Heritage Hills claims Raider Invite boys’ team title

Travis David/The Herald
Southridge runner Dylan Bland (far left) leads a pack of runners near the start of the race Tuesday at the Raider Invite. Bland won his second straight invidual title. 


HUNTINGBURG — The Heritage Hills boys cross country team did not have the fastest runner at the Southridge Raider Invitational on Tuesday.

But the Patriots did have the best group of runners.

Led by Elliott Buechlein’s fifth-place finish, Heritage Hills placed all five of its top runners in the Top 15 to come away with the team championship with 40 points.

Perry Central finished 13 points behind, while the host Raiders finished a distant third with 84 points.

“We know that if we are truly going to be successful, we are going to have to run as a pack,” Heritage Hills coach Kurt Denning said. “And I thought our pack was pretty solid tonight.”

Buechlein crossed the 3.1-mile course with a time of 18 minutes, 28 seconds, while teammates Wyatt Koenig (19:20), Owen Rahman (19:23) and Pierce Lashley (19:24) all followed in succession.

The Patriots’ No. 5 runner, Eli Wilson, rounded out the scoring with a 15th-place finish with a time of 19:50.

“As the season progresses, we are going to have to drop our times, but overall tonight, I was happy with the way the boys ran,” Denning stated.

Despite a third-place finish in the team standings, Southridge took the top two spots individually.

Dylan Bland captured his second straight Raider Invitational title, as he crossed the finish line with a time of 17:53 — 12 seconds ahead of teammate Cameron Giles.

“I was hoping to have a little faster time, but it was pretty hot out here today. But it’s still a great way to open up the season,” Bland said of his individual win. “I was hoping to go around 17 minutes — I have been hitting that mark all summer — but my legs were a little dead at the end today.”

As far as strategy, Bland mentioned he wanted to take the lead from the start.

“Just take it from the gun,” he said. “I wanted to go as fast as I could. I went pretty hard for about the first two miles, then I started to die a little bit. But we have the rest of the season to work on that.”

The girls meet saw a repeat individual champion as well.

Lady Patriot Katie Winkler dominated the field, finishing nearly two minutes ahead of the second-place finisher.

Winkler covered the course in a time of 21:26 — 1:35 ahead of Pike Central’s Libby Stone.

“After winning it last year, I was hoping to be able to conquer it again today,” Winkler said. “I did not feel all that good, but my place and time said differently, so I guess it was a pretty good day overall.”

As a team, the Lady Patriots finished second to Pike Central, 54-61, while Southridge placed fourth with 84 points.

Both Heritage Hills and Southridge placed two runners in the Top 15.

Michaela Gogel joined Winkler in the Top 15 with an 11th-place finish in a time of 24:27.

The Lady Raiders were paced by Brooklyn Tretter’s sixth-place effort, while Evie Hasenour placed two spots behind.

Tretter crossed the line in a time of 23:32, and Hasenour in 23:149.

A total of 43 runners finished the girls race, while the boys had 44 harriers finish.


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