TERRE HAUTE — The Indiana high school cross country season came down to one last race Saturday.
Both Columbia City and Whitko had a representative at the state finals meet on Terre Haute’s LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course.
A season after running in 16th-place overall, the No. 17 Lady Eagles used an all-state finish by freshman Samantha Roush to place 13th overall.
“The positive outcomes of the state meet for us were many,” Columbia City head coach Bob Fahl said. “These ladies as well as the entire cross country team represented Columbia City High School and the community at a very high level. They are all winners and achievers.”
Coming into the day, Columbia City fielded three freshman and three seniors in its top seven.
Samantha Roush came away as the top freshman in a field of 189 runners. The Lady Eagles regional champion capped of her first season with Columbia City placing 12th overall. Roush used the last 400 meters to pass three runners and earn a first-team all-state honor.
“Sam Roush’s 12th-place finish and placing as the state’s highest freshman was sensational,” Fahl noted. “She ran a fantastic race from start to finish.”
Two seniors filled the next to finishing spots for Columbia City with Renee Menzie placing 43rd at 19:28.
Menzie was just ahead of senior Laken Lefever and freshman Brooke Werstler who placed back-to-back in 105th and 106th.
Packing running was the Lady Eagles identity for the day with the next two Lady Eagles finishing together. Sophomore Carlee Hearld was in 131st just ahead of freshman Erin Knepple in 132nd.
Senior Samantha Engle rounded out Columbia City’s top seven runners in 147th.
“Coach (Tim) Hearld and I couldn’t be prouder of these runners and we know full well how hard each of them worked and practiced to get to this level of competition.”
The 13th-place finish was just five spots off of Columbia City school record eighth-place team finish by a Lady Eagles squad.
The 319 points by Columbia City beat out 11 other teams. The Lady Eagles were eight points ahead of Bloomington South and 15 points back of Westfield for 12th.
Menzie finishes top 50 for ’Cats
TERRE HAUTE — There was one ’Cat remaining as the state finals got underway Saturday in Terre Haute.
After its first sectional championship as a team, Whitko saw its lone senior carry on the Wildcat name at LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course Saturday.
Senior Brian Menzie ran among 197 of the state’s best cross country runners.
Menzie used a time of 16:25.0 to place in the top 50 Saturday taking 49th overall.
The two places ahead of Menzie were less than a second ahead of the senior ’Cat. Concordia sophomore Jacob Reinking placed 48th at 16:24.8.
The trip to state finals was only the second one for a Wildcat in school history. Menzie used an eighth-place finish at last weekend’s New Haven semistate to advance.