MADISON TOWNSHIP — The Shelby boys and girls cross country teams looked to be in midseason form already.
The Whippets cruised to both the boys and girls team titles at the B-Dry Richland County Invitational on a steamy Monday afternoon at Madison High School.
Led by two-time Richland County champ Huck Finnegan, the Shelby boys swept the top 10 spots and won with a minimum team score of 15. The girls placed five in the top nine and finished with a score of 25 as Kayla Gonzales won the individual title.
A junior, Finnegan finished in 17 minutes, 12.7 seconds. He was followed across the line by Mason Hendrickson (17:22.3) and Luke Dininger (17:23.8). Marshall Moore (18:36.4) and Tyson Hicks (18:41.4) rounded out the top five.
“It feels great,” said Finnegan, who won last year’s Richland County Invitational in 17:16.8. “I was definitely nervous with Mason and some other dudes. They stuck with me to (the two-mile mark). I wasn’t planning on going right at two, but I did it.”
The Whippets placed 13th at last year’s Division II state meet at Fortress Obetz. With four of seven runners back from that team, the Whippets could be in state title contention this fall.
“Coach (Chris Zuercher) definitely has bigger expectations than last year,” Finnegan said. “He thinks we can do better than last year and I do, too.”
On the girls side, Gonzales won in 20:46.6. Crestview’s Morgan Welch was second in 21:25.8, followed by Shelby’s Reyna Hoffman (22:41.7) and Abby Vogt (22:43.4). Clear Fork’s Isabellah Molina (23:07.1) was fifth, followed by Madison’s Callie Cyrus (23:15.9), Clear Fork’s Jocelyn Dornbirer (23:39.3) and Shelby’s Kailyn Schwall (23:51.3) and Emma Montgomery (23:58.0).
“I’m pretty proud of myself,” Gonzales said. “I was definitely nervous just because it was the first meet, but I’m happy with it.”