Lapel’s Smith, PH girls third at Roundup

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Lapel’s Cameron Smith (2723) finished third at the Arabian Roundup Cross Country Meet at Pendleton Heights on August 24, 2022.

Rob Baker |For The Times-Post

PENDLETON — Third-place finishes at the Arabian Roundup cross country meet elicited different emotions from Lapel and Pendleton Heights.

In the boys 5K race at Pendleton Heights High School on Wednesday Aug. 24, Lapel’s Cameron Smith placed third behind Mt. Vernon champion Tristan Trevino and Wapahani runner-up Nick Cook. Trevino won handily with a time of 16:22.29. Cook finished in 16:44.56. Smith was the only other runner to break 17 minutes, finishing in 16:54.65.

Smith was hoping for a better performance in the early-season meet.

“I’m kind of disappointed. I was hoping for a little more than third. You live with it and have to move on,” Smith said. “I don’t want to make excuses, the heat got to me a little early. I didn’t feel 100% going on to the line, and my confidence wasn’t there. That was a big part of it. I should have believed in myself more.

“I started pushing the last 1K, but I let (Cook) get too far (ahead). I can’t let that happen again.”

As disappointed as Smith was with his race, he understands there are many more to come this season. The most important ones come at the end during the postseason.

“(It’s August), that’s why I’m going to move on, put it in the past and work harder in the future,” he said.

With one of her top runners having an off-day, Pendleton Heights head coach Melissa Hagerman was excited to see her girls team earn a third-place finish in a strong field of competitors.

The Arabians scored 94 points, just seven behind second-place Yorktown (87). Mt. Vernon won with 53.

Hadley Walker led the Arabians with a fifth-place individual placing. Walker ran the 5K race in 21:27.16. Jaycee Thurman was 12th in 22:26.63. Abby Davidson finished 23rd in 23:18. Lily Hessler crossed the line in 27th place with a time of 23:34.41. The final scoring runner was Olivia Welpott. She placed 34th in 24:20.80.

Ava Jarrell, a Top 10 finisher at last year’s Delta Regional, finished 35th in 24:24.17. Julieanne Spejewski was 40th in 24:42.69.

“(Ava) will be fine. She didn’t have a good week, but she came out and competed,” coach Hagerman said. “To place third and her not do very well, I was pretty happy with that. Normally, she would have been a Top 5 runner. I was super-excited for (Hadley).

“I hated that Ava didn’t feel her best. She took a risk and ran anyway, but I was happy that Hadley was able to gain some confidence.”

Hagerman said she was pleased with her boys, too.

Team-wise, Pendleton Heights placed fourth with 93 points. Lapel was 10th with 300 points. There were 14 full teams and 112 runners in the race.

Mt. Vernon won with 52. The Arabians were just four points behind third-place Greenfield-Central (89). Wapahani was runner-up with 72.

Pendleton Heights had two Top 10 finishers with Andrew Blake (8th – 17:27.34) and Will Coggins (9th – 17:29.78).

Other Pendleton Heights racers were Jason Lyst (19th – 18:03.64), Benson Davis (21st – 18:36.64), Devin Koperczak (42nd – 19:20.05), Lucas Pardue (43rd – 19:21.22), and Ashton Smith (68th – 20:31.25).

“We’re going to do nothing but get better,” Hagerman said of the boys team. “I hope the other schools are working as hard as we are. I love my boys, they’re competitors. They like to race, and I like that.”

It was a rough day all around for the Bulldogs. Along with Cameron Smith’s disappointment, coach Darrell Richardson said the team’s No. 2 runner had to pull out after hurting an ankle stepping into a hole on the course, as well as getting spiked.

“We’re very young on the bottom end (of our lineup),” Richardson said. “They’re just learning to run. They’re going to get better, but it’s going to take a minute.”

For Lapel, after Cameron Smith, Simon Nickelson placed 51st (19:42.46).

Other runners for the Bulldogs included, Elijah Stires (89th – 22:45.57), Jonathan Tharp (100th – 23:52.85), Diego Reconver (102nd – 24:00.65) and Bennett Contos (104th – 24:47.49).

For the girls race, Lapel did not have enough runners for a team score. Hannah Combs had a strong performance with an 18th place finish in 22:47.34. Avery Johnson was 82nd in 32:44.50.

Both Pendleton Heights and Lapel were in action again on Saturday. The Arabians competed in the Oriole Hokum Karem, while the Bulldogs competed in the Wapahani Invitational.

At the Hokum Karem, which took place in Avon, the Pendleton Heights girls finished in fourth and the boys finished in sixth.

The girls were led in the six-mile partner race by the duo of Jarrell and Walker who finished fourth with a time of 37:38.

Other Pendleton Heights finishes were Thurman/Davidson (14th), Hessler/Welpott (19th), Spejewski/Sam Sutton (22nd), and Raya Conway/Jillian Green (27th).

The Arabians scored 35 points, placing them behind Bishop Chathard (21), Avon (18) and Brownsburg (17).

Leading the boys was the duo of Coggins/Blake with a time of 31:01, good enough for fourth place.

Other finishes were Koperczak/Pardue (22nd), Jackson Craig/Ashton Smith (29th) and Zack White/Brendan Walker (30th).

In the Wapahani Invitational, Lapel earned a fourth place finish from the boys, while the girls didn’t have enough competitors to place as a team.

The boys finished with 95 points, losing out to Wapahani (29), Monroe Central (76) and Eastern Hancock (82).

Cameron Smith led the Bulldogs again with a time of 16:32 to finish second. Following him was Braxton Burress with a ninth place finish of 18:06.

Other Lapel finishes were Nickelson (17th), Stires (32nd), Reconver (47), Contos (50) and Tharp (51).

On the girls side, Lapel’s only runner was Johnson, who finished 32nd with a time of 28:39.

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