By KEVIN HARRIS
The Silver Creek girls’ cross country team has no secret formula to its successful 2013 season.
All the Dragons do is work hard and log the miles, and that work ethic helped them capture their third consecutive Southwestern Sectional championship on Tuesday at Hanover College.
“The key for us was last summer when the girls decided to come out and practice,” Silver Creek coach Darrell Kingery said. “The girls showed up for practice every day, we ran all the time and it makes a difference.”
Silver Creek had three runners finish in the top four spots and four runners place in the top 10.
“It feels amazing. I couldn’t ask for anything more,” said Silver Creek junior Mackenzie Crouch, who won the individual girls’ sectional title for the first time in her career.
In the boys’ race, the Dragons’ two-year reign as sectional champions came to an end. They placed third behind first-place Madison and second-place Jennings County.
The top five teams in each race advanced to Saturday’s Brown County Regional. Plus the top 10 individuals on non-qualifying teams moved on to regional, which is a new rule set by the IHSAA this season.
Crouch posted a personal-record time of 19:50.02 to lead the Dragons, who scored 31 points. She was the only female runner to run the course in under 20 minutes.
“There were a lot of good competitors, but I felt good today and got first,” she said. “I’m surprised that I broke 20 today on this course. I’m proud of myself that I PR’d today.”
Teammate Maggie Shields finished second in 20:01.84, while Dragon senior Brittany Sharp was fourth in 20:23.65. Rounding out the Creek scoring were Jessica Backherms in 10th and Miranda Coats in 15th. Also for the Dragons, Paris Brock finished 19th and Emory Lewis was 23rd.
“They ran extremely well tonight,” Kingery said. “I was surprised that we went one, two and four. They ran really well.”
Charlestown earned a regional berth as a team by placing fourth with 114 points. Pirate junior Whitney Andrews ran in the top 10 with an eighth-place finish.
Teammates Alysha Flaget and Mary Hoff finished 17th and 22nd, respectively. Also for Charlestown, Lauren Crowe was 32nd and Kaitlynn Henning placed 42nd.
Henryville did not qualify for regional as a squad, as it placed seventh with 147 points, but the Hornets’ top two runners each got individual regional spots by placing in the top six.
Henryville freshman Cia Greene wound up third in 20:17.37, while senior teammate Sadie Spears was sixth in 20:49.65. Spears won the sectional title last season.
New Washington, which finished eighth, had four runners earn regional berths. Olivia Graebe was seventh, Courtney Morgan ended up 37th, Tori Wiggam placed 44th and Emilee Holloway was 45th.
Silver Creek tallied 74 points in its third-place finish. Junior Tanner Coots was the Dragons’ top runner as he placed sixth in 17:24.4.
Dragon freshman Cameron Stephens ended up 14th, followed by teammate Morgan Davidson in 16th. Also for Creek, freshman Boone Barton was 18th, Matthew Bottorff finished 20th, Andrew Westfall wound up 22nd and Tyler Priddy was 26th.
Kingery said the Dragons had a solid race, but came up short in trying to catch the victorious Cubs.
“We thought we had a chance to win, but Madison ran really, really well. We ran pretty well, but not good enough to win,” Kingery said. “I talked to [the Dragons] after the meet and said if you want to win up here, you’ve got to do what the girls are doing. You’ve got to come out during the summer and put in the time.”
Henryville placed fourth with 116 points. Hornet junior Jacob Hedrick was the top finisher among area teams, finishing third in 17:11.81. Teammate Zach Knox was 12th, followed by Henryville’s Koletan Freitas in 31st. Also for the Hornets, Lucas Van Meter finished 35th and Christian Smith was 41st.
New Washington, Charlestown and Rock Creek each had at least one runner advance to regional. The Mustangs, which finished eighth as a team, will have two runners at Brown County. Freshman Brandon Horton placed 17th and senior Devin Herron ended up 33rd.
Pirate freshman Seth Parker placed 23rd in earning his regional berth. Lion junior Michael Murphy qualified for regional by finishing 24th.
At Hanover College
Team scores: Madison 58, Jennings County 70, Silver Creek 74, Henryville 116, Switzerland County 125, Austin 132, Scottsburg 158, New Washington 180, Southwestern 210, Madison Shawe 282.
Overall winner: Jonah Woods (JC), 16:47.62.
