HIGH SCHOOL CROSS COUNTRY: Chucks sweep individual titles at Crimson Hawk Invitational
Bo Dinger took care of some unfinished business, while Juliann Boddorf finished strong to defend her crown, and both Punxsutawney runners raced to first-place individual finishes at the fifth annual IUP Crimson Hawk Invitational, a high school cross country event put on by IUP, on Saturday morning at the South Campus Course.
Dinger, a junior, finished the hilly 3.1-mile course in 17 minutes, 36.7 seconds, 15 seconds ahead of Indiana’s Ryan Louther, who overtook Dinger with a late surge in last year’s race.
The senior Boddorf won her second straight Crimson Hawk invitational with a steady time of 21:23.9 to beat Allderdice’s Amber Christian by 6 seconds.
Punxsutawney won the boys’ team title with 53 points, edging Blairsville (56) and Allderdice (58), while Allderdice breezed to the girls’ team championship with 31 points, 19 ahead of second-place Punxsutawney.
“It means a lot,” Dinger said of getting the boys’ title. “It’s pretty exciting. I probably don’t show much of it now, but once I get home I probably will. Right now I’m just kind of tired, but yeah, it’s a good deal.”
Dinger built a lead on Louther and Adam Lenze — another Indiana runner who was in the hunt, finishing 2 seconds back of Louther — around the 1-mile mark.
“I think we were pretty close up until there,” Dinger said, pointing to the final stretch as he recalled last year’s race, “then he got me. I’m not much of a sprinter at the end and he’s pretty good at that, so he got me there. Last year I really wanted to win. I had a chance to win my first invitational, and I couldn’t get it done, so I was pretty frustrated after that.”
That changed Saturday.
“I knew he was going to bring his best race today,” Louther, the Indiana senior, said. “I knew he was going to try to beat me.
“The first mile I felt good. I thought I was right on pace, then I guess I slowed down the second mile, and I guess it just wasn’t my day.”
Indiana usually expects to win the team title, but the boys didn’t come particularly close, with 69 points and a fourth-place finish in the smaller-than-usual six-team field.
“I’m a little disappointed,” Louther said. “We wanted to come out here and win it.”
Boddorf kept her steady pace, which was good enough to duplicate her title in Indiana.
“It was nice to be able to (repeat),” she said, “because I didn’t know if I would. At the beginning I was further behind, but I just wanted to keep the pace I was at.
“I don’t like going out hard, because then you have to keep that pace. I’d just rather build up from there.”
She pulled ahead of Christian on the final straightaway. Kacey Raible took fourth place, in 22:00.2, to lead Indiana, which was third in the girls’ team scoring, at 62.
Melanie Zolocsik (10th place), Taylor Thomas (13th), Teresa Roth (17th), Sean Coleman (18th) and Bethany Balencic (21st) gave the Indiana girls six top-25 finishers.
Lizzy Cornish (sixth place) led West Shamokin, and Ryleigh Ludwig (14th) paced United in the five-team girls’ field. Taylor Koches finished 17th in the overall scoring to lead Blairsville, which did not field enough runners for girls’ team scoring.
Alex Horchar (18:57.0), Austin McLean (18:59.7) and Ryan Horchar (19:03.5) finished sixth, seventh and eighth, respectively, to lead the Blairsville boys to a second-place team finish. Derek Rocks finished in 13th place and Jared Uncapher took 22nd.
Sam Lenze finished 12th and Austin Rhodes took 25th for the Indiana boys.
Logan Stancombe (ninth place) led West Shamokin, and Gaige George (20th) and Noah Bracken (21st) paced United.