INDIANAPOLIS – Zionsville junior Jesus Garcia and senior Robby Pratt accomplished something Saturday that no two Zionsville teammates have ever done before.
The duo became the first tandem to finish 1-2 at the IHSAA Regional, and helped the Eagles place second as a team to advance to next week’s semi-state.
“Both of them had great races, and really all seven of our guys we feel good about what they did,” Zionsville head coach Gabe Porras said. “We were wanting to have a good day and make sure we are ready to roll at the next level of the tournament. We had some good things happen today.”
Brownsburg won the regional with 58 points, with the Eagles two points behind in second.
One of the keys for the Eagles was getting out well early in the race, and having them run near the front all day.
“The kids have found what they are comfortable doing in races,” Porras said. “We want to keep reinforcing that however they like to start the race, they are able to do that.”
Garcia became the first Eagle since 2000 to win the individual regional title.
He pulled away from the field in the second half of the race, winning by 15 seconds.
“To win any cross country race is difficult, just the way the sport has evolved,” Porras said. “Winning this should give him a lot of confidence heading into the semi-state next week.”
Garcia and Pratt were part of a large lead group of six runners in the opening half of the race, but Garcia timed his move perfectly to separate himself from the rest of the pack.
Porras said the more experience Garcia gets in some of these big races, the better he is.
“Every time you race you get experience and learning how to lead a race is something you have to learn,” Porras said. “He is getting more and more comfortable doing it, and learning how to do it in different ways.”
Pratt had a strong kick in the final 400 of the race to finish second in 15:42.4, passing Plainfield’s Dalton Kane down the stretch.
Logan Cole came in 11th in a time of 16:02.5, with Jack Sampson placing 24th in 16:40.8 and Will Pitts placing 25th in 16:41.3.
“I thought Logan Cole had a really good race, and moved up well throughout,” Porras said. “Our two seniors in Jack and Will fought really hard to get up there.”
Decatur Dell was 27th in 16:44.2 and Matthew Helton was 32nd in 16:52.8.
The Eagles will have to be top-6 at the semi-stat next week to advance to state again.
Porras said the Eagles won’t change much heading into the semi-state.
“We are going to keep doing what we have been and make sure we are as ready and comfortable as we can be,” Porras said.
The boys race will be at 10:30 a.m. next Saturday at the Blue River Park in Shelbyville.