Culver Academies win boys, girls CC sectionals

CULVER — Leopoldo Burguete came on strong at the finish to win the individual boys championship and lead Culver Military to its fourth straight team sectional championship, while Culver Girls Academy placed six runners in the top 15 to breeze to its eighth straight title at the Culver Academies Cross Country Sectionals Tuesday.
Freshman Libby Read led Plymouth to a second-place finish in the girls team standings, meanwhile, while Triton’s number two and three runners stepped up to help the Trojans claim fourth place in the boys team meet, the Pilgrims survived in the fifth spot out to Saturday’s CMA Regional, and Triton’s Allie Kann placed eighth to advance individually to this weekend’s CGA Regional meet.
Saturday’s Culver Academies Regionals open with the girls race at 10:30 a.m. The top five boys and girls teams and top 15 individuals in each race at the Culver Academies meets will be joined by Logansport qualifiers Logansport, Oak Hill, Western, Northwestern and Kokomo in the boys meet and Eastern, Oak Hill, Northwestern, Logansport and Western in the girls run.
Burguete, affectionately known to his coach as ‘Polo’, overran Northfield rival Caleb Augustus in the final 300 meters to earn the individual sectional title in a time of 16:41. The championship is nice, but it wasn’t necessarily his goal, says Burguete.
“I told myself I was going to finish this strong,” he said. “It doesn’t matter what place I’m in when I finish, I want to give it my best. I’ve been practicing with my coach on turnover, so I increased my turnover and made it faster. I tried to keep it up until the end, and it paid off. I was pretty happy with the result. It was a hard race; it was a very good race.”
“Polo’s been running pretty well most of the season, and it was good to see him kind of challenge somebody at the end,” said Culver Academies Head Cross Country Coach Michael Chastain. “The way Caleb pulled away in the last two or three K I thought that was the way they’d stay, but Polo came back, so it was nice to see that from him.”
CMA’s top five all placed in the field’s top 15 on their home course Tuesday to finish with 35 points ahead of runner-up Rochester’s 44. Wess Hibbard placed sixth, freshman Landrum Neer was eighth, Alejandro Velasco placed 10th, and Harris Allen was 14th for the Eagles as they claimed their fourth straight team title.
“The boys looked reasonably good. They looked a little sluggish, but we’re hoping they’ll run a little bit better on Saturday because at least Logansport I know and maybe somebody else is pretty good on the other sectional. So we’ll have to compete harder,” Chastain said.
“Landrum Neer, our freshman, is running better. He didn’t run tremendous today, but he did pick up some spots in the last mile today. If we can get him and Alejandro Velasco a little bit faster and moving up in the pack earlier on Saturday, it’ll help.”
While Burguete came on strong at the end, Culver Girls Academy sophomore Taylor Stuewe, who has struggled with a leg injury much of the season, faded in the last stretch of the race to finish second overall with a 19:57, 25 seconds back of meet champion Jenna Halderman of Northfield.
“Taylor Stuewe has been out with a leg injury for most of the season. She looked good early and kind of ran so-so at the end, but hopefully she’ll run a little better on Saturday. We’ll get a little training in, and we’ll see,” said Chastain.
The Lady Eagles still won their eighth straight team title with plenty of room to spare, placing six runners in the top 15 as Olivia Martinez placed fourth, Hannah Buggeln was sixth, Kacie Hermanson finished seventh, Sarah Jamieson was ninth, and Katie Gawor boxed Plymouth’s Shelby Harrell out of the top 15 in the sixth spot for CGA, which outscored the Lady Pilgrims by a handy 28-74 margin.
“They handily won, but we didn’t run particularly well. They ran more than they raced today,” said Chastain. “Eastern coming in on Saturday is a very good team, so we’re hoping that our girls will step it up a little bit, but Eastern will probably handle us pretty nicely on Saturday. We hope to give them a better race than we did tonight, so hopefully the girls will rise to the occasion.”
Plymouth got a boost from a freshman as the Lady Pilgrims finished second in the team meet to advance to Saturday’s regional, as Read clocked a 21:25 in the number 10 overall spot.
“Libby is discovering she’s a runner,” said Plymouth head coach Jami Holm. “She was a little timid at the beginning of the season, and she’s come along great every meet. I wouldn’t say she’s necessarily improved her time, but she’s improved her place on the team. I think she likes it; I think she enjoys moving up. Tonight as we were getting ready for the race she said, ‘I think my goal is to maybe stay with Deborah (Anders),’ and I said ‘Well, Deborah is sick. I don’t know if that’s a good goal for you.’ She said ‘Well, maybe I’ll stay with Meagan (Fisher),’ and I said ‘Why don’t you just kind of run by yourself, try and do your own thing?’ She did, and she did great. And I knew she was having fun while she was doing it.”
