RENSSELAER | After Morgan Township’s Ben Savage toured the wet and windy course in 16 minutes and 29 seconds at Tuesday’s Rensselaer Sectional to win the boys title, he received well wishes from fans and foes alike.
“Nice run, Ben,” and “Way to go, Ben,” were relayed by many.
Kankakee Valley’s Travis Conley, who finished just 3 seconds behind, is also an admirer.
“I’ve known him since my freshman year,” said Conley, a senior. “We’re really good friends, and we’ve trained together before.”
Savage wasn’t bothered by the adverse conditions.
“It’s awesome,” he said. “I liked it a lot and was looking forward to it. The first couple miles was a little slow.”
Conley said they were able to pick up the pace for the final mile.
“I started sticking with him as much I could,” he said.
The top five teams and the top 10 individuals not on an advancing team advanced to Saturday’s New Prairie Semistate.
Conley’s teammates finished in fourth, eighth, ninth and 12th pace to give the Kougars the team title with 35 points, topping LaCrosse’s 77. Morgan was third with 78 points.
“It was a good win,” K.V. coach Tim Adams said. “At least in my era, that eclipses our best mark in terms of scoring, team average time, and probably all around performance.”
North Newton and Rensselaer also advanced.
K.V.’s Allison Rockley finished third to pace the Kougars, who put their top five runners among the top 15.
“The weather wasn’t good, but I stuck to it,” she said.
Rensselaer sophomore Riley Hickman was runner-up to West Central’s Mickayla Wenzel (19:22) for individual honors.
“I was just trying to keep my eyes on her,” said Hickman, who finished in 20:17.
The K.V. girls won their second straight title and fourth since 2008, finishing with 44 points. West Central was second with 59 and Rensselaer was third with 66. North Newton placed fifth to advance.
“I’m very happy with it,” K.V. coach Lane Lewallen said. “You assume nothing. West Central and Rensselaer ran great. They should be extremely proud of their girls.
“I’m proud of mine, putting all the top five scorers in the top 15 is strong in this weather, and I’m pleased with our performance.”