Viking harriers repeat as sectional champs

Huntington North’s Charlie Mettler (right) is just a step behind Eastbrook’s Josh Neideck at the Marion Boys’ Cross Country Sectional held at Indiana Wesleyan University on Tuesday, Oct. 15. Photo by Steve Clark.

Placing all five scoring runners in the top 10 finishers earned the Huntington North High School boys' cross country team a repeat victory in the Marion Sectional on Tuesday, Oct. 15, at Indiana Wesleyan University.

The Vikings tallied 27 points for the win, less than half of the 57 complied by runner-up Oak Hill, to earn a trip back to IWU on Saturday, Oct. 19 to compete at the regional. Rounding out the top five teams who earned a trip to regional are Northfield, third with 81 points, Eastbrook, fourth with 118 and Wabash, fifth with 135.

Seniors Charlie Metter and Luke Doughty and junior Matthew DeWitt led the way for the Vikings by placing 2-3-4, respectively, in 16:22.58, 16:46.78 and 16:51.14. Junior Austin Lange jumped in with eighth place in 17:00.62 and junior Cameron DeWitt wrapped up the scoring with 10th place in 17:14.96.

"What I'm most proud of tonight is the fact that these guys ran the entire 5K with a team effort," said HNHS Head Coach Curtis Hines. "We haven't had seven guys committed over 5,000 meters in a long time, and tonight we did.

"This is the best race; this is the most competitive race we've run since the regional in 2010.

"We're not looking just for wins; we're looking for excellence. And that's what we want. We want excellence. You can get excellence and not win, and you can win and not have excellence. And these guys tonight, they did both."

Senior Josh Neideck of Eastbrook was the individual champion, beating Mettler to the finish line by 19 seconds.

The top 10 individuals not advancing with their teams also earn a trip to regional.

Freshman Dillon Valenti was the sixth man for HNHS with 19th place in 17:53.60, and junior Christian Jones completed the HNHS squad by placing 22nd in 18:03.95.