Russiaville — Not much surprises Eastern girls cross country coach Brandon Mink these days.
With the caliber of team he’s had for the past four years, it’s not surprising.
The No. 6-ranked Comets put in the most dominant showing in recent memory in Tuesday’s Mid-Indiana Conference championships at Oakbrook Valley Park, taking the top five positions for a perfect score of 15 to complete what is now a four-peat for the current senior class.
“The course was a little bit slow, and it’s funny because they have such high goals that they get 15 points, but are like ‘Darn, I should’ve run faster,’” Mink said. “At the same time, we couldn’t be any more proud of them for coming through. Especially those seniors who have been here for four years. Four years in a row as conference champions is very special. They did an awesome job.”
Senior Bethany Neeley, the reigning track state champion in the 1,600-meter run, controlled the pace of the race throughout, and broke away from the pack in the latter stages to take top honors going away in 18:43, marking the fifth straight time she’s captured top honors in an MIC race. Twin sister Brittany Neeley wound up second at 19:49.
“This is a huge confidence booster for not just the team, but the program as a whole,” Bethany said. “We wrote goals down at the beginning of the season, and to sweep this [meet] was one of them. In a couple more weeks we want to do more things, but this is starting the postseason off the right way.
“Right now, we try to work together to run a smart race. Brit is coming off of an ankle sprain — nothing serious — but we’re trying to get her back to running full speed. We’re trying to treat these [late season meets] as a pretty hard workout so our legs will be feeling good here in a couple weeks.”