KALIDA — A strong pack of runners is tough to beat.
At Saturday’s (Kalida) Wildcat Invitational at the Kalida Fish and Game Club, Lincolnview’s pack was too tough to overcome, as the Lancers ran away with the team title, defeating second-place Ottawa-Glandorf 32-98. Wapakoneta (121), finished third, while Crestview (139), Napoleon (185) and Elida (203) rounded out the top six boys’ teams in the 17-team field.
Lincolnview’s top two runners set the pace early. Alek Bowersock and Karter Tow jumped out into the lead pack early and led the way for the Lancers.
Bowersock won the race on the 5,000-meter course in 16 minutes, 22.9 seconds. Tow fell a little behind his teammate in the final mile, finishing in second place (16:38.4). Lima Central Catholic’s Quentin Potempa, who led for most of the first mile, finished third (16:54.6).
“Coach told me to go out and just let the other people do the work in the first mile,” Bowersock said. “I was sick Tuesday. I had the flu. So, I was just going to sit back and see what everybody else was going to do the first mile and adapt with that.
“At about the (first) mile, me and Karter started moving. And at the two-mile is when I started to pull away a little bit from Karter. He (Tow) is always there to push me and I’m always there to push him. So, it’s whoever wants it on that day. You just go out there and run your best.”
Bowersock said the entire team loves to challenge each other. Last season, the Lancers finished 14th at the Division III state meet.
“It’s a competitive atmosphere at practice. We’re always battling and pushing each other to be the best. It’s always fun, especially when you have your teammates to battle against,” Bowersock said.
Rounding out the top five runners for Lincolnview were Jacob Keysor (sixth, 17:14.4), Devon Bill (11th, 17:25.8) and Collin Puckett (12th, 17:27.8).
“The boys had thirty-some points (team score) today,” Lincolnview coach Matt Langdon said. “Our goal was to get in the 40s today. We were able to do that. So, I’m really happy at the way we’re running. We still have a few boys who aren’t quite where they want to be. But overall, it’s a good place this late in the season.”
In the girls’ race, Napoleon took home the team title, edging out Lincolnview 41-56. Crestview (93) finished third. Wapakoneta (108), Ottawa-Glandorf (144) and Patrick Henry (148) rounded out the top six teams.
Crestview’s Ragen Harting won the girls’ race in 19:56. Leipsic’s Lola Quinterowensink finished a close second (20:02.9), while Lincolnview’s Madison Langdon came in a close third (20:04).
Harting, a Division III state-qualifier last season as a sophomore, wanted to start pushing harder after the first mile on Saturday.
“I wasn’t in the lead, but I was in the top five,” Harting said. “I picked it up around the two-mile and then I tried to push through.
“I heard people cheering for other runners. So, I was wondering how much they were behind me. They were pretty close. It was a really good race.”
Harting hit one of her main goals on Saturday.
“It was my goal since my first race – to get a sub-20,” she said.
Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0451.