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Rossville's boys win own Hornet Invite

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INVITE CHAMPS: Rossville's boys cross country team won their own Hornet Invite on Thursday at Camp Sycamore Valley.
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YOUNG HORNETS: Rossville boys runners who placed in the top seven and received medals pose with the team championship trophy after the meet. They include freshman Nick Shedron (fourth place), sophomore Preston Padgett (first) and freshman Austin Bray (fifth).
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TOP 5: Rossville junior Tristen Wisda poses after Thursday's Hornet Invite with her fifth-place medal after running the course in 23:37. Wisda was the top finisher for Rossville's girls, which didn't have enough runners to compete as a team due to injuries.
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OUT OF THE WOODS: Rossville sophomore Preston Padgett runs on the Camp Sycamore Valley course at Thursday's Hornet Invite. He won the boys event in 17:18.

BY ANDREW KRULL - akrull@ftimes.com

Rossville sophomore Preston Padgett led his boys cross country team to the championship of their own Hornet Invite at the Girl Scouts’ Camp Sycamore Valley on Thursday coming in first individually, while the girls’ team had two runners finish in the top eight as they hope to get healthy before the county meet.

“He’s been very consistent,” Rossville head coach Darrin Haupert said of Padgett. “He was probably a little slower today, but we weren’t pushing them terribly hard because we’ve got a meet on Saturday (Harrison Invite) that we’re a little more focused on and running well at that.

“I wasn’t really backing them off, but I wasn’t pushing them to run their best races today.”

Padgett won the six-team event with a time of 17:18, with freshmen teammates Nick Shedron (fourth, 19:00) and Austin Bray (fifth, 19:14) among those winning medals at the event, which were awarded to the top seven runners for both the girls and boys.

Rossville has a young and deep team this year for the boys, with the squad even missing some depth for Thursday’s meet.

“We had three kids in the top seven and honestly we had three kids that are dual sport as well in soccer that weren’t here tonight,” Haupert said. “Preston is a double sport (soccer), but he majors in cross country. The other three they major in the other sport.”

Gabe Freeman, Gabe Spear and Noah Vanderwall missed Thursday’s meet to compete in Rossville’s boys soccer match at Benton Central.

“A couple of them would normally be in our top seven as well, if not all three some days,” Haupert said. “They are pretty deep and they’ve been pushing each other. It’s been fun because that’s what you need. You need a little bit of inner-squad competition.”

Rossville won the boys event with 26 points. They were followed by Carroll (40), Tri-County (75), Delphi (91) and Pioneer (117). Faith Christian also competed but without enough runners for a team score.

Other Hornet runners placing were sophomore CJ Geheb (eighth, seventh team in 19:41), senior Mitch Dickers (11th, ninth team in 19:54), sophomore Luke Meek (21st, 18th team in 21:30) and junior Wyatt Darnell (22nd, 19th team in 21:33).

Brodrick Good (22:39), Evan Paris (22:48), Ozzie Meeks (22:49), Dawson Lesher (22:57), Luke Royer (23:37), Eric Homco (23:48), Kaleb Del Real (23:49), Braden Marlin (23:49) and Adrian Gomez (24:41) also ran for the well-stocked Rossville squad.

The girls only had four runners able to compete and were unable to register a team score. Junior Tristen Wisda finished fifth individually in 23:37 and junior Brecken Good came in eighth at 24:42. Carroll’s Chloe Goodrich won the event in 21:03, with Carroll edging Faith Christian out for the team title, 44 to 46.

Seniors Emily Longenecker (26:39) and Lauren Mohler (27:17) also competed for Rossville finishing 16th and 22nd overall.

"They seemed to be up there in places, both (Chloe) and Brecken have run well,” Haupert said. “A little bit off from where she could be, but that’s fine.

“We didn’t have a complete team,” he added. “Zoe Marlow and Tia Purdy were still out with injuries. We’re hoping that by county (next Saturday) we might get them back so we can compete there, but no guarantees.”

The Hornet Invite is the only meet that Rossville hosts at the Girls Club camp, located just across the Clinton County line on Ind. 26.

“This is our home course, but this is the only meet we have here,” Haupert said. “It’s an awesome course. It’s all trails and wooded and it’s a pretty awesome setup.”

He looks forward to the rest of the season.

“On the girls’ side, I’m just ready to get some girls back so we can have a team,” Haupert noted. “I think the rest of the girls are ready for that too. It’s no fun getting out there and pushing yourself and not being able to even place in the team ranks.

“On the guys’ side, it’s exciting. Hopefully, we can keep pushing each other and getting better. We’ve still got a lot of improvement to go. I’m excited to see who our top seven is going to be come sectional time because it’s changed every meet and I think it will continue to do that.”