EVANSVILLE — Freshman Ava Like's surprise fourth-place finish led South Knox's girls cross country team to another title Saturday, defeating 14 teams to capture the Evansville Harrison Invitational.
In the 21-team boys meet, South Knox and Lincoln were both in the top half with fifth and 10th-place finishers.
The Lady Spartans scored 92 in their team victory, with Evansville Memorial the closest pursuer at 105. Mount Vernon 106, Barr-Reeve 115 and Princeton 155 completed the top five. The Lady Alices were among the non-scoring teams.
Like's time was 20:12. Mykayla Couchenour was eighth, 21:07; Lexi Detweiler 25th, 22:40; Macie Couchenour 27th 22:53; and Gretchen Carie 33rd, 23:01. The victory came a week after the South Knox girls took the Boonville Invitational.
"Our girls were pretty excited last week, but Memorial didn't have all its runners either. They were all there today, so our girls were pumped up and it should give us a lot of confidence," Lady Spartans coach Betsy Couchenour said. "Ava ran great. She even surged at the end and took off 59 seconds from last week. Lexi didn't run last week, but came in third for us today, and that's where I had pegged her. Gretchen took 1:15 off her time here last year, and she was right behind Macie.
"We took 49 seconds off our split. I told them we need get that split down to the two-minute range. They listened."
Lincoln had multiple runners playing for the school's soccer team, so it was shorthanded. Gracie Kramer took 82nd, 26:15; Sierra Rasico 95th, 26:50; and MacKenzie Taylor 150th, 46:48.
"It was Gracie's first race, so that was good," Alices coach Ralph Connor said. "Mentally it's hard to run when you don't have a team score. I know they want to run the best race they can, but on the other hand, nobody is going to be upset if you don't. We should have a full team the rest of the way."
New Albany edged Evansville Memorial, 108-116, for the boys meet win. South Knox had 143 and Lincoln scored 248.
Oliver Smith was fourth for the Spartans, clocking in at 17:04. The team's other scorers were Trenton Faulkner 22nd, 18:04; Jacob Siewers 25th, 18:12; Will Staggs 33rd, 18:25; and Dylan Maeder 66th, 19:29.
"We've seen all the sectional and regional teams the last two weeks. We beat Evansville North, who got us last week, and we're closing in on Memorial," South Knox coach Matt Toothman said. "Oliver had another good race, getting his second top-five finish in two weeks. Jacob ran for the first time. He's been battling injuries, and finishing 25th is huge.
"Our one-through-four split is 1:21 and our five-through-eight split is 19 seconds. We have to close that four-five gap, but we have plenty of guys who can do it. They're coming."
Parker Mullins paced the Alices, taking 29th in 18:18. Trevor Robbins was 43rd, 18:48; Keenan Clegg 47th, 19:01; Nate Harris 61st, 19:16; and Blake Meade 78th, 19:57.
"The competition was remarkable at this flat course. Our runners did a fine job as this caliber of race was good experience for them," Lincoln coach Craig Klitz said.
South Knox is at the Gibson Southern Invitational at 6 p.m. Thursday. Lincoln is at Terre Haute North Invitational at 8:30 a.m. Saturday.