Centerville High School Stadium was rocking with a record crowd this past Saturday Night for the annual Saturday Night Lights Cross Country meet. This event is quickly becoming THE cross country event of the state, with over 3,400 thousand athletes traveling from all over the region to have the chance to run under the lights in Elk Country.  A sweltering afternoon heat that saw temperatures right at 90 degrees did not let up much as the sun set over Centerville stadium.  But the heat did not stop the Lady Elk runners, who once again walked away with a commanding first place finish at the end of the night.

Up first for the Elks were the freshman and sophomore runners in the 9/10 Race, who had a strong showing but took second place to a dominating pack of Springboro underclassmen.  Centerville was led by sophomore Layla Emmert 22:39 (8th place), followed by sophomore Alex Jackson 22:45 (10th), sophomore Madison Earnest 22:46 (11th), freshman Priya Verma 23:24 (15th), and freshman Ali Cummins 24:07 (20th).

The upperclassmen took to the course next, displaying maturity and experience as runners, despite the continuing heat of the day. First and second across the line for Centerville, with only two-tenths of a second splitting them, were senior Madison Shooter 22:27.3 (25th place) and junior Kalie Adrian 22:27.5 (26th).  Following close behind were senior Caroline Kost 22:50 (36th), junior Katie Lynch 23:19 (60th), and junior Isabella Aviles 23:22 (62nd).

The sunset and the lights came on as the Varsity A girls took to the course and brought home the first CGXC championship title of the day, with an impressive race by a pack of runners that had 2 girls in the top ten finishers. Freshman Nikki Jindal continued to show her poise as a young runner with a finishing time of 20:13, good for 7th place.  She was followed by sophomore Katie Jauch 20:25 (10th), freshman Maddie Little 20:27 (11th), senior Megan Knauer 20:43 (22nd), and sophomore Hannah Mangen 21:03 (30th).

The Championship Race, featuring many of the top runners from across the state, got underway around 9:30pm, and the Centerville Girls had something to prove after last year’s second place finish.  This pack of eight runners worked together the entire race and sailed across the line, with all five scoring runners under the magic 19-minute mark. Freshman Emma Bucher led the way this time, gliding to a beautiful PR of 18:10 and a 10th place finish overall. Bucher was followed by the sister duo of Kelli and Kerri Wash, who clocked season best times of 18:34 (17th) and 18:40 (19th), respectively.  Finishing strong for the scoring Herd runners were Grace Kilroy 18:46 (21st) and Savannah Lowe 18:48 (23rd).  Closing the race for the Elks were Dalia Einstein 19:05 (36th), Rachel Whitehead 19:13 (41st),and Sidney Khosla 19:23 (50th).

Congratulations to both the Centerville Boys and the Girls Cross Country for clinching first place in the Championship Races!  2017 certainly goes down as a Saturday Night Lights to remember for Centerville Cross Country!  Next week, the girls continue their road to state, with a small group of CGXC runners heading to Lehigh University for the prestigious Paul Short Invitational, and the bulk of the Lady Elks competing for glory in the Fairmont Neal Charske Firebird Invitational in Kettering.  Good Luck, runners!  #BeTheChange

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