On Saturday, October 5, the New Castle Girls’ and Boys’ Cross Country Teams traveled to Pendleton Heights High School to compete in the Hoosier Heritage Conference (HHC) meet. After training for weeks in high temperatures with high humidity, the weather had changed on Saturday morning and was very conducive for racing. Temperatures were in the high 50s to low 60s, skies were sunny, with no wind, and low humidity. As is the case with most sports, the HHC is a very competitive conference and athletes must perform at a very high level to earn All-Conference honors. Week after week the Trojan Harriers have challenged themselves and tested their resolve to push their limits over the course of the 5K distance. Cross Country is a sport where each athlete knows going into each race that they are going to have to push through the pain to see where their limits lie. The Trojan harriers all gave everything they had during HHC competition. All the New Castle athletes showed up to race and compete to the best of their abilities with goals for a personal best, a varsity roster spot, or for All-Conference.
The Trojan boys team posted several season best or near season best time in the HHC meet. The team was without previous front runner, sophomore Andrew Fewell who is rehabilitating a knee injury and plans to return to competition next week for the Sectional meet. For the second meet in the row, team lead responsibilities again fell on sophomore Skyler Dickey who had high hopes of an All-Conference placing. Dickey got out with one of his fastest starts of the season and followed with one of his fastest middle mile splits. This swift start allowed Dickey to steadily move up through the field from the top 30 eventually into the top 20. Through the final mile, Dickey continued with a strong race, battling neck and neck with the competition. At the tape Dickey finished in 23rd place with a time of 18:09.28 which was right in the range of where he had been running most of the season. Next up was junior Ayden Humbles, who has been working diligently in recent weeks to rehabilitate an injury and was eager to re-establish himself as a front-runner for the team. Humbles had a very solid race fighting his way through the field with a solid start and strong middle mile. Humbles finished in 41st place with a time of 19:02 which was just eleven seconds off of his personal best.
The exceptional performance for the NC boys team came from first year high school harrier, senior Drew Nelson, who has been steadily improving throughout the season. Moving up through the field, Nelson looked strong and confident throughout the race and started with his fastest first mile of the season posting of 5 minutes 58 seconds and followed with his season quickest second mile of 6:19. However, Nelson was not done yet as he increased the pace even more the third and last mile as opponents were fading he was accelerating and passing the competition one by one along the way. Nelson ran his last mile in 6:12 which put him in 44th place at the finish line with a personal best time of 19:07.49 which was 48 seconds faster than his previous best that he posted week before.
Junior Quentin Hedges started with a solid first two miles of the race but struggled the last mile. Hedges still finished with a respectable finish place in 46th with a time of 19:46.30. Senior Ben Head has been working very diligently in recent weeks to rehabilitate a nagging injury and return his fitness level to where he’d like it to be. His diligence appeared to be making a difference as Head looked solid throughout the contest and ran his best race of the season by running almost thirty-seven seconds faster than the previous week. Head steadily moved up through the field the entire race and ran his best mile splits of the season which resulted in a time of 20:09.27 which was good for 50th place.
Sophomore Xander Bray worked with senior Luke Carter the entire race, trading places throughout the contest to push each other along. Bray fought through a side-stitch the later stages of the race which made racing more difficult. In spite of the challenges, Bray had a great finish and placed 54th with a time of 20:54.53 which was six seconds faster than the previous week and just nine seconds off of his personal best. Carter also ran a good race by cutting over twenty-one seconds off of his season best by working with Bray throughout the chase. For Carter, this yielded his first sub twenty-one minute finish this season. At the tape, Carter was just one second behind Bray in 55th place and a time of 20:55.53.
As a team the Trojans varsity squad placed 8th in the very tough HHC meet.
In the junior varsity race, junior Dominic Reynolds had his second best time of the season with 21:54.92 and placing 31st. Also in the JV race, sophomore Joshua McCune, competing in his first cross country season, continued to improve and put forth an exceptional effort by posting a personal best time of 23:49.08 which was fifty-one seconds faster than his previous personal record. Rounding out the JV roster was senior Will Hayes. Hayes has continued to improve greatly in recent weeks and had another impressive kick into the finish chute at the end of the race. Hayes’ time of 36:11.86 was two minutes fourty-two seconds faster than the previous week and six minutes faster than two weeks prior.
The NC boys team start their State Tournament competition next Saturday, October 12 at 10:30am with the Sectional Meet hosted at Connersville High School.
Trojan Boys Results Summary:
Place Time Name
23 18:09.28 Skyler Dickey
41 19:02.01 Ayden Humbles
44 19:07.49 Drew Nelson
46 19:46.30 Quentin Hedges
50 20:09.27 Ben Head
54 20:54.53 Xander Bray
55 20:53.53 Luke Carter
JV 31 21:54.92 Dominic Reynolds
JV 42 23:49.08 Joshua McCune
JV 48 36:11.86 Will Hayes
Complete HHC results can be found at the following links:
Boys Varsity Results: