Cool, sunny weather was the setting for Saturday's junior high cross country event at Brown County that would settle the highly competitive Western Indiana Conference battle.
When the dust finally settled, one of the most successful cross country squads in North Clay school history placed second to powerful Edgewood squads in the team scoring.
The Mustang boys team led by eighth grader Blake Hover placed five runners in the top six to take home the team trophy with 18 points.
North Clay had a strong pack just behind the Mustangs with eighth graders Chris Smith and Jared Royer taking eighth and ninth place for All-Conference honors on Saturday.
Hover crossed the finish line in 10:30 to pick up the individual victory with North Clay's Smith finishing in 11:12 with Royer slightly behind in 11:18 for the Knights.
North Clay scored 57 team points to comfortably finish ahead of South Vermillion's 108, Brown County's 109, Owen Valley's 120 and Sullivan's 134.
The girls' squad was also second in their event as Edgewood sixth grader Laura Luther took the top spot with a time of 12:01. She just edged out Tiffany Young of North Clay who ran a 12:03 for the Knights leading them to 41 team points, just behind the Mustang's 36.
Owen Valley was in third with 50 points followed by South Vermillion (117) and Sullivan (118). Brown County did not field a complete team.
Sixth grader Raven Enders was second for North Clay, finishing in fourth place in 12:16 ahead of Casandra Barnett who was eighth overall in 12:34. Her teammate Marissa Bryan was 14th with Corey Laue in 16th and sixth grader Shelby Bass in 17th. Allie True placed 19th to round out North Clay's top-20 runners.
Other finishers in the boys event for North Clay were Josh Morris in 11th place followed by E.C. Moody in 14th, Eli Kirby in 15th and Logan Lynch in 16th for the boys' top-20.
Young and Royer have the distinction of earning All-Conference honors for all three years of their junior high careers.
Both squads had a perfect 12-0 dual meet record this year with the boys' team earning fourth place in the North Clay Invite, second at the South Knox Invite and winning the Shakamak Invitational. The girls' squad was third at North Clay's Invite and were team champions at North Knox and Shakamak.
Western Indiana Conference
Junior High Meet
At Eagle Park (Brown County)
Boys Team Scores: Edgewood 18, North Clay 57, South Vermillion 57, Brown County 109, Owen Valley 120, Sullivan 134
1. Blake Hover (EW) 10:30, 2. Cole Reinhold (EW) 10:44, 3. Dakota Walker (BC) 10:46, 4. Brent Ray (EW) 10:47, 5. Caleb Goss (EW) 10:47, 6. Matt Mest (EW) 10:49, 7. Logan Laswell (SV) 10:52, 8. Chris Smith (NC) 11:12, 9. Jared Royer (NC) 11:18, 10. Ryan Baugh (EW) 11:29.
Other North Clay: 11. Josh Morris 11:30, 14. E.C. Moody 11:53, 15. Eli Kirby 11:54, 23. Ryan Lutes 12:19.
Girls Team Scores: Edgewood 36, North Clay 41, Owen Valley 50, South Vermillion 117, Brown County Inc.
1. Laura Luther (EW) 12:01, 2. Tiffany Young (NC) 12:03, 3. Danielle Matsel (OV) 12:15, 4. Raven Enders (NC) 12:16, 5. ReAnna Headdy (EW) 12:20, 6. Hannah Whittington (OV) 12:27, 7. Katie Kennard (EW) 12:29, 8. Casandra Barnett (NC) 12:34, 9. Caitlin Leichter (OV) 12:44, 10. Stephanie Shaw (OV) 12:48.
Other North Clay: 14. Marissa Bryan 12:59, 16. Corey Laue 13:04, 17. Shelby Bass 13:06, 19. Allie True 13:13