Photos by Gary Nieter, Times-Union
The pack begins to spread out after the start of the girls sectional cross country championship at Manchester High School.
Photos by Gary Nieter, Times-Union The pack begins to spread out after the start of the girls sectional cross country championship at Manchester High School.
It was a clean sweep for Warsaw at the sectional cross-country meet held Saturday at Manchester High School. But there were some anxious moments on the girls’ side as they were waiting for the results to be announced.

The Tiger boys crushed perennial powerhouse Culver Academies by placing five runners in the top 10. Warsaw was led by senior Jacob Kissling who captured the individual title in 16:28, ten seconds ahead of Culver’s Samuel Tullis.

The girls race ended in a rare tie, however, with the top five girls for both Warsaw and Culver totaling 41 points per team. Normally, only the top five runners count in the scoring in cross-country, but in the event of a tie, the sixth runner becomes the tie-breaker. In this case, Warsaw had two girls, seniors Adree Beckham and Whitney Shepherd, finish ahead of Culver’s sixth girl to seal the win. Junior Wini Barnett placed third in 19:42 to lead the Lady Tigers. Culver senior Alexis Allen captured the girls title in 18:35.

“It’s not very common but then this year has been an uncommon year for everything. I haven’t seen it happen since I’ve been coaching,” said girls head coach Jason Fleming on the tie. “This is a pretty special day for us.”

“We had some great races today and some that we’ll work on moving forward,” he continued. “I was very pleased with how everybody stepped up today. They knew what it would take to win against Culver Academy, which is a really strong team and we knew we’d be in for a fight.”

“To come out on top is the icing on the cake. It’s been a privilege to watch these girls run this year and it’s not over yet.”

Boys head coach Jim Mills was equally proud of his young group of Tigers despite the team as a whole not having its best outing.

“It was not our greatest performance but at this point all you care about is moving on,” Mills said. “Jacob Kissling has been real consistent and today’s time is right where he’s been running. As for the rest, we’ve got a really good pack this year, no real superstar, but when you can get four or five guys to finish within 15-20 seconds of each other that usually bodes very well in the big race scoring and that’s what we’re counting on moving forward.”

Both teams will move on to compete in the regionals to be held next Saturday at Logansport, a course Mills said is especially treacherous through a roughly wooded area full of roots, rocks and narrow paths.

“It’s a shame we’ll have to run there instead of hosting the meet on our home course, which is one of the nicest in the entire state,” he added. “But I look for us to still be able to advance.”

Manchester High School finished 4th while Tippecanoe Valley came in 6th and Triton 8th in boys competition. Manchester girls also finished 4th while Valley and Triton finished 7th and 8th.

Elsewhere, Wawasee had two boys qualify for their regional meet. Karlson Hand and Camden Powell placed 10th and 28th respectively.  On the girls side, Lily Tyler, Emma Ebright and Mariah Hurst also move on to regional competition.



Complete results for Warsaw:

Boys

1    Jacob Kissling        SR    16:28

4    Harrison Phipps    JR    16:58

5    Sam Lechlitner    SR     17:02

7    Tanner Stiver        SR    17:07

10    Garrett Hall        SO    17:22

15    Ian Denzer        SR     17:45

16    Luke Nier        JR    17:55

Girls

3    Wini Barnett        JR    19:42

5    Regan Brouwer    JR    20:19

9    Erika Bugg        SO    20:51

10    Ava Knight        JR    20:51

14    Marissa Howett    FR    21:07

15    Adree Beckham    SR    21:09

19     Whitney Shepherd    SR    21:37