By Josh Brown
TROY — As Troy’s Mogan Gigandet crossed the finish line, she went immediately from race mode to casual stroll mode.
But even though Tuesday’s Lost Creek Invitational was a 2.1K race and not the usual 5K, it wasn’t without its challenges.
“It was really hot,” Gigandet said. “I didn’t want to overdo it. I didn’t want to do anything to my ankles or anything like that.”
Gigandet won for the second time in as many tries this season, running a time of 11:36 and leading the Trojan girls cross country team to a victory at the Lost Creek Invitational Tuesday night at Lost Creek Reserve in Troy.
Gigandet, now a junior and already a two-time state qualifier, also won the Bob Schul Invitational on Saturday to begin the new season. And though winning races has become old hat to her over her first two seasons with the team, it never stops being fun.
“It builds confidence,” she said. “I still always need that reassurance. Because really, you never know what can happen at the beginning of a season.”
Three Trojan girls finished in the top four, and all five scorers in the top 10 on the day. Emma Shigley was second in 12:10, Olivia Tyre was fourth in 12:45, Megan Myers was eighth in 12:57 and Kate Pence was 10th in 13:13.
As a team, Troy won with 25 points, narrowly defeating Tippecanoe’s 36. Northmont was a distant third with 79.
“We had some really good teams here, like Tippecanoe, Northmont and Butler. Plus it was kind of a Miami County preview with Milton-Union, Troy Christian and Newton,” Troy girls coach Kevin Alexander said. “It was obviously not distance running weather, but all the kids held up well.
It was nice to get a two-miler in early in the season. It’s good for the kids to learn speed without having to push themselves that extra distance.”
Katie Taylor led Tippecanoe’s girls, breaking up the Trojans’ pack at the front of the race with a third-place finish in 12:22. Abbi Halsey was fifth (12:51), MaKenzie Dietz was seventh (12:55), Laura Fink was ninth (13:01) and Bekah Shininger was 14th (13:35).
The Red Devils finished second as a team at state in Division II last season and are expected to challenge for a title again this year. And the Devils are taking every step to make that happen.
“We sat Kaili Titley and Jillian Brown today, so two of our top seven didn’t run,” Tippecanoe coach Byron Kimmel said. “I believe that kids only have so many of those big-time performances in them each season, so we don’t want to waste them early. We’re going to continue to be careful about when and how often we let them go.
“I’ve found out through personal experience as a competitive runner that that’s the case. We’ve done it the past few years and it’s been very successful, so we’re not going to change it.”
Milton-Union’s girls finished fourth with 137 points. Megan Trittschuh was 27th (14:40), Kyli Parsons was 28th (14:40), Kiley Jacobe was 35th (15:03), Lauren Meredith was 39th (15:07) and Brianna Persinger was 43rd (15:19).
Troy Christian freshman Gracie Glaser was 11th in 13:22, while Newton’s Macy Flanary was 12th in 13:31.
Tippecanoe’s boys were also without a couple of key runners, but the Red Devils still cruised to an overall team victory, scoring 52 points to runner-up Butler’s 87 — though the Aviators’ Long Lin won individually in 10:26.
Freshman Bryce Conley led Tippecanoe with a third-place finish (10:39), Michael Stearns was 10th (11:07), Ben Jans was 11th (11:12), Ethan Heitkamp was 13th (11:29) and Ethan Sinning was 15th (11:31).
“Keenan (Fraylick) is still working back from an injury,” Kimmel said. “The boys team is going to be like a piece of clay this season: the first time you take it out, it might not look that great. The second time you work with it, it’ll look a little better, and the next, and the next — and then by the end of the year, it’s going to be looking pretty good.”
Milton-Union’s boys were fourth with 120 points, led by a pair of top-10 finishers. Will Brock was fifth (10:46), Shannon Milnickel was ninth (11:04), Tristen Persinger was 30th (12:03), Caleb Black was 34th (1209) and Sam Motz was 60th (12:53).
Troy Christian finished fifth with 130 points. Nick Pratt led the way in 14th (11:31), Isaac Flora was 26th (11:59), Robert Ventura was 29th (12:02), Carter Ritchey was 35th (12:10) and Zach Davidson was 37th (12:12).
The Trojan boys were sixth with 134 points, led by Andy Smith in 12th place (11:19). Seth Plantz was 21st (11:51), Mike Griffith was 23rd (11:57), Adam Falknor was 42nd (12:24) and Logan Huth was 49th (12:38).
“The guys ran hard and pushed through tough conditions,” Troy boys coach Phil Matthews said. “Andy ran really well today, Seth and Mike both had good races and Adam and Logan were right behind those guys. Overall, it was a good race today.”
Piqua’s Andy Mayse finished seventh in 10:49, leading the Indians to a seventh-place finish with 191 points.
Newton was eighth with 211 points. Ryan Mollette was 18th (11:42), Tristen Benedict was 25th (11:58), Curtis Shellenberger was 55th (12:48), Charlie Walker was 87th (13:50) and Toby Hunt was 106th (15:45).
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.