The course was muddy in spots and runners said their feet sunk in at times, but Alena Sapienza-Wright of Manual and Trenton Fryman of North Oldham overcame those obstacles to win individual titles in the annual Rumble Through the Jungle cross country meet Saturday.
Sapienza-Wright, a freshman who won the Tiger Run two weeks ago at Champions Park, ran the 5,000 meters at Creasey Mahan Nature Preserve in a record time of 18 minutes, 24.76 seconds in a tight finish among three competitors.
Mercy junior Brianna Wolken and Presentation senior Caroline Gosser finished second and third and also broke the meet record of 18:27.88 set by Colllins’ Gabriella Karas last year. Karas, a sophomore who has won the past three state Class 2-A crowns, did not defend her Rumble title.
Boys run at the halfway point in the 5K varsity race at at Creasey Mahan Nature Preserve in Goshen. September 13, 2014
Wolken was clocked in 18:26.38 and Gosser in 18:27.69.
“I thought it would be really cool to get the record,” Sapienza-Wright said. “I got a great start and took the lead for good with 200 meters to go.”
Fryman, a junior running on his home course, outran runner-up Brennan Fields of Madison Central with a time of 16:08.33. Fields, also a junior, came in at 16:11.47, beating South Oldham’s Tanner Dowdy (16:26.40) to the wire.
“I got the lead for good with 400 meters left,” said Fryman, who finished second to Jonathan Taylor of Portland Christian in last year’s Rumble. “It was a late move. I’ve been sick all week and I didn’t want to take the lead until I had to. I wasn’t 100 percent today.”
Sapienza-Wright also led Manual to the team championship as the Lady Crimsons’ first five runners totaled 90 points to 125 for runner-up Oldham County.
“We don’t care who gets the job done as long as Manual does it,” coach Tim Holman said. “Our girls ran hard as a team. Sapienza-Wright has a perfect combination of talent and tenacity. She’s one of the hardest workers on the team and the most talented.”
Eastern’s top five finishers were three freshmen, a sophomore and a junior, but the Eagles won the boys’ team title with 85 points to North Oldham’s 93. Freshman Luke Hoover was the Eagles’ best finisher at eighth.
“This is a pretty special group,” coach Mike Horan said. “This is my 12th year, and I’ve never had a group like this. We have a bright future.”
• Girls: Sapienza-Wright, Wolken and Gosser staged a three-way battle most of the way.
“I was supposed to pick it up at the two-mile mark, but it didn’t work out that way,” Sapienza-Wright said. “My arms and legs began to feel numb and I didn’t feel good. It was very muddy and hard to run.”
“Alena began to take over with 200 or 300 meters to go,” said Wolken, who was fourth last year. “I led for a mile or so, but I was pretty tired by then (when Sapienza-Wright made her move). I was happy to finish like I did.”
“We stayed in a pack and never were separated by more than a few yards,” Gosser said. “I started at the far left in the starting line and had to go around a lot of girls. This was my first race of the season. The others had raced twice before. I haven’t done much speed work and that came into play. This is a tough course with two big hills on it.”
After Sapienza-Wright, Manual sophomore Emma Kuntz, freshman Jordan Grantz , freshman Grace Tatro and junior Riley Head tallied 11, 14, 27 and 37 points for a low 90 in the team scoring.
• Boys: Asked if running on his home course gave him an advantage, Fryman said: “Probably. We practice here every day. The course was really sloppy, but it was nice it was cooler outside and that equals out to when it was real hot.”
This was only Fields’ second race this season.
“I’m satisfied,” he said. “It was a good race all the way through for me. I felt strong, but with a fourth of a mile left my legs couldn’t get me there and he (Fryman) took over.”
Dowdy said his race “went good. I have a slightly injured left leg that is not 100 percent healed, but I stayed with the lead pack. I may have led for a mile, but I wanted to feel the race out and not push it. I could see him (Fryman) with 400 meters left, and with 200 to go he took it home.”
