Times Sports Editor
CLAY CITY -- The Clay City Eels hosted its annual invitational and though the Shakamak Lakers took the top individual honors in the race, the host squad took home the boys' team trophy.
The Eels placed all five of its scoring runners in the top-11 overall and posted a convincing 27 to 57 win over South Putnam with the Lakers in third with 74 points. Eminence, Owen Valley and White River Valley rounded out the teams participating.
The Lakers' Drew Gambill scored a solid win in 17:31, but had a pair of Eels hot on his heels throughout the first three kilometers of the 5K race.
"Parker (Modesitt) and Jess (Vansickle) had pretty good races and maybe they were a little disappointed in their times, but at the same time, as hot as it was out there it paid a toll on them a little bit," coach Keith Jones said.
The two took the pace out perhaps a little harder than they might in some meets, but Jones said that would be a key factor in the latter stages of the season when it counts most.
"I think you have to get to a point where you run out a little bit because as you get farther in the state meets they are going to be going out hard and if you get back in those meets, you never recover," Jones said. "We tried to go out a little bit and we're probably not quite there where we can maintain, but I can't fault that effort. If you keep working at it than the next meet you can stay out a little longer and who knows?"
Parker Modesitt crossed the line in 18:24 for second, followed by Vansickle in 18:29. South Putnam's Dylan Hayes finished fourth for the Eagles in 19:17.
Conner Modesitt took fifth for the Eels in 19:18 and Jones was especially pleased with Ben Denker's run to sixth in a time of 19:20 as well as Mark Grubbs who pushed through for an 11th-place and helped guide the team to victory.
"Ben Denker probably ran his best time on this course and Mark Grubbs came through for us as the fifth man," Jones said. "Austin (Sinders) didn't have his best day today, but Mark stepped up and came in there for us. I can't complain about the kids' efforts today."
Sinders still came in with a 14th-place finish with Wayne Tharp completing the Eels runners in 19th overall.
The Lakers' Casey Fougerousse was the girls' winner with a dominating win in 21:55 and wasn't pushed from the start as second-place finisher, Dani Merrick of Eminence was nearly three minutes back in 24:40. Clay City's Tiffani Goodman ran well and gave the Eels a third-place in a time of 24:58 with Elise Miller of Shakamak in fourth and the Lakers' Megan Phipps in fifth.
Amanda Lund was South Putnam's top finisher with a time of 26:10, good for sixth.
With only Shakamak and the Eagles fielding complete teams, the Lakers won the team event, 10 to 35 over the Eagles.
Ashley Sumner was 16th for the Eels with Kaleigh Decker in 17th and Nutchay Thongthanee in 18th.
"We hope to get better, we can' dwell, we want to win it, but at the same time we've got to work to get better," Jones said of continuing to work hard in practice. "Ultimately, down the road in the big meets, it's why you run all of these (regular season) meets and do all the practices."
Clay City will be off until Sept. 19 when the Eels visit South Knox at 10 a.m.
Boys team results
Clay City 27, South Putnam 57, Shakamak 74, Eminence 79, Owen Valley 139, White River Valley 143
1. Drew Gambill (SH) 17:31, 2. Parker Modesitt (SH) 18:24, 3. Jessie Vansickle (CC) 18:29, 4. Dylan Hayes (SP) 19:17, 5. Conner Modesitt (CC) 19:18, 6. Ben Denker (CC) 19:20, 7. Paul Rubino (SP) 19:42, 8. Dawson Gore (Em) 19:57, 9. Tyler Richardson (SH) 20:06, 10. Jack Petry (OV) 20:08
Other Clay City: 11. Mark Grubbs, 20:14, 14. Austin Sinders, 20:48, 19. Wayne Tharp
Other South Putnam: 13. Shea Arnold, 20:28, 15. Tanner Barr, 21:07, 18. Andrew Kelly, 21:32, 29. Matt Rudolph, 23:54
Girls team results
Shakamak 10, South Putnam 35, Clay City Inc., Eminence Inc., Owen Valley Inc., White River Valley Inc.
1. Casey Fougerousse (SH) 21:55, 2. Dani Merrick (Em) 24:40, 3. Tiffani Goodman (CC) 24:58, 4. Elise Miller (SH) 25:20, 5. Megan Phipps (SH) 25:46, 6. Amanda Lund (SP) 26:10, 7. Laura Hughes (WRV) 26:17, 8. Kaelynn Cox (SP) 26:31, 9. Lyndsie Beasley (SP) 26:41, 10. Bethany Smith (OV) 27:04
Other Clay City: 16. Ashley Sumner, 31:13, 17. Kaleigh Decker, 31:15, 18. Nutchay Thongthanee, 33:36
Other South Putnam: 14. Brittaney Birt, 30:31, 20. Jessica Bubb, 36:57