Cross Country: Northwestern girls set for first regional appearance since 2012

Northwestern junior Madison Little leads the Warriors into their first regional cross country appearance since 2012. Greg Billing/CONTRIBUTED
Northwestern junior Madison Little leads the Warriors into their first regional cross country appearance since 2012. Greg Billing/CONTRIBUTED

SPRINGFIELD – Entering this season, the Northwestern Warriors last trip to the Division II girls cross country regional championship came in 2012. With the graduation of three-time state qualifier Kassidy Carpenter and regional qualifier Jenna Cleland, the Warriors were facing an uphill effort.

In a year where it seems like anything can happen, the Warriors responded with an inspired third-place finish at the D-II district championships at Cedarville University last Saturday. Northwestern highlights a solid area contingent competing at the regional championships Saturday in Troy.

The Warriors non-senior lineup is led by junior Madison Little, who clocked in at 20:19.2 at district for ninth place. Joining her are sophomore Kayley Yontz, freshman Alyssa Christian, junior Natalie Boehmer, junior Madison Lyday, freshman Kensie Hayes and sophomore Anna Prack.

“The ladies had the regionals as a goal since the beginning of the season and we felt if everyone stayed healthy it was definitely a possibility,” Northwestern coach Angie Whip said. “The week after our conference meet we began having more discussions about what each person needed to run and where they needed to place in regards to athletes from competing teams for us to progress.  The ladies surprised themselves by their race times and placing higher as a team than expected.”

The top four teams and top 16 individuals not on a qualifying team advance to the state championship meet in D-II girls. The top three teams and top 12 individuals qualify for state in D-II boys. In D-III, the top four teams and top 16 individuals qualify in both boys and girls meets.

“There are a number of very competitive teams in our regional so my expectation for the ladies is to take this Saturday all in, enjoy the moment, compete and run for a Lifetime PR,” Whip said.

Among other highlights from the area:

Cedarville: The No. 1-ranked team in the state goes against the defending champs in Cincinnati Summit Country Day.

The Indians are coming off a D-III district title to qualify for the regional championships for the fourth straight season. Senior Ethan Wallis set a D-III course record at Cedarville University with 15:51. That topped the 16:06.48 set by Greenon’s Max Pettit in 2017.

Going with them again are the girls. The Indians qualified for regional for the second straight season and second times in program history with a third-place finish. Senior Ellyn Coe paced Cedarville with third place.

Emmanuel Christian: Junior Jacob Kittles scored a 12th-place finish to qualify in D-III, while freshman Jasmine Bell finished 15th in D-III to advance in the girls meet.

Mechanicsburg: Freshman Will Negley finished 16th to keep his season alive with a trip to the D-III regional.

Shawnee: Junior Audrey DeSantis won her first D-II district title in 18:25.8, topping Waynesville’s sister tandem of Samantha and Hope Erbach. The team missed advancing by 11 points.

The boys grabbed the fourth and final qualifying spot to advance. Junior Jordyn Dillavou led the way with sixth overall.

Triad: Freshman Shalyn Smiles ran a strong 12th at district to qualify for the D-III regional.

West Liberty-Salem: What’s the regional meet without the Big Orange?

The boys qualified for the regional meet for the 14th straight season and the girls for the 18th straight following its fourth straight D-III district title.

Junior Dylan Lauck ran a 15:41.9 to break the school record he set the week prior at the Ohio Heritage Conference championships. That time also broke the D-II course record of 15:58.14 set by Carroll’s Kevin Agnew in 2019.

Freshmen Addison McAuley won the D-III title in 18:49.5 with freshman Ashley Yoder and seniors Katelyn Stapleton and Madison Bahan helping provided a 1-2-3-4 finish for the Big Orange.

Yellow Springs: Sophomore Cheyan Sundell-Turner cracked the top 10 and qualified for her second straight regional with seventh in D-III.

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