Dowdy’s twin, Cole, did not run. Only two of South Oldham’s top five competed in the Rumble, electing to train more for this Saturday’s annual Trinity Invitational at Tom Sawyer State Park.
Eastern’s 85 points came from Hoover (8), freshman Emerson Wells (11), junior Sam Beach (17), freshman Sam Ackerman (18) and sophomore Avery Evans (31). Runners who didn’t compete for a team did not count in the team scoring.
“We have a really deep group on our JVs and varsity,” Horan said. “We had a good performance today.”
Manual, despite Darius Payne placing fourth and Yared Nuguse sixth, finished third as a team. St. Xavier’s Spencer Hayden, who won the Tiger Run, was 21st in 17:17.16.
Team scores – Manual 90, Oldham County 125, Madison Central 175, Hancock County 194, North Oldham 217, Eastern 226, Bullitt East 230, Indianapolis Pike 233, St. Henry 278, Mercy 279, South Oldham 296, Collegiate 298, Presentation 305, Atherton 326. Shelby County 349, Franklin County 372, Christian Academy 389, Male 397, Paul Dunbar 400, Collins 463, Western Hills 546, Kentucky Country Day 580, Pendleton County 663.
Individual leaders – 1. Alena Sapienza-Wright, Manual, 18:24.76; 2. Brianna Wolken, Mercy, 18:26.38; 3. Caroline Gosser, Presentation, 18:27.69; 4. Sierra Poppell, Bullitt East, 19:22.98; 5. Erin Edmundson, North Oldham, 19:52.21; 6. Avery Fryman, North Oldham, 20:00.26; 7. Tabitha Martin, Spencer County, 20:03.02; 8. Madeline Clements, Franklin County, 20:07.75; 9. Catherine Sullivan, Eastern, 20:09.51. 10. Julian Manning, Madison Central, 20:10.51; 11. Clara Lynch, Christian Academy, 20: 18.16; 12. Emma Kuntz, Manual, 20:19.18; 13. Ivanna Sabino, Madison Central, 20:19.56; 14. Ashley Lawhon, Franklin County, 20:22.40; 15. Jordan Grantz, Manual, 20:23.09; 16. Libby Anneken, St. Henry, 20:33.31; 17. Sydney Young, Hancock County, 20:34.53; 18. Samantha Griffin, Oldham County, 20:36.53; 19. Estelle Gabriel, Collegiate, 20:40.02; 20. Allison Burgin, Eastern, 20:46.61.
Team scores – Eastern 85, North Oldham 93, Manual 103, Paul Dunbar 186, Warren East 188, St. Xavier 196, Shelby County 197, Ballard 235, South Oldham 262, Butler 318, Bullitt East 340, Collegiate 347, Hancock County 361, Spencer County 373, Oldham County 393, Christian Academy 400, Atherton 404, Pendlelton County 437, Madison Central 441, KCD 498.
Individual leaders – 1. Trenton Fryman, North Oldham, 16:08.33; 2. Brennan Fields, Madison Central, 16:11.47; 3. Tanner Dowdy, South Oldham, 16:26.40; 4. Darius Payne, Manual, 16.38.27; 5. Austin Moran, Butler, 16:39.38; 6. Yared Nuguse, Manual, 16:40.46; 7. Isaac Shelton, Bullitt East, 16:42.20; 8. Luke Hoover, Eastern, 16:45.22; 9. Justin Hanson, South Oldham, 16:48.88; 10. Ben Currey, 16:Ballard, 16:49.15; 11. Emerson Wells, Eastern, 16:52.47; 12. Alex McClarty, North Oldham, 16:55.85; 13. Matthew Bode, Collegiate, 16:58.14; 14. Chris Adams, Manual, 16:58.37; 15. Aaron Osborne, Warren East, 17:04.02; 16. Jacob Hershberger, Collins, 17:06.79; 17. Marcus Grady, Atherton, 17:08.86; 18. Sam Beach, Eastern, 17:13.38; 19. Sam Ackerman, Eastern, 17:15.41; 20. Jerrod Eleazer, Warren East, 17:16.32.