Runners from Northeastern High School prepare to compete in the cross country Hokum at Hagerstown Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014.
HAGERSTOWN, Ind. – Mason Bledsoe built a big lead.
Jevon Osborne took over, and despite a scary interruption, Bledsoe and Osborne teamed to make up the distance and win Tuesday’s season-opening Hagerstown Hilly Hokum cross country race.
The hokum is a relay-type format in which runners take turns running half of a 5K race.
Bledsoe ran his first leg, then tagged Osborne, who said he saw Hagerstown senior Madison McIntosh face down in the woods in the middle of his first leg.
“Apparently she collapsed over in the woods,” Hagerstown coach Kent Gray said. “She’s OK now. They did have the EMTs come and check her out. Our trainer was here and checked her out and sounded like she probably hadn’t eaten enough today, maybe hyperventilated coming up the hill. So sounds like she’s going to be all right. We’ll talk to her (Wednesday) and see how she’s doing. Scary kind of thing, I’m sure, for her and everybody involved. I think she’s going to be OK.”
Bledsoe helped make up the distance in his second leg, and Osborne completed the final lap for a cumulative time of 37:38.
“I was in the lead and then I came across her in the woodsy part of it there. She was face down and I stopped and asked her if she was down,” Osborne said. “She kind of just mumbled and so Alec Hicks stopped with me and Matthias Ritter ran on to get help, and then we went with him and I regained the lead.
” … (Bledsoe) got out and got us a lead. … I’m really impressed with the way he ran. He’s a great runner.”
Jared Weesner and Hicks were the second duo to finish, followed by Ritter and Zach Davis third and Mason Stitt and Kaleb Slagle fourth.
The first non-Hagerstown pair to finish was the fifth-place team of Northeastern’s Kessler Fisher and Jacob Austerman as the reigning TEC champion Tigers bring high expectations.
“We’re looking to be really good this year,” said Bledsoe, who qualified for semistate as a freshman. “We’ve only lost one senior, and he was part of our varsity runners, the sectional competition and stuff, but we’re looking to be great this year. We’re hoping to be one of the best teams to come through here and, just, we’re happy to be that way.”
Hagerstown also had the top girls duo with Amelia Dick and Cassidy Robinson teaming to finish in 45:51, 14th overall, while Centerville’s Shelby Short and Ashley Toschlog were second among girls.
“I think the girls will still be good this year,” Dick said. ” … Personally this race for me was probably the best I’ve ever ran this course, so it was pretty good. It was not good weather, but it was all right.”
Centerville’s Anna Hawk and freshman Kayla Newman teamed to finish third, while Hagerstown’s Paige Gray and Gabby Willis were fourth and Lincoln’s Kelsey Cupp and Kassidy West were fifth.
“It was a good start today,” coach Gray said. “We’re treating it as a practice, but they’re still very competitive and they want to finish as high as they could. … The boys kind of set their own goals, and as I said in the paper, they want to see if they can win maybe an invitational or two this year and maybe get as far as the semistate, which is not unrealistic if they work.”
Top 7 Boys– Bledsoe and Osborne (HAG) 37:38; Weesner, Hicks (HAG), Ritter, Davis (HAG), Stitt, Slagle (HAG), Fisher, Austerman (NE); Appleby, Jessup (TRI); Beatty, Bartman (NE).
Top 7 Girls– Robinson, A. Dick (HAG) 45:51; Short, Toschlog (CEN), Hawk, Newman (CEN), Gray, Willis (HAG), Cupp, West (LIN), E. Dick, Kinder (HAG), Wells, Dillman (CEN).