, in the boys race, the Owls edged White River Valley 163-166 to claim the fifth and final semistate qualifying team spot. No. 11 Columbus North won with 25 points, followed by Jennings (56), Austin (83) and Silver Creek (153).

Luke Plummer led Seymour with a 15th-place finish in 16:47.39. Brandon Kleber took 39th in 17:44.27, while Michael Proffer was 46th (17:53.75), Luke Bane 48th (18:04.14) and Luke Hauersperger 55th (18:13.66).

“I knew it would be very close between Silver Creek, us White River Valley and Southwestern (Hanover) wasn’t far off,” Seymour boys coach Randy Fife said. “But we managed to get that fifth spot, so we’re happy about that. I told the boys after the race and before the awards that regardless of whether we made it or not, we ran well today, and I think we can feel good about that.”

Trinity Lutheran’s A.J. Goecker qualified as an individual after finishing sixth in 16:29.91.

“I feel like I ran really well today,” Goecker said. “The weather was 40 degrees cooler than last week, so that helped a lot, and I was tapering the whole week, so it really helped my time.”

Crothersville’s Lane Wienhorst finished 47th in 17:54.51, and David Rose took 51st in 18:08. Brownstown’s Trey Hackman finished 67th in 18:41.63, and Nathan Koch was 76th in 19:22.74.

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