-- — Oldenburg Academy’s Sarah Billingsley has dominated the area cross country scene this season and is now taking on a bigger challenge this weekend.
The OA junior will lead the Lady Twisters into the Carmel Semistate as a regional champion.
Billingsley outran the Greensburg Regional field by nearly 47 seconds to claim the top spot. Her winning time of 17:58 was one of the top times in the state.
Knowing that all courses are different and times vary depending on their difficulty, Billingsley enters the semistate with the second fastest time from feeder regionals. Only Avon’s Mary Abramson (17:52) turned in a better time for runners scheduled to compete at Carmel. A total of six runners across the state broke the 18-minute barrier.
As a team, the Lady Twisters placed third with a team score of 90 points to advance.
Center Grove claimed the regional title with a score of 32 points followed by Perry Meridian with 80. The Batesville Lady Bulldogs were seventh in the 10-team field with 183 points.
Joining Sarah Billingsley in the top 15 for OA were Meredith Maier and Rachel Billingsley. Maier was fourth overall with a time of 19:17, while Billingsley was 13th with a mark of 19:56.
Kirsten Ricke crossed the finish line 17th with a time of 20:13.
Courtney Unkrich rounded out the scoring for OA in 64th overall and a time of 23:19.
Other runners competing for Oldenburg included Jackie Unkrich(77th) and Bobbie Wagner (78th).
The Batesville Lady Bulldogs were led by Kelsey Gausman in 16th place and a time of 20:06.
Maria Wessel and Hannah Lehfeldt were next in line for the Lady Bulldogs. Wessel was 31st in the 78 runner field with a time of 21:04, while Lehfeldt was 40th in 21:30.
Rounding out the scoring for Batesville were Breanna Hartman (60th) and Jordan Lowery (63rd). Other runners competing were Elizabeth Cuttle (65th) and Olivia Mobley (73rd).
“I had hoped we might have an outside chance of advancing,” BHS head coach Steve Yeaton commented. “Even still I’m very proud of our girls and the effort they gave.
“We’re losing seven seniors next year, but the future looks bright with the young girls we have coming up in this program,” he added.
The East Central Lady Trojans were ninth as a team. They were led by Sarah Burke (43rd) with a time of of 21:38.