Top 10: 1. Woods 16:47.62, 2. Talen Taylor (Switz) 16:52.81, 3. Jacob Hedrick (H) 17:11.81, 4. Quenton White (Mad) 17:18.62, 5. Kyle Lewis (JC) 17:20.75, 6. Tanner Coots (Si) 17:24.4, 7. Alex May (Sc) 17:42.96, 8. Anthony Hall (A) 17:46.87, 9. David Gibson (Mad) 18:01.84, 10. Braden Burk (Switz) 18:04.06.
Top 10 individuals advancers: 7. May 17:42.96, 8. Hall 17:46.87, 17. Brandon Horton (NW) 18:35.75, 23. Seth Parker (Charlestown) 18:52.18, 24. Michael Murphy (Rock Creek) 18:54.81, 25. Noah Sebastian (Sc) 19:05.15, 27. Taygon Johnson (A) 19:14.77, 28. Josiah Lawson (SW) 19:16.18, 30. Brett White (A) 19:21.91, 33. Devin Herron (NW) 19:27.15.
Silver Creek: 6. Coots, 14. Cameron Stephens 18:15.84, 16. Morgan Davidson 18:25.68, 18. Boone Barton 18:38, 20. Matthew Bottorff 18:47.65, 22. Andrew Westfall 18:50.72, 26. Tyler Priddy 19:11.18.
Henryville: 3. Hedrick, 12. Zach Knox 18:08.87, 31. Koleton Freitas 19:22.81, 35. Lucas Van Meter 19:32.84, 41. Christian Smith 20:05.34, 68. Cody Combs 24:48.46.
New Washington: 17. Horton, 33. Herron, 45. Joe Kehrwald 20:27.56, 46. Andrew House 20:36.5, 51. Bailey Hecker 21:08.46, 56. Matthew Mosley 21:55.43, 65. James Clemons 23:20.5.
Charlestown: 23. Parker, 42. Tyler Peterson 20:06.87, 66. Brett Brooks 23:23.17.
Rock Creek: 24. Murphy, 48. Jake Cundiff 20:54.02.
Team scores: Silver Creek 31, Madison 98, Southwestern 100, Charlestown 114, Switzerland County 120, Jennings County 131, Henryville 147, New Washington 167.
Overall winner: Mackenzie Crouch (Si) 19:50.02.
Top 10: 1. Crouch 19:50.02, 2. Maggie Shields (Si) 20:01.84, 3. Cia Greene (H) 20:17.37, 4. Brittany Sharp (Si) 20:23.65, 5. Whitley Schirmer (Switz) 20:45.24, 6. Sadie Spears (H) 20:49.65, 7. Olivia Graebe (NW) 21:20.93, 8. Whitney Andrews (C) 21:29.93, 9. Ashlee Allen (M) 21:33.46, 10. Jessica Backherms (Si) 21:38.18.
Top 10 individuals advancers: 3. Greene 20:17.37, 6. Spears 20:49.65, 7. Graebe 21:20.93, 14. Ashley Padgett (Scottsburg) 22:18.75, 33. Hannah Storm (Madison Shawe) 24:52.52, 37. Courtney Morgan (NW) 25:54.09, 38. Leah White (Austin) 26:06.09, 40. Megan Hill (Shawe) 27:11.3, 44. Tori Wiggam (NW) 28:00.52, 45. Emilee Holloway (NW) 28:17.34.
Silver Creek: 1. Crouch, 2. Shields , 4. Sharp, 10. Backherms, 15. Miranda Coats 22:26.31, 19. Paris Brock 23:01.56, 23. Emory Lewis 23:59.4.
Charlestown: 8. Andrews, 17. Alysha Flaget 22:52.56, 22. Mary Hoff 23:47.02, 32. Lauren Crowe 24:49.52, 42. Kaitlynn Henning 27:41.21, 62. Molly Sumner 41:28.59.
Henryville: 3. Greene, 6. Spears, 48. Kayla Wilson 28:28.33, 58. Madison Cox 34:09.56, 59. Spencer Whitehouse 34:45.28.
New Washington: 7. Graebe, 37. Morgan 25:54.09, 44. Wiggam 28:00.52, 45. Holloway 28:17.34, 52. Brooke Abbott 29:11.24, 54. Kelsey Rhoten 29:38.24, 60. Breanne Ward 36:10.84.