Led by freshman, Arabians girls advance to xc regional

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PENDLETON — Teamwork paid off the Pendleton Heights girls cross country team in the sectional as they placed third and advance to regional competition.

Four of their five runners placed in the top 20 to give them a score 71 behind winner Hamilton Southeastern, which had 22 and Fishers who scored 59.

Lapel advanced two runners but did not place in the top five teams. Blue River Valley and Shenandoah were the fourth and fifth teams to advance.

Freshman Ava Jarrell was the top finisher for the Arabians. She placed sixth with a time of 20:37. Behind her in 8th was senior Laney Ricker with a time of 20:57. Senior Berkeley Lord was 15th with a time of 21:43, while freshman Julieanne Spejewski was 18th with her time of 22:05. Sophomore Abigail Davidson was 25th with a time of 23:19.

“We weren’t too far behind Fishers,” Coach Melissa Hagerman said. “I don’t feel like we ran our absolute best, but this week of training and backing off will help definitely.”

Jarrell said her sectional run was a good one for her.

“I wanted to make sure to get out and get a good spot and run a good race,” she said. “I feel like it was one of my better races mentally. I may have not gotten a really good time, but that didn’t matter too much.

Hagerman said seniors Ricker and Lord had a very good race.

“They are really flexing their senior muscles and leading the team like I need them to do.”

The Arabians have planned training this week to prepare for the regional and a possible run at semistate.

Jarrell and Ricker have been the top two Arabians runners for most of the season. Laney is the most consistent runner ever,” Hagerman said. “She’s so solid. So if she gets out in the race, Ava’s going to be right there.”

Hagerman added that Ricker has been good for Jarrell in her pacing.

“Laney challenges her in every practice. She’s been a great training partner.”

For the Bulldogs, who placed seventh overall, sophomore Hannah Combs and freshman Ashlyn Doster will continue in the regional race. Combs finished 23rd with a time of 22:53, while Doster was 35th with a time of 25:39. For Combs, this will be her second appearance in the regional.

“We’re going to go about what we normally do practice-wise and go there and try to get somebody out,” Coach Darrell Richardson said.

While the pressure is off for the team scores, Richardson said the pressure is still there.

“It’s more pressure on them because they know they have to go there to compete to try to get out.”

Delta will play host to the regional, which is set for Oct. 16 at the Muncie Sportsplex. The girls race begins at 11:15.