RENSSELAER | Hebron girls coach Mike DeFries knew it was going to take a concerted effort from his cross country team to knock off favored Kankakee Valley at Tuesday's Rensselaer Sectional.
Placing three runners in the top 10, the Hawks got it done, while their fifth runner, Jordan Keehnm finished 16th for Hebron's 53 points to runner-up K.V.'s 58.
"Our one, two and three had to be up there with K.V.'s one, two and three because K.V.'s one, two and three are always up there," DeFries said.
Hebron's top runner, freshman Abigail Getautas, placed ahead of K.V.'s No. 3 to break the pack.
"That was huge for us to have her up there," DeFries said.
Allison Rockey placed third to lead the Kougars.
The top five teams and the top 15 runners move on to the regional. Other teams qualifying for Saturday's New Prairie Regional were West Central, Morgan Township and Boone Grove.
Kouts' Tara Hamstra won the individual girls crown, while Morgan's Ellen Turman took second.
"I haven't felt that good in a race yet this year, so that‘s exciting," said Hamstra, who also won the PCC crown last week. "It feels pretty good."
Likewise, the Kougars took solid effort to take the boys team title with 71 points to edge runner-up Heborn's 73. Also advancing to the regional were Rensselaer, Morgan Township and North Newton.
K.V. sophomore Travis Conley, who placed fourth to pace the Kougars, said the team wanted to succeed for its seniors.
"They mean a lot to me," he said. "Last year, we missed (the title) by five points, and I was very disappointed so we wanted to come back strong this year. We all ran good."
Kougar seniors Trevor Overstreet and Justin Wicker placed 14th and 18th, respectively. Overstreet was the sixth man in 2008 when K.V. last won the sectional, and his finish broke a tie to win the championship.
"They continued to race throughout the contest," K.V. coach Tim Adams said of all his runners. "They each ran great races."
Morgan's Alec Kostelnik won the boys race in 16:14, more than 25 seconds ahead of Rensselaer's Trent Nagel.
"I sat back for the first two miles then pushed the third one, which is what I‘ve been doing for most of the year," Kostelnik said.