Washington won its own boys cross country invitational Saturday and Madison Decker was the individual winner on the girls’ side at the Sports Complex.
Those results were expected.
But Washington coach Dave Harman also witnessed results that he hopes will continue as had been expected.
“This is the team (boys) I’ve been waiting to have from the beginning of the season,” Harman said.
His Hatchets have been running through injury, illness and surgery this fall. Harman noted the Saturday event was the first time he has had his boys team at full strength.
Drew Brothers returned after knee surgery. And while Brothers is still not 100 percent, his eighth place finish was pleasing for Harman and the team.
“Drew coming back and running an 18:04 is a real positive,” Harman said. “It was very positive for him and the team.”
Harman also liked his team’s pack, starting with KC Heller in second and finishing with Brothers in eighth. Dalton Short, who missed the team’s last race with an illness, completed the top five for Washington in 16th.
“Having KC, Logan (Sipes), Austin (Gray) and Drew in the top 10, that’s what I’ve been expecting all year,” Harman said. “It just depends on the meet. I think any of those guys can be the leader in the top four.”
The Hatchets had four of the first eight, making a 37-72 margin over second place Princeton rather easy.
Loogootee’s Zach Wagler beat a closing Heller at the finish by a second.
The victory, and improved health, should bolster a Hatchet team that wades into higher water in the weeks ahead.
Washington runs Saturday at South Knox in an invitational that usually brings sectional opponents, as well as talent from southwestern Indiana. The Barr-Reeve Invitational follows Sept. 18, and four days later Pike Central, the Chargers host the regional, serves as the conclusion of an important trio before the Big 8 meet Sept. 29 in Evansville.
“The next races are important for us,” Harman said. “It will give us a chance to see where we stand at South Knox and Barr-Reeve. Barr-Reeve will be the first time we will see Jasper, which we haven’t run against.”
It has been nearly two decades since the Hatchets won a conference championship. The Hatchets have experienced success against conference opposition, minus Jasper.
“It would be nice to perform well there (Barr-Reeve),” Harman said.
Decker has been running through a leg injury, and Harman was happy to see her Saturday time. He was also quite pleased to see continued improvement from Brandy White, who placed second just 12 seconds behind.
“This is Brandy’s first year to run, and she’s coming along really well,” Harman said. “She ran track for me in the spring, and she’s doing really well. Her confidence increases with each race.”
Decker, who placed 50th in the state last fall as a freshman, will have to see how much, and how long, the leg injury affects her runs.
“She’s coming off an injury, so it was nice to see her finish at the front,” Harman said. “We’re not too sure how long it will last. She’s had trouble getting the practice she needs, but between the both of them, it’s a good combination.”
That trio of event should be a very good measuring stick of things to come for both sides.
“We’re going to see some very good runners,” Harman said. “We’ll see where we are.”
Team scores: Washington (W) 37, Princeton (P) 72, Shakamak (Sh) 72, Mitchell (M) 86, Loogootee (L) 147, Owen Valley (OV) 164, Sullivan (S) 176, Shoals (Sh).
Top 10 Individual and local runners
1. Zach Wagler (L), 17:04; 2. KC Heller (W), 17:05; 3. Sam Wallace (P), 17:11; 4. Ethan Sparks (OV), 17:25; 5. Logan Sipes (W), 17:37; 6. Austin Gray (W), 17:42; 7. Luke Sweet (Sh), 17:48; 8. Drew Brothers (W), 18:04, 9. Will Niederhaus (P), 18:06; 10. Eric Johnson (Sh), 18:06; 16. Dalton Short (W), 18:48; 29. Cody Hatton (W), 19:30; 31. Timber Shelton, 19:39; 32. Mac Osborne, 19:49; 34. Liam Hollihan (L), 20:01, 39. Wesley Wittman (L)), 20:31; 42. David Donnersberger (L), 21:33; 46. CJ Thompson (ND), 21:51; 48. Adam lark (L), 22:43; 49. Brian Asdell (ND), 22:44; 51. Matt Weitkamp (L), 23:57.
Team scores: Mitchell 58, Owen Valley 66, Sullivan 67, Princeton 73, Washington 96, North Daviess 121.
Top 10 Individual and local runners
1. Madison Decker (W), 19:49; 2. Brandy White (W), 20:01; 3. Savannah Turner (Sh), 20:09; 4. Alckscy Green (Sh), 21:56; 5. Alyssa Gardner (M), 22:02; 6. Cheyenne Wright (OV), 22:04; 7. Mariah Sweet (Sh), 23:05; 8. Haleigh Hinkel (S), 24:08; 9. Kierston Brittingham (P), 24:10; 10. Brianna Garrett (P), 24:12; 19. Jenna Meadows (ND), 25:22; 25. Pam Porter (ND), 26:01; 27. Kenzie Roark (ND), 26:15; 31. Caitlin Chestnut (ND), 27:12; 32. Margaret McCormick (W), 27:18; 35. Brandi Bozarth (W), 28:02; 36. Hannah Vandermel (ND), 28:13; 39. Mattie Graber (W), 29:54.
Top 10 Individual and local runners
(No team scores)
1. Noah France (W), 19:46; 2. Kinzer Havill (P), 20:04; 3. Austin Parkes (M), 20:26; 4. Jaret Hardin (P), 5. Curt Potts (W), 20:38; 6. Draven Harvey (W), 20:41; 7. Lucas Elliott (P), 20:44; 8. Jaykob Nicholas (M), 20:54; 9. Matt Wilcoxen (L), 21:02; 10. Sam Perkins (P), 21:08; 12. Ben Harner (W), 22:01; 15. Jon Krszeniak (L), 22:54; 23. Ariel Jones (L), 26:19.
By Dennis Glade
The Washington boys tennis team wanted to start a new winning streak and Monday afternoon they did just that.
The Hatchets (5-2) swept all five matches in consecutive sets on their way to a victory against North Daviess at Lena Dunn Elementary School. Washington was intent from the beginning to play at a high level and take care of business quickly and efficiently. Starting with one singles player freshman Lucas Miller all the way down to two singles’ Garrett Burton and John Harner, who won both sets without relinquishing a point, the Hatchets presented a total team effort.
“When we took the courts we wanted to make sure we played aggressive, focused tennis and not worry about who’s on the other side of the net,” said Washington assistant coach Wes Taylor. “You never know from one night to the next how good the other guy is going to be. You have to take care of your business.”
The Cougars (3-6) lost their third straight match and head coach Brock Higgins said his team did the best they could given the disparity in talent between the two squads, in what has been a tough part of their schedule as they prepare to match up with Evansville Rivet today.
“We were overmatched today,” Higgins said. “We’ve run into a string of good teams lately.”
Taylor was most imprissed with Miller’s play in his victory against Evan Hawk (6-0, 6-2). He said that improved a lot over the last 12 months and despite his youth, he isn’t just a freshman player trying to figure things out each day.
“Lucas (Miller) had more weapons today, he’s a tennis player,” Taylor said. “He’ll get bigger and faster and stonger, which will end up makin him a better player. Right now he’s a very good tennis player.”
Despite the easy victory for Washington, Taylor said there are still plenty of things each member of the Hatchets can work on as they move toward the sectional.
“Both of our doubles teams still need to work on net efficiency,” Taylor said. “We extend points too often with our volleys instead of ending points and against good teams you will lose matches that way. Our serving is an issue all up and down the line, we are continuing to work to make the serve a weapon, not just an opportunity to get a point started.”