Sinning gets Tipp to first regional title

Senior Allison Sinning has college visits to make, but the heavily recruited runner will have to wait at least another week.

The 2012 All-Ohioan ran a personal-best 18:18.41 Saturday at the girls Division II regional cross country meet and finished second overall, pacing Tippecanoe High School to its first regional title.

In the celebratory aftermath, the 17 seconds standing between her and race champion Mary Kate Vaughn of Oakwood (18:01.95) didn’t seem to matter.

“I just love this team,” said Sinning, who’s being recruited by such schools as Oklahoma State, Tulsa, Butler and North Carolina State. “Family comes first in my life, and my team is like my family. My main goal all year has been to get my team to state.”

The Red Devils haven’t lost to a D-II team all season.

“You never know what will happen at a state meet,” said fifth-year Tippecanoe coach Byron Kimmel. “I do know one thing, though. My girls will run their hearts out.”

They’ll have some welcome company from the Red Devils boys, who captured their sixth regional championship behind winner Mitch Poynter (16:13.16). The fleet sophomore finished five seconds ahead of Shawnee juniors Will Holmes (16:18.21) and Jordan Penrose (16:21.19) in the day’s most competitive race.

“I decided to take a risk at the start, and after the second mile I pulled away from the pack and away from my team,” Poynter said. “It was a very fast pace with a lot of good guys up front. I just had a little more left at the end.”

In pursuing the Tipp speedster, Holmes and Penrose each set personal records, sparking the second-place Braves to yet another state berth.

“I was focused today,” Penrose said. “I took the whole week and did everything right. I went to bed early, ate right and kept a positive attitude. Emotionally, it was there for us as a team today.”

Holmes fought off mid-race cramps to shave four seconds off his best time, while Penrose quickened his pace a full 15 seconds.

Lebanon senior Jacquelyn Crow finished sixth in Division I (18:31.13) – nearly half a minute behind second-place finisher Lainey Studebaker of Centerville (18:02.23) – and will make her fourth state appearance.

“My goal is just to be the best I can be, knowing that things will turn out the way God wants them to,” said Crow, who’s verbally committed to Furman University.

Like Tippecanoe, Centerville qualified both its girls and boys teams to state.

Centerville senior Ryan Larkin (15:39.76) led the Elks boys to a third-place team finish – just ahead of crosstown rival Beavercreek.

Studebaker, a sophomore who also PR’d, paced the D-I champion Centerville girls, last year’s state runners-up.

Also, Lakota East teammates Ben Call and Abbie VanFossen finished seventh overall in their D-I races to advance to state.

Lehman Catholic’s Joe Fuller (16:27.99), Troy Christian’s Zac Garver (16:36.82) and Cedarville’s Zach Bowen (16:41.23) finished third, fifth and sixth, respectively, in the D-III boys race – well behind Summit Country Day’s Mason Moore, who smoked the field in 16:11.53.

“I’d like to beat my school record of 16:15,” said Bowen, a senior making his first state trip who logged 60 miles a week this summer. “It will all be really exciting, I’m sure.”

Springfield Catholic Central’s Emily Belovich, a junior, finished eighth in D-III (19:48:18), while Versailles’ girls squad took the fourth and final team-qualifying spot.

Other girls team qualifiers include D-II Oakwood (second) and Alter (fourth) and D-I Beavercreek (fourth).

Alex Groene’s sixth-place finish (19:11.04) sparked Alter in the D-II race. State-bound boys squads are D-III West Liberty-Salem (fourth) and D-II Carroll (third).

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