NEW MARKET — Hunter Hutchison is driven by competition.
For three seasons the Crawfordsville senior helped push Athenian leaders Riley Fyffe, Drake Hayes, and Eli Widmer — and now it’s Hutchison’s time to shine.
Thursday nights’ county title didn’t come so easily though as Southmont freshman Mason Cass led Hutchison until the final few hundred meters, but he stole the win with a time of 17:55 to give the Athenians their fourth-straight county title.
“It was really drive,” Hutchison said. “It was county and a very important race and it was my first win and as a senior, I just really wanted it and it really drove me.”
Cass finished second in 17:56, a personal best by more than 30 seconds. And as a freshman has lofty goals.
“Mason hit another milestone hitting sub-18 (minutes),” Southmont coach Shelley Allen said. “He’s super hungry for a win. He really wants to be on the leaderboard at Southmont and he also wants to go past the sectional, so he’s very driven.”
Hutchison was impressed by the pace the newcomer set as well.
“I was really impressed,” he said. “I was super stoked to see there was another great runner and great competition. I had fun with it and loved the atmosphere.”
Crawfordsville’s Ryan Miller was third in a time of 18:18, Nathaniel Million sixth in 19:21, and Ian Hensley seventh in 19:50. Roman Contreras placed eighth with a time of 20:05, Arthur Ruano ninth in 20:20, and Peter Kearns 10th in 20:30. Drake Burris was 13th in 23:27 and Rylan Huckstep 16th in 27:55.
Crawfordsville won the meet with a score of 22 points, beating Southmont’s 39.
Aaron Evans placed fifth for the Mounties with a time of 19:15, while Brett and Connor Keller finished 11th and 12th respectively in 21:17 and 22:10. Toby Casteel was 14th in 25:25. North Montgomery’s Elijah McCartney placed fourth with a time of 18:26, while Kylin White was 15th in 26:48.
Southmont’s Faith Allen dominated her way to a win in the girls’ race with a time of 21 minutes flat.
Crawfordsville was paced by Shelby Greene’s second place finish in 22:53 to claim its fifth-straight county title. Halle Smith was third in 23:26, Elyse Widmer fourth in 23:26 and Skylah Strawser fifth in 24:06. Olivia Biddle was sixth with a time of 24:24 and Gabby Warren seventh in 24:44. Addison Steward placed 13th in a time of 41:58.
Athenians’ coach Megan Craig said it was nice to compete admist a hard couple of weeks of practice as they prepare for the final stretch of the season.
“They all looked solid,” she said. “They look a little tired, it’s been a couple hard weeks of training going into it, but I think it was a good chance to get out and compete a little bit. I know that they’re tired and I know they’re fatigued, but it’s a good feeling and it’s good that they can run fatigued like this.”
Southmont’s Rachel Rhoads placed eighth in a time of 25:15, while Grace Simpson was ninth in 26:44.
North Montgomery’s Claire Bonwell paced the Chargers with a 10th place finish in a time of 26:53, while Lydia LaChance was 11th in 28:03 and Hannah Littell 12th in 29:45.
“We’ve been working hard and working smart,” North Montgomery coach Cassie Hicks said. “I’m really proud of their efforts and looking to use this as a jumping point for how we will compete in conference.”
The trio of teems will meet again in two weeks at Southmont for the Sagamore Conference meet on Saturday, Oct. 3.