PORTER TWP. | When Jordan Chester was a freshman, Boone Grove had three runners, two shy of even being able to post a team score in the Porter County Conference meet.
As a senior, not only Chester but the Wolves are PCC champions.
Led by the fourth-time individual winner and four finishers among the top seven, Boone held on to dethrone three-time defending titlist Hebron, 40-41, Tuesday at the Boone Grove Wetlands Course.
"I'm completely ecstatic," Chester said. "The girls have been great. They've trained hard. They've wanted it since day one. The team was the most important thing. This is all about them. It's been a joy to watch them grow."
Chester, who broke her own course record with a time of 18 minutes, 45 seconds, was backed by freshmen Sarah Steinhilber (fourth, 20:14) and Mariah Rodriguez (fifth, 21:14) and junior Gabby Salas (seventh, 21:17). Bethany Neyhart came in 23rd, just soon enough for Boone to hang on.
"The upperclassmen have been so accepting of all the freshmen," Wolves coach Trish Kloth said. "They've taken them under their wing. They're such a close-knit group. They're always pushing each other. The girls started off knowing what they wanted to do and (beating Hebron in the dual) kept the fire going even more. They all knew what it was going to take and it's huge coming out with the win."
The meet and round-robin titles are both Boone's first, while Chester completed her PCC career grand slam in resounding fashion in her home course finale. Runner-up Jordan Hanaway of Hebron was 65 seconds back of Chester, who was also the mental attitude award winner.
"I always look at my watch," Chester said. "(Kloth) threatened to take it away but she didn't do it. The course is very challenging. It gives you days of good and bad. The weather was great. I just wanted to come out and run a good time."
Hebron put seven runners in the top 19, but couldn't overcome Boone's top four, which came in before the Hawks trio that followed Hanaway.
"They moved up on us from the last time," DeVries said. "They were ahead of pretty much all of us."
Hanaway moved up one spot from last year's finish of third.
"Jordan's a sweet person. She deserves everything," Hanaway said of Chester. "I love her to death. She pushes me. She's helped me since middle school. I wouldn't be here now if it wasn't for her."
Kouts' Tara Hamstra was the top runner not named Jordan, placing third in a course-best 20:14.
"I came here wanting to get third and to keep (Hanaway) in my sights," Hamstra said. "I was closer to her than I have been."