Freshman Carly Jones took third in 19:58, giving Eastern three runners under the 20-minute mark. Sophomore Avery Ewing finished fourth in 20:02, and senior Sarah Wagner finished off the sweep in fifth place in 20:11, giving the squad a solid start to what it hopes is a memorable postseason.
“I’m constantly amazed by them but I shouldn’t be at this point because they keep raising the bar higher,” Mink said. “They have tremendous faith in themselves and that’s what’s helped a lot of them. They just keep believing. They don’t care that they’re this little school in Greentown, Ind. They believe they can compete with the big dogs, so to speak, and they keep doing that every year.”
In the boys race, Western claimed MIC-champion honors for the third straight year, taking five of the top 13 spots on its home course to win comfortably.
“To win your conference meet, it’s good not only for your team, but the school as well,” Western coach Gary Jewell said. “It really helps out when we’re trying to get that all-sports trophy at the end of the year, and this will go a long way towards that.”
Eastern junior Lewis Duke, fresh off a first-place finish in last weekend’s Howard County meet at Northwestern, stayed with the lead pack throughout the race to put himself in position, and broke away with 800 meters to go to take conference champion honors in 16:27. Hamilton Heights’ Schildemeier finished second in 16:48.
“I just made sure I stayed behind [the front two runners] and not let them get too far ahead of me,” Duke said. “I knew it was going to take everything I had. I knew at [the] Culver [Academies Invitational] I was close to Craig. I knew he was going to be tough and I couldn’t slack at all. This is really exciting for me. All the hard work in the summer paid off. It shows that hard work and dedication early in the season pays off.”