Seeger girls cross country

Members of the Seeger girls cross country team pose on Saturday with the IHSAA Regional Championship trophy at the Tippecanoe Amphitheater. The Lady Patriots defeated the West Lafayette Red Devils, who had won 10 straight regional crowns, by a score of 35-56.

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — A week ago, the Seeger cross country teams made history with both the boys and girls claiming sectional titles in the same season.

On Saturday, it was another historic day for the Lady Patriots.

Seeger, paced by by top-five finishes from Jennifer Romero, Austin Hadessah and Libby Smith, secured its first-ever regional title at the Tippecanoe Amphitheatre.

The Patriots had all five of its scoring runners in the top-20 to finish with 35 points, while the second-place West Lafayette Red Devils, who have claimed the last 10 regional titles and 18 of the last 20, finished second with 56 points.

“We had looked at the sectional results and have been doing our research for the last couple of weeks,’’ said Seeger coach Miles Stucky said. “We knew exactly what we needed to do. As long as we ran our normal race, we knew we had a good chance to win the regional title.

“This is obviously a great accomplishment but we remain on track for our goal of qualifying for the state meet.’’

Romero, who won last week’s sectional race, was second on Saturday behind West Lafayette senior Haley Mansfield. Romero’s time was 19 minutes, 19.5 seconds. Hadessah was third in a time of 19:34.9 and Smith was fifth with a time of 19:43.4.

“Those top three definitely did what we needed them to do,’’ Stucky said. “And I thought our fourth and fifth runners also ran well.’’

Seeger also got a 12th-place finish from Allison High (20:23.1) and a 17th-place finish from Nataleigh Yarborough (20:32.7).

With the victory, the Patriots advance to the New Prairie Semi-State meet next Saturday. In years past, the semi-state meet has been the culmination of cross country season for Seeger, but that’s not the plan for this year.

“This year getting to semi-state is just another step on the road of making the state meet,’’ said Stucky. “We just need to keep running strong.’’

Joining the Seeger team at New Prairie will be Covington’s Bailey Duncan, whose 33rd-place finish was good enough for her to be the 10th and final individual qualifier on the girls side.

In the boys race on Saturday, Seeger’s Kolton Pearson and Thomas Odle were the only two area runners that were able to secure individual spots in next week’s semi-state meet. The Patriots, who had qualified as a team for the regional meet, were without three runners, two because of injury and another who was out of town all week, so the Seeger runners could only advance as individuals.

Pearson was 17th in a time of 17 minutes, 26.3 seconds, while Odle was 22nd with a time of 17:33.0. Seeger teammates Ethan Hernandez (18:23.0) in 42nd and Jonevin Laswell (23:07.2) in 77th failed to qualify.

“We thought we might be able to get our top three to semi-state,’’ Stucky said. “Kolton and Thomas ran the races we expected, but Ethan went out a little too hard and it caught up with him at the end.’’

Also missing out on a trip to the semi-state meet were Covington runners Blake Bova and Mason McPherson-Duprey. Bova was 58th with a time of 19:11.1, while McPherson-Duprey was 63rd with a time of 19:27.4.

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