FORT WAYNE — The gap wasn’t much at the top of Saturday’s Northeast Hoosier Conference meet.
State-ranked No. 8 Carroll came in as the odds on favorite looking to defend its crown in the girls’ race for a seventh consecutive year. However, the No. 17 Lady Eagles used a school record from freshman Samantha Roush to tighten the field.
Despite five Eagles in the top 20, Columbia City couldn’t overcome Carroll’s NHC dominance falling to the Lady Chargers by 14 points.
“We ran better than last week,” Columbia City head coach Bob Fahl noted. “We ran great today. Homestead ran well enough today to be the spoiler.”
Finishing behind the Lady Eagles, Homestead had enough spots in the top 20 to take away from both Carroll and Columbia City. The Lady Eagles were able to take two top five finishes in freshman Samantha Roush’s second-place school record time of 18:41.
Roush’s new record beat the old record of 18:47 held by senior Renee Menzie. Menzie finished two spots back in fourth at 19:09. Roush and Menzie both earned first-team all-conference honors.
Freshman Brooke Werstler finished 11th — good enough for second-team All-NHC.
Other Lady Eagles finishers: Carlee Hearld 15th (honorable mention), Erin Knepple 18th (honorable mention), Samantha Engle 21st (honorable mention), Heather Shew 35th.
“No one is complaining and we’re running hard,” Fahl said. “As long as your improving and getting ready for the sectional we’re OK. They ran a strong, smart race.”
Columbia City together finished 2-4-11-15-18 while Carroll used a senior-freshman combination to take 1-3-5-13-14. Senior Brianna Johnson won in a time of 18:29 while freshman Coral Whaley finished third.
The City boys’ team had Brenden Zoltek earn honorable mention for his team-best finish of 15th.
The Eagles took seventh overall as a team with freshman Evan Harney coming in behind Zoltek in 24th.
Other Eagle finishers: David Potter 34th, Trevor Maggart 37th, Adam Bernhard 39th, Connor Slavicek 50th, Ben Fausey 53rd.