All total, Plymouth’s girls grabbed five top-20 finishes at sectional as Meagan Fisher finished 12th, Shelby Harrell and Deborah Anders finished in 16th and 17th, respectively, and Darcy Fisher was 19th.
“It’s wonderful,” said Holm. “I was hoping for second and we got second. I’m happy with that. Meagan finally had a good race; we’ve had some issues with her kind of flip-flopping a little bit, not really knowing what she’s doing, trying to figure some stuff out. She didn’t necessarily run a great time today, which none of the girls did, but I told them all I would rather you be competitive and run like you did today and not necessarily hit the times that we put out for you to hit than the opposite of that. If anything, I’m most proud that this is the first meet in a long time that I’ve actually seen these girls compete.”
While the Lady Pilgrims got a lift from a new face in Read, Plymouth’s boys were helped by a veteran in senior Diego Ibarra, who has struggled throughout the season with hip problems but clocked a 17:56 to slide into 11th place for the Pilgrims Tuesday. Clay Corsbie was 29th, Matthew Lee and Levi Schuler finished within a second of each other in 32nd and 33rd, respectively, and Brandon Brashere rounded out the team’s top five in 37th place as Plymouth beat out Tippecanoe Valley 136-171 for the last team ticket out to the CMA Regional.
“I was pleasantly surprised that we made fifth, I can’t be any more honest than that,” said Holm. “This team, we’ve had some injuries. It’s not been fun, but we’re working through it. Diego ran a wonderful race today, and he’s got some issues with his hip and had a humungous blister on the bottom of his foot and ran through that, God bless him. To be honest, he was the only one I saw in that boys race that really competed today. We just got through by the skin of our teeth. But I’m happy, obviously.”
Actually, it was Triton’s boys who expected to make the fifth spot with usual number one Trenton Cooper ailing, but with a regional berth on the line, erstwhile number one Trenton Stackhouse and Nicholas Nordmann both stepped up to finish 20th and 22nd for the Trojans. Cooper placed 26th three seconds ahead of Blake Johnson in 27th, and Landon Kaufman finished 34th to push the team into fourth place overall with a 124.
“We had a couple guys step up a lot more than I thought they would,” said Triton coach Wes Rettinger. “Our number one guy, he slid back into third today… He should have been up there in the top 15; he was like top 12 in times for us. When Cooper kind of slid back, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I thought we’d get fifth, but a couple other guys stepped up and we still ran well as a team.
“Stackhouse just started running at county, he’s been injured all year, so for him to get in the 18s is really good. He was our number one again for us today; he used to be our number one last year. Nick Nordmann is our only senior, and he ran his butt off for us in number two for us. He’s been kind of battling runner’s asthma all year so it was nice to see him get a decent time and be second today.”
Triton’s girls were struggling with a myriad of illnesses Tuesday, including sophomore Kann, but the Lady Trojans top runner still managed to place eighth with a 21:15 time to earn her second straight regional berth at the Academies.
“She ran OK. She’s been a little sick this week,” said Rettinger. “As a sophomore she was eighth today, so I can’t be upset about that at all. We’re very happy about that. Hopefully, she’ll drop that time down on Saturday. Her times coming in, she should make it out.”
Mallorie Jennings finished 22nd, while Kayleigh Craig was 37th, Taylor Hatfield was 48th, and Gabrielle Cretcher placed 55th for Triton, which concluded its team season in seventh place with 159 points.
“We’ve just had some illness. Gabby Cretcher was throwing up before the race, Taylor Hatfield was actually in the hospital yesterday because her iron level was low. I’m actually really happy that they both ran,” Rettinger said.
“There are four sophomores and a freshman; they all better be back next year. And the girls are looking bright in junior high. We’ve got some good ones coming in from eighth grade so if we can hold on to the core of our team and bring a couple more girls in, we should be really competitive next year.”
Culver Community’s boys and girls also finished out the season with a pair of incomplete scores at sectional.
Sole Lady Cavalier runner Tatum Schultz finished out a strong freshman season in 28th place, roughly a minute shy of her goal of a top 15 finish and regional advancement.
