Seymour boys win cross-country sectional



Cross-country runners resemble grey wolves in that they are most efficient when they attack in packs.

On Saturday morning, Ethan Dippold was the alpha male in the Seymour boys pack as the Owls captured the sectional title at Brown County’s Eagle Park by sticking together early and clustering their finishes late.

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Owls don’t generally howl, and their reaction to team victory was a little bit more muted than one might expect, but on an overcast, 60-degree day on a mostly flat course, Seymour accomplished its No. 1 goal of advancing to the regional competition hosted by Columbus North next Saturday.

Dippold placed second in 16 minutes, 37 seconds behind winner Carson Heath of Martinsville, who was 15 seconds ahead.

Seymour also claimed places six, seven, nine and 15 for a low score of 39 points, just ahead of Columbus North’s 46. It was a day for poker players to hold cards close to their chests as the Owls held back their pace in the early going and highly regarded Columbus North did not enter all of its top runners.

Both squads just wanted to make sure they were among the five team qualifiers for the regional, where the competition will be fiercer.

Seymour wasn’t really angling for the championship trophy but was willing to take the hardware.

Coach Randy Fife wanted his guys to stay together over a chunk of the 5-kilometer route before letting loose, and the Owls followed orders.

“It was controlled,” Dippold said of the group pacing together. “We were pretty consistent.”

Brandon Kleber was second for Seymour in 17:02 with Jude Bane right behind him in 17:03. Michael Proffer was ninth in 17:18, and Clay Greenawalt was the fifth scorer in 15th in 17:42. Levi Croquart was 20th in 18:11, and Brycen Baugh 29th in 18:54.

“Next week’s going to be very fast,” Kleber said.

The goal will be to advance again, to semistate, and the Owls know they might be pressed to run hard enough to perhaps look for personal records.

These runners believe they can accomplish much more. Dippold considered the issue of potential and analyzed this bunch as having “a lot.” Kleber, a senior, thinks a focused Owls team can do well in the regional.

“This is the best team I’ve run with,” Kleber said.

Depositing this win in the bank was nice for Seymour, but the real point, said Proffer, was “Don’t burn up your gas.”

Brownstown Central was happier to finish fifth than Seymour was to finish first. That’s because the Braves, led by Nathan Koch’s overall fourth place in a personal best 16:50, qualified for the regional for the first time since 2013.

“That was a big goal this year,” said coach Derrick Koch.

Five Braves runners set personal bests in the race, including the younger Koch, who has been flirting with the 17-minute barrier. Koch went out with the pace-setters with speed and a high finish in mind.

“I just wanted to go out hard and see how I was feeling,” Nathan said. “I just knew I could get in to the 16:00s. When I was coming in, I wasn’t expecting top five.”

He meant as an individual. Both Kochs and the rest of the Braves were at least hoping, if not expecting, that top five team result. After Seymour and Columbus North came Martinsville and Brown County ahead of Brownstown Central. Brown County scored 99, but the Braves’ 123 was comfortably in front of Columbus East’s 170.

Junior Cameron Day was Brownstown’s second finisher in 26th with a clocking of 18:43. He was wearing a white headband, an adornment he credits for him running swifter.

“It’s my lucky charm,” he said.

Andrew Wheeles was 30th in 18:57, Bradley Edwards 35th in 19:21, Waylon Lutes 42nd in 19:56, Aaron Fernandez 43rd in 20:07 and Dylan Wischmeier 46th in 20:31.

Day was pleased to be part of a Brownstown team going on to the regional.

“We’re making history,” he said.

Trinity Lutheran, which had a one-man boys team this fall in Evan Hunt, ended up not being represented at this sectional when he became ill, said coach James Kay.

The other area team competing was Crothersville, though the Tigers were in the Austin Sectional. The Crothersville boys placed seventh out of nine teams, so they did not advance.

However, senior David Rose nearly captured the individual crown. In a seesaw race with Jennings County’s Gavin Hendrix, the twosome traded the lead, but Hendrix nipped Rose 16:55.0 to 16:55.9 over the final stretch.

Tiger teammate Elijah Plasse was seventh out of the 68 finishers in 17:53. Rose and Plasse move on to regional racing under the rule that advances the top 10 finishers not affiliated with the top five teams.

Rose believed he had the race won when Hendrix shot past him with a strong surge.

“I thought I had him,” Rose said, “and then he came up from behind.”

Rose finished higher than he predicted, though.

“I wasn’t expecting to do this good,” he said. “I think I can run faster next week.”

The other Crothersville runners were Andrew Stainbrook, 60th in 22:59, Lucas Hilton, 64th in 24:54, and Timothy Hodge, 68th in 31:01.

The Tigers will go head to head with the Seymour wolf pack next.

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