Carroll boys cross country claim program’s first state championship; DeKalb’s Tyler Schwartz tops girls’ race

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WANE) – The Carroll (Fort Wayne) boys cross country team was presented its first state championship trophy while the Carmel girls team extended its record run to a seventh straight year during festivities at the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course in Terre Haute.

Among individuals, Oldenburg Academy senior Curtis Eckstein left no doubt finishing well ahead of the field to win the boys individual state championship in 15:13.3. Runner-up Gabe Fendel, a junior at Hamilton Southeastern finished in 15:40.7. Third place went to junior Skylar Stidam (15:51.6) of Christian Academy of Indiana, sophomore Mitchell Rans (15:57.2) of Caston was fourth, and Lowell junior Alec Fleming (15:57.8) ended fifth. Eckstein’s 27.4-second differential was the second-largest winning margin since 1968 and he became the first cross country state champion in his school’s history.

The same can be said for DeKalb junior Tyler Schwartz who claimed the girls crown in 18:08.6 pulling away from Carroll sophomore Abigail Green who ended in 18:17.4.

Carmel’s girls dynasty continued as the Greyhounds of coach Mark Ellington collected five of the top 21 spots in the race for 44 points. Carroll (Fort Wayne) took runner-up honors for the second straight year with 113 points. Third place Homestead and fourth place Zionsville both enjoyed their best finish ever with 157 and 166 points, respectively, with Noblesville holding down fifth place with 245.

Maddie Dalton was the third overall finisher for the Greyhounds in 18:27.0 followed by fourth place teammate Christina Geisler in 18:28.3. Freshman Phoebe Bates was sixth in 18:37.2 and seniors Rachel Anderson (18:57.1) and defending state champion Sarah Leinheiser (19:02.7) ended 21st.

The Carroll boys team of coach Phil Yoder tallied 71 points to take top honors over defending state champion Carmel which finished with 117 points for second place. Lowell ended third at 166 for its best finish ever, Fishers was fourth with 169 and Fort Wayne Concordia Lutheran was fifth with 173, also its highest finish ever.

Carroll sophomore Cole Powers led the Chargers’ scoring runners with a 10th place overall finish, senior Carter Meyer ended 17th, sophomore Draven Thompson was 31st, senior Dawson Winters 32nd and junior Connor Goetz ended 37th.

This year’s meet was held under clear sunny skies and unseasonably warm temperatures with a high of 80 degrees.