Dustin Horter was most impressed with his teammates as “a collective whole.” And Sophie Carrier? She just wanted to have fun.
Horter, the outstanding Lakota East High School distance runner, and Carrier, of Shaker Heights near Cleveland, both won individual titles during the 31st Mid-East Cross Country Championships at Indian Riffle Park on Saturday.
The postseason event drew most of the top senior runners from Ohio, Michigan, Indiana and Illinois. Soupy course conditions and high winds prevented the winners from challenging meet records.
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Horter was the only boy to crack 16 minutes on the winding 5K (3.1-mile) course that also featured a creek crossing and two uphill climbs. He broke from a front-running pack with a half-mile left and pulled away to win in 15 minutes, 51 seconds.
Michigan teammates Shuaib Aljabaly (Coldwater) and Drew Wenger (Lakeland) were 2-3.
“It wasn’t really about me winning it; it was a collective whole,” said Horter, who will compete at the next level for Indiana University. “We just came up a little bit short but everybody gave it their all. We had a lot of guys up (near the top) and I’m really proud of their effort.”
Michigan (35 points) defended its boys team title over runner-up Ohio (42).
Also competing for team Ohio were Joe Spitzer (Versailles), Karl Grossman (Carroll) and Max Pettit (Greenon).
Tyler Schwartz of Indiana (DeKalb) had a sizeable lead after one mile of the girls race but was overtaken by Carrier with less than one mile remaining. Carrier paced Team Ohio, which stayed mostly together through two miles.
Carrier led most of the last mile and won in 18:25. Team Ohio placed four runners among the top nine and dethroned defending team champ Michigan, 38-46. Ohio hadn’t won a Mid-East boys or girls team title “in a long time,” said meet founder Neal Charske.
“I wasn’t really expecting to (win),” said Carrier, who’s committed to Kentucky. “I was just coming here to have fun and it was. It definitely does mean a lot. I just wanted to go out relaxed because I didn’t want to go too hard and die. I just worked my way up the whole race. I tried to hold on and kick.”
The girls individual runner-up was Illinois’ Madison Marasco (Schaumburg; 18:31) and Schwartz was third (19:01).
Also competing for the Team Ohio girls was Perri Bockrath (Alter), who was ninth (19:30). Jim Weckesser (Beavercreek) was the Team Ohio boys coach and Jessie Magoto (Minster) the Team Ohio girls coach.
MID-EAST CROSS COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIPS
At Indian Riffle Park, Kettering
Boys team results: 1. Michigan 35; 2. Ohio 42; 3. Indiana 67; 4. Illinois 72.
Top 5 boys: 1. Dustin Horter (Ohio/Lakota East) 15:51; 2. Shuaib Aljabaly (Mich./Coldwater) 16:00; 3. Drew Wenger (Mich./Lakeland) 16:02; 4. Zach Applegate (Ohio/Bowling Green) 16:03; 5. Matt Richtman (Ill./Kaneland) 16:03.
Girls team results: 1. Ohio 38; 2. Indiana 46; 3. Michigan 51; 4. Illinois 122.
Top 5 girls: 1. Sophie Carrier (Ohio/Shaker Heights) 18:25; 2. Madison Marasco (Ill./Schaumburg) 18:31; 3. Tyler Schwartz (Ind./DeKalb) 19:01; 4. Rachel McCardell (Mich./Birmingham Seaholm) 19:02; 5. Samantha Saenz (Mich./Concord) 19:07.