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Catholic Central’s Engel making marks in XC, soccer

Springfield Catholic Central freshman Addie Engel isn’t concerned about pacing herself. If there’s a cross country race, she wins. If there’s a soccer game, she plays.

And if Engel spent Saturday evening doing nothing, she earned the time off. She won the George Rogers Clark Invitational on Saturday morning, finishing the race 10 minutes before 10 a.m. Then it was off to play in a soccer game at 11 a.m. at Southeastern.

“I’ve grown up playing soccer and got into cross country in junior high,” Engel said. “It’s nice to challenge yourself and push yourself to do better. That’s why I like it.”

Engel beat a 12-team field of 127 runners Saturday with a time 20 minutes, 23.6 seconds on the hilly course. In her first race last Saturday, she won the Graham Invitational in 20:24.5.

“Addie is an absolute natural competitor,” Central coach Chris Cerone said. “Even when we say take it easy on this one, this run is not for districts or anything, she can’t run slow and wants to be in the lead.”

Central usually has two or three athletes playing two sports, but Engel is one of eight doing so this fall.

“I think it’s not ideal for any student to do two sports, but she has a passion for both of them and she’s able to be competent and healthy doing both,” Cerone said.

Engel’s twin sister Bridget finished 14th in 22:10.1 to help the Irish place fifth with 159 points. Tecumseh was fourth with 131 points. The Arrows were paced by freshman Gena Diller (22:42.7) in 19th place. Teays Valley won with its five runners in the top 18. Northwestern was sixth and Triad was eighth.

Boys: Northwestern's one-two punch of seniors Justin Prack and Ryan Cleland carried the Warriors to a fifth-place finish with 140 points in a 16-team field. Prack was third in 17:24.1 and Cleland was fourth in 17:54.1.

Prack has been a top performer since his freshman year and has advanced to the state meet three times. Cleland, however, has made big strides in the past year.

“Justin’s been a great runner since middle school,” Warriors coach Tracy Cleland said. “Ryan is progressing and he’s made himself a great runner. They both have legitimate chances of going to the state meet.”

The Warriors’ depth and team postseason aspirations took a hit last Saturday when freshman Drew Blazer suffered a broken bone in his right foot about halfway through the Friendship Invitational in Cedarville. Coach Cleland said he felt Blazer, who finished the race, could get close to breaking the 17-minute mark.

“We were in that hunt for a state berth, and I felt like we were progressing pretty well,” Coach Cleland said.

Teays Valley won by six points over Hilliard Davidson. Northeastern junior Logan Brown placed sixth in 17:58.6, and Tecumseh sophomore Ethan Adams was 15th in 18:19.7.