Carmel’s Lady Greyhounds, ranked No. 1 all season, finished that way by capturing their second Indiana high school girls cross country championship in three years, running away from the field in Terre Haute.

It also was the school’s state-best 108th team championship, and 12th in girls cross country, and the first for coach Mark Ellington.

Carmel's Sarah Bennett, doing some exercises and relaxing prior to an earlier meet, placed third individually to help the Lady Greyhounds capture the girls IHSAA cross country championship/HC Spors Daily photo.

The Lady Greyhounds, state runners-up in 2009, scored 73 points to 118 for Columbus North. Noblesville placed eighth and Westfield 12th.

Carmel junior Sarah Bennett placed third among individual finishers in 18:29.2. Her junior teammate, Renee Wellman, finished eighth 18:36.8, losing for the first time this season. Noblesville junior Helen Willman placed seventh in 18:35.0.

Said coach Ellington: “As a coach, I couldn’t have been prouder of this team’s efforts. They have worked hard all year, and trusted in each other and their coaching staff. I certainly understand that it can be very challenging for high school athletes to accept ‘rest’ from one or two meets during the season when deep down they really just want to compete. It has been a wonderful opportunity to work with a squad of young women that bring passion and enthusiasm to our sport along with a consistent work ethic. It certainly is very fulfilling to set a plan for training, have athletes ‘buy in’ and execute the plan, and realize goals all the way to our ultimate achievement, a state championship.’’

One of  the team’s most appreciative fans was Carmel boys coach Erhard “Doc’’ Bell, who congratulated the Lady Greyhounds, coach Ellington and his staff on their outstanding state championship.

“Best wishes as they prepare to run in the Nike Cross Regional and qualify to go on the National Meet in Portland,’’ said Bell, whose boys team finished ninth in ther state meet.

Among the boys, Columbus North (94 points) repeated as state champion, while coach Kent Graham’s Noblesville squad earned runner-up honors with 170 points. Hamilton Southeastern placed sixth, three spots ahead of Carmel.

North Central junior Futsum Zeinasellassie won in 15:16.6, his second straight individual championship. Carmel senior Chris Walden placed fourth in 15:32.3.

Guerin Catholic’s Kent Graham, the Hamilton County champion, placed 12th (15:44.4, while Westfield senior Connor Martin was 14th in 15:50.9.

Noblesville’s top runners were seniors Christian Bowers (16:12.9) and Ryan Bowers (16:12.9), who finished 31st and 32nd, respectively.

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