VINCENNES — Barr-Reeve’s Jarit Perkins finished first overall in the boys sectional cross country race at South Knox High School Tuesday evening to advance to the Regional Saturday at Pike Central. The Washington boys finished third (76) and Barr-Reeve (81)finished fourth in the team category, behind second place finisher Gibson Southern (53) and sectional champion South Knox (36).
Perkins raced to a victory in the boys race with a time of 16:30 — nine seconds ahead of second place finisher Andrew Staggs of South Knox. Washington’s KC Heller came in third (17:17) and Drew Brothers (17:49) finished eighth, while Washington Catholic’s Sam Baker was the top individual regional qualifier with a seventh place finish at 17:38.
“Jarit (Perkins) was very conservative tonight and that was the game plan,” said Barr-Reeve coach JayR Perkins. “We knew Andrew (Staggs) would be there for the first 3K, and he (Perkins) wasn’t going to do anything until the 3.5K or 4K mark. He made a little move and backed off — that was the plan and the whole time he gave me the thumbs up — I knew he was in pretty good shape.”
Baker, the lone Washington Catholic regional qualifier ran a strong race, according to Cardinals coach Josh Wichman. “Sam (Baker) ran extremely well — he ran well at the Blue Chip race and he did the same thing at this race — I’m very proud of him.”
Despite a third place team finish, Washington coach Dan Harman thought his team could have done better from top to bottom at a course in South Knox that the Hatchets are extremely familiar with. Including Heller and Brothers, Washington had five finishers in the top 29 with Austin Gray (18:20) placing 11th, Colten Garland (19:18) coming in 25th and Koty Hatton (19:36) finishing 29th.
“It wasn’t what I was hoping for — I told them I wasn’t accepting anything less than second,” Harman said. “We had a couple of kids that said they didn’t run their best, but that’s no excuse. When you come this far and it’s the sectional you have to run your best. I’m kind of upset with the finish considering we won conference last week. We advanced as a team, I am happy, maybe Saturday we’ll run better as a team.”
Princeton was the fifth and final team qualifier for Saturday’s regional, which will also include five teams from the Evansville Mater Dei sectional. In a new wrinkle this year, the top 10 runners outside of those on the regional qualifying teams will run at the regional. Baker and Isaiah Borders from North Daviess were among the 10 who qualified.
In the girls race, Gibson Southern’s Maisie Lay edged Washington’s Brandy White by less than a second with Barr-Reeve’s Emily Schultheis coming in third.
The Hatchets didn’t qualify for the regional as a team, but White will still be running as an individual. Washington came in seventh overall as a team behind qualifying schools’ Vincennes Lincoln, Gibson Southern, South Knox Pike Central and Princeton with North Daviess coming in sixth.
“That was an amazing race for her (White), Harman said. “This is kind of what happened last year — each race she is getting better and better. She talked to me about where she thought she would finish and I said you’ll finish in the top 10 easily, maybe top 5, but that was an amazing race.”
Along with White, Schultheis, North Daviess’ Jenna Meadows, Cassie Atchley and Hannah Vandermel, Washington Catholic’s Sydney Dunbar and Barr-Reeve’s Cassidy Brothers all qualified for Saturday’s regional as individuals.
The Pike Central regional will begin Saturday at 11 a.m.