Try 1 month for 99¢

CROWN POINT — Some history was made on a slippery track at Lemon Lake on Saturday morning.

The Crown Point Regional saw Lowell's girls team win its first regional championship in 16 years as junior Jordyn Boyer won her second straight individual championship in a time of 18 minutes, 51.12 seconds.

And E.C. Central's Enrique Romo qualified as an individual, finishing 22nd with a personal best run of 17:37.41. He is the first Cardinals runner to advance to semistate in over a decade.

His freshman year E.C., the program didn't have enough runners to compete as a team. Last fall he barely made it to regionals and the semistate door was slammed in his face by better runners and full teams.

Romo stopped playing soccer and put all of his time into running, which paid serious dividends on this day. He is one of six runners on his team.

"It's quality over quantity," Romo said. "It doesn't matter how many people we have. We all stay together and push each other."

Cardinals coach Alex Rosado understands that suburban teams with many more runners pushing each other every day in practice helps the best get better.

"The coaches run with Enrique to push him," Rosado said. "But he has an inner drive and he works very hard to be his best. We're very excited he's going to semistate."

Lowell boys coach Jake Rakoczy was even impressed by Romo's run.

"He lives in the city," Rakoczy said. "How far can he run before he has to stop? To do that on a small team is pretty impressive. He should be very proud of what he's doing."

The top five teams and the 10 individuals not on advancing teams qualified for Saturday's New Prairie Semistate, the last run before the state championships. In the boys race, Lowell won the team championship with Crown Point second, Lake Central third, Highland fourth and Hobart fifth.

Lowell's Alec Fleming won the individual championship with teammate Gabriel Sanchez finishing second. C.P.'s Aaron Kamstra was third with Lake Central's Billy Duszynski and Joey Copeland going fourth and fifth.

Hanover Central's Kevin Praszko was sixth, C.P.'s Josh Whitaker was seventh, Highland's Isaac Sytsma was eighth with Lowell's Dustin Hudak and Fernando Rosas finishing off the top 10.

Fleming credited teammate Alex Huseman for taking off at the start of the race which had Fleming chasing him early. And senior just kept that pace in winning his second straight regional crown.

"This feels good," Fleming said. "I just have to keep myself in a race mindset heading into semistate."

Lowell's Caleb Chapman did not run in the regional, nursing an injury. Crown Point's Geno Christofanelli also sat out the race, trying to overcome shin splints.

"I plan on racing to semistate," Christofanelli said. "We'll have to see how I feel next week."

In the girls race, Lowell's Jordyn Boyer won her second regional in a row. Crown Point's Maddie Russin and Hannah Wylie were second and third. Lowell's Brooke Hayden and Annalise James were fourth and fifth, while C.P.'s Jaelyn Burgos was sixth.

Merrillville's Brendea McNeal was seventh, Munster's Maria Blaesing finished eighth, Lowell's Jessica Mescal was ninth and Highland's Grace Aurand was 10th.

The Red Devils' 41 bested Crown Point's 57. Munster was third, Lake Central fourth and Hobart was fifth in the girls race.

"Sixteen years is a long time," Lowell girls coach Scott Coil said. "It feels great to get this one. Hayden had a phenomenal race, one of her best of the year. Our girls in all of our positions were able to stay ahead of Crown Point, which was important.

"Our girls are feeling good right now and health is very important as we head down the stretch."

Crown Point girls coach Ali Florek was pleased with her team's effort. Her Bulldogs beat Lowell earlier in the season and have finished a few spots back in the sectional and regional races.

Next week at New Prairie will not be just about catching Lowell. Florek said it's been many years since C.P. advanced to state as a team.

"The girls effort was great today," Florek said, pointing to Burgos' collapsing at the finish line and still needing help standing up an hour after the race was done. "These girls are great, they get along so well.

"When (Russin) passed (Wylie) in the woods Hannah didn't get upset, she just said, 'Go get her.' That kind of teamwork is great to see."


Sports Reporter

Steve has won awards during two different stints at The Times. In addition to being the Prep Beat columnist, he covers football, boys basketball and boys track. He is a long-suffering Cubs fan.