INMAN — Inman’s Nicholas Martisko and Bennington’s Keelan Aita waged a two-man battle until the very end in the Heart of America League Cross Country Championships on Thursday.
At the finish line, it was Aita that emerged as the winner as he ran 17:38.9, just ahead of the 17:42 by Martisko in a battle of freshmen.
Aita helped Bennington to the title with 31 points. Sedgwick (89), Trinity Catholic (90), Remington (125), Inman (126), Ell-Saline (128), Sterling (142) and Berean (198) rounded out the order.
Inman’s Tobias Belknap cracked the Top 20, taking 17th in 18:21.1. Also for the Teutons, Nathan Beshore was 22nd (18:58.9), Max Harman was 52nd in 20:38.4 and Conor Sivils was 68th in 21:34.3. In addition, Kolby Blank was 74th (22:39.3), Nathan Enns was 89th (24:28.6) and Sean Smallcanyon was 94th (26:28.8).
For the Inman girls, Aisjha Miles just missed the Top 10 by taking 11th in 22:18.1. Tia Cole was the other Teuton runner, finishing 39th (26:37.9).
Bennington’s girls won for a sweep of the team awards.
Inman coach Jay Parsons said he was pleased with his team’s performance, noting the cooler weather seemed to help his team. “The goal now is to carry those times right into the regional meet,” Parsons said.
Inman goes to Meade on Oct. 22 for the regional.