“Tatum Schultz had a great season,” said Culver Community coach Adam Huber. “One meet to the next was just better and better. She came up a little bit short. I know she’s disappointed with herself today because she was hoping for that top 15 to make it to regionals. From her best times we had her right around 17th or 18th, so she was hoping for a good race today to make that top 15, but she ended up a little short of that. Still overall just a really good season. I’m really happy with the improvement we’ve had overall. It’s not a failure in my opinion.”
For the boys, meanwhile, Jaymin Sipple and Dylan Bennett finished 43rd and 44th, respectively, while brothers Mark and Stephen Lehman finished in 56th and 58th, respectively.
“Really, I was hoping for personal best times from everybody,” Huber said. “They’ve all improved meet to meet all year long; I’ve been really impressed with the improvement that they’ve had. We kind of came up a little bit short today. I’m not sure what the difference was, but they just came up a little bit short of their personal bests today.
“We’ve got all freshmen and sophomores, so we hope to see everybody back next year and get some teammates. We’ll start scoring as a team and start moving up.”
At Culver
Team Scores: Culver Military Academy 35, Rochester 44, Northfield 50, Triton 124, Plymouth 136, Tippecanoe Valley 171, Caston 200, North Miami 203.
Top 15 Individuals: 1. Leopoldo Burguete (CMA) 16:41.2, 2. Caleb Augustus (N) 16:43.2, 3. Alex Gudeman (R) 17:20.3, 4. Matthew Fahs-Brown (M) 17:30.0, 5. Devin Tracy (N) 17:39.0, 6. Wess Hibbard (CMA) 17:43.5, 7. Jeff Ferrell (R) 17:49.9, 8. Landrum Neer (CMA) 17:51.3, 9. Matt Hayes (R) 17:53.9, 10. Alejandro Velasco (CMA) 17:54.8, 11. Diego Ibarra (P) 17:56.1, 12. Tyler Byerline (R) 17:59.0, 13. Trent Moyer (N) 18:05.2, 14. Harris Allen (CMA) 18:10.8, 15. Seth Cousins (C) 18:15.9.
1. CMA (35): 1. Leopoldo Burguete 16:41, 6. Wess Hibbard 17:43, 8. Landrum Neer 17:51, 10. Alejandro Velasco 17:54, 14. Harris Allen 18:10
4. Triton (124): 20. Trenton Stackhouse 18:39, 22. Nicholas Nordmann 18:48, 26. Trenton Cooper 19:17, 27. Blake Johnson 19:20, 34. Landon Kaufman 19:32
5. Plymouth (136): 11. Diego Ibarra 17:56, 29. Clay Corsbie 19:23, 32. Matthew Lee 19:31, 33. Levi Schuler 19:32, 37. Brandon Brashere 20:13
Culver Community (NS): 43. Jaymin Sipple 21:12, 44. Dylan Bennett 21:21, 56. Mark Lehman 22:11, 58. Stephen Lehman 22:39
Team Scores: Culver Girls Academy 28, Plymouth 74, Northfield 88, Rochester 104, Manchester 132, Tippecanoe Valley 158, Triton 159, North Miami 210.
Top 15 Individuals: 1. Jenna Halderman (N) 19:32.4, 2. Taylor Stuewe (CGA) 19:57.2, 3. Kelsi Custer (M) 20:27.5, 4. Olivia Martinez (CGA) 20:39.0, 5. Anna Meyer (R) 20:54.1, 6. Hannah Buggeln (CGA) 21:05.1, 7. Kacie Hermanson (CGA) 21:06.4, 8. Alexandra Kann (T) 21:15.9, 9. Sarah Jamieson (CGA) 21:23.5, 10. Libby Read (P) 21:25.6, 11. Courtney Burns (TV) 21:38.8, 12. Meagan Fisher (P) 21:42.1, 13. Samantha Ruppert (R) 21:42.9, 14. Karla Singer (N) 21:45.2, 15. Katie Gawor (CGA) 21:50.6.
1. CGA (28): 2. Taylor Stuewe 19:57, 4. Olivia Martinez 20:39, 6. Hannah Buggeln 21:05, 7. Kacie Hermanson 21:06, 9. Sarah Jamieson 21:23
2. Plymouth (74): 10. Libby Read 21:25, 12. Meagan Fisher 21:42, 16. Shelby Harrell 21:59, 17. Deborah Anders 22:07, 19. Darcy Fisher 22:09
7. Triton (159): 8. Alexandra Kann 21:15, 22. Mallorie Jennings 22:31, 37. Kayleigh Craig 24:03, 48. Taylor Hatfield 27:37, 55. Gabrielle Cretcher 36:10
Culver Community (NS): 28. Tatum Schultz 22:50