The races at the Rick Weinheimer Classic, hosted by Columbus North, did not disappoint Saturday morning as just shy of 1,200 runners took to the CERAland-hosted course. Both gender races created an early-season matchup of podium contenders both individually and with top teams. The classic format includes teams from all size levels competing in one race with the results split up into A and AA sizes for awards. With the rain stopping just as teams started to arrive, runners turned to near perfect course conditions over the next two hours of racing.
On the boys side, a strong group up front took charge from the beginning with Spenser Wolf of Forest Park, Reese Kilbarger-Stumpf of Columbus North, Abe Eckman of Jasper, Joel Mumaw of Noblesville, and Matthew Newell also of Columbus North forming a fast early pack through the mile. The race really began to string out between the mile and 2k marks as the pace stayed hot through the entire 2k loop. Wolf and Kilberger-Stumpf broke from the pack just before 2k, stringing out a group around the second loop. The chase group remained close but could not close that gap over the remaining 2k and left Kilbarger-Stumpf and Wolf alone to battle for the individual title. Kilbarger-Stumpf used his strength and speed to eventually open up a 4-second victory over Wolf. Kilberger-Stumpf was timed in a superb 15:04 with Wolf coming home in an equally outstanding 15:08.
Jasper's Abe Eckman stayed directly in between the leaders and Noblesville's Joel Mumaw and CN's Mathew Newell. Eckman sprinted home in 15:14 while Mumaw and Newell battled to the line finishing in 15:28 and 15:29, respectively. With those five runners breaking 15:30, another 10 runners broke 16:00 to give a total of 15 for the day on the near-perfect course.
The team race was never really in doubt in the AA race as Columbus North put all seven varsity runners in the Top 18 with their first five runners across the finish line in the Top 13. Behind Kilbarger-Stumpff and Newell, Clayton Guthrie (4th), Evan Carr (6th), and Mateo Mendez (13th) completed the scoring with times of 15:39, 15:43, and 16:03, respectively. Noblesville ran a strong second overall in the AA race with 81 points to just nudge Bloomington North's 84 five-man total. Conner High School from Kentucky finished 4th with Jennings County, 5th, rounding out the Top 5. Jennings County won a 3-way tie with Greenfield Central and a slightly short-handed Northview team, all scoring 174 total points.
The A race, dominated individually by the aforementioned Spenser Wolf of Forest Park, was won by a strong Austin team performance. Austin used a 1-3 gap of 13 seconds and a total 1-5 gap of 44 seconds to outdistance Oak Hill 57-73. Austin was led by Wyatt Beck, Chance Craig, and Brandon Rice who finished 5th, 8th, and 9th, respectively, in the A race. Owen Jackson of Oak Hill ran a great race to finish second in the A race with a strong time of 15:49 to lead Oak Hill. Tell City (92 points), Forest Park (118 points), and Bloomfield (137) rounded out the Top 5 teams in the A race.
The girls race was less dramatic for the individual title as Columbus North's Julia Kiesler took control of the race slightly after the mile mark and stormed to a commanding 17-second victory over Julia Ray from Mary Institute and Saint Louis Country Day School (MICDS). Keisler ran a near solo effort to win in 17:35 for her first varsity competition in Indiana after transferring from California over the summer. Jaydon Cirincione from Floyd Central ran step-for-step for Ray nearly all the way to the finish line as the two were timed in 17:52 and 17:54. Jasper's Andi VanMeter held off the Columbus North wave for 4th in 18:14. Columbus North took the next three spots with Lily Baker coming home in 18:15, Brianna Newell in 18:23, and Katherine Rumsey in 18:30 to take spots 5, 6, and 7 to dominate the action. Abby Jacobi rounded out the scoring for Columbus North with her 15th place finish in the AA race in 19:04. Columbus North scored 30 points to take the overall team title. Highly ranked teams Floyd Central and Noblesville finished 2nd and 3rd with team scores of 74 and 84, respectively. Bloomington North (104 points) and, again a slightly short-handed girls team, Northview (149 points) rounded out the Top 5 teams.
The A race was won individually by Hadley Gradolf from Brown County High School. Gradolf ran 18:47 to take the title over Ellie Hall from Forest Park who ran 19:10. Maci Hoskins from Providence took 3rd in 19:12 to fill out the podium positions. Princeton took home the Girls A team title with 61 points to outdistance Indiana Creek (93) and Monrovia (114). Princeton used a strong 4th and 5th place finish from twins Heidi Meade and Haley Meade to take the team title. Forest Park and Oak Hill rounded out the Top 5 teams in the A competition.
The combined girls races saw three girls break 18:00, 11 more break 19:00, and 25 additional girls break 20:00 on the CERAland course.
The JV races were also competitive. On the girls' side, Columbus North scored 16 points to beat Noblesville's 54 total. Columbus North was led by Sylvia Sasse's 20:16 with Kenzie Meyer, Sierra Newell, and Claire Wisler coming in right behind her for a near-sweep. The boys' JV race saw Columbus North score 20 points to beat Noblesville's 50 team total. Marco Avila from Columbus North ran 16:39 to take the individual title over Bloomington North's Griffin Bruce.