MARION — Logansport’s boys cross country team entered Tuesday’s North Central Conference meet with hopes of winning its first league title since 1974.
But it was Muncie Central that came out of nowhere to dominate the event, winning with 33 points. The Berries had to settle for third with 68 points. Huntington North (58) was runner-up.
“Disappointment’s the initial reaction because we had to be one of the very favorites to win it,” Logan coach Chuck LaDow said. “Muncie, I don’t know if they ran out of their head or if they’ve been that good and just haven’t been running ….
“It’s OK. We’re young and five of these seven guys will be back next year, and hopefully we can get that title next year.”
Sophomore Tate Gellinger had the top showing for the Berries, placing fourth with a career-best time of 16:44.
“I ran well, I thought,” said Gellinger, who’s picking up steam as the season has gone along. “The beginning of the season, psychologically, I wasn’t there. I had a breakout run at Culver. I liked the weather there, it was raining, so it felt good. I ran a 17:01, PR’d there. That was a breakout race for me.
“I think we’re doing well as a team. Losing Kyle [Overway] and Daniel [Arteaga], coming back as a team, we held it together. We’ll come back at sectionals and hopefully we’ll get them there.”
Senior Jon Flory also earned All-NCC honors with a top 10 finish, as he placed ninth in 17:06.
Travis Palmer placed 14th (17:25), Kyle Jordan was 17th (17:35), Alex Calisto was 24th (17:50) to round out the Berry scorers. All three are sophomores. Junior Audie Kaufman placed 25th (17:51), and senior Chris Espinoza placed 27th (18:05).
“I had five out of my seven guys run personal bests, and Tate dropped his by almost 20 seconds,” LaDow said. “So you can’t be disappointed with the effort of the kids, they’re bringing their times down and competing, it’s just that overall disappointment of we gave our best and we didn’t win.”
Next up for the Berries is next Tuesday’s Logansport Sectional.
“We’ve been dominant in the area,” LaDow said. “We look forward to hopefully putting a sectional title on the wall, and it hasn’t been done since I was born in 1969.”
Following the top three teams, New Castle was fourth (79), Kokomo fifth (154), Marion sixth (165), Anderson seventh (183) and Richmond eighth (215).
Muncie Central’s Fabian House was the NCC champ with a time of 16:34. Huntington North’s Cordell Lewis was second in 16:37, and Muncie’s Austin Green was third in 16:40.
Logansport’s girls team had no ideas of winning an NCC title, but the Lady Berries continued to show remarkable improvement since the season began. The improvement led to a third-place finish, the best ever in school history according to coach Brian Morrill.
“We have never finished in the top four in the last 30 years, as long as the program’s been around, so that was one of our goals,” he said.
The Berries finished third with 105 points behind champion Huntington North (17) and runner-up Marion (74). Anderson was fourth (124), Richmond fifth (128), Muncie Central sixth (132), New Castle seventh (170) and Kokomo eighth (230).
Senior Kelsey Hosler led Logan with a 15th place finish in 21:53.
“We had one in the 21s, and that’s the first time that’s happened in five years. Kelsey Hosler ran a great race,” Morrill said. “Every week it’s somebody different, and that’s good because we can put it all together at sectionals.”
Hosler was followed by sophomore Megan Martin (19th, 22:15), junior Carina Lange (20th, 22:20), sophomore Lari Rutschmann (25th, 22:54), freshman Maddi Zartman (26th, 22:56), senior Bailey McIntire (30th, 23:15) and sophomore Kat Meyer (33rd, 23:35).
“They all ran well,” Morrill said. “They’ve been getting better every week. We’re peaking at the right time.”
Huntington North claimed the top four individual spots, and Robyn Karst was the NCC champion with a time of 19:30.