The Scoop: Star Power, Emerging Teams And The Best Of XC

* Jesuit's Brady Mullen led the Bluejays on Saturday

Photo Credit: Owen Fink/Indiana MileSplit

Jesuit (LA) wins Nike XC Town Twilight over No. 3 Carmel (IN)

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Prior to this week, the MileSplit50 fourth-ranked Jesuit (LA) boys squad weren't even set to compete at the Nike XC Town Twilight Invitational. 

Then Hurricane Ian happened, and the Bluejays changed their plans. 

Jesuit head coach Cullen Doody made a last-second flip to the meet in Terre Haute, moving on from Great American, which coincidentally enough was canceled just a few days later. 

What his team found was No. 3 Carmel (IN), No. 6 Plainfield South (IL), No. 17 Mason (OH), No. 18 Rock Bridge, No. 19 Belen Jesuit (FL) and No. 25 Zionsville (IN).

And boy, did that last-second audible reap significant rewards for the team from New Orleans.

Led by Brady Mullen, who improved upon his own school record to run 15:04.00 for sixth overall, Jesuit scored a low 97 points in the boys championship field and produced a 41 second spread to beat out a Kole Mathison-led Carmel team, who finished second with 106 points.

While Mathison earned the individual title in 14:51.70, Jesuit's top-five placement of 6-12-18-21-40 would prove just enough to snag the team win over third-ranked Carmel -- and that was without Michael Vocke, which remains one of the team's top runners. 

Carmel posted a faster team average, but displacement proved to be crucial. 

Plainfield South, meanwhile, went on to take third in the team race with 140 points and the Zionsville boys placed fifth with their score of 188.

Mason, Rock Bridge and Hinsdale Central finished sixth, seventh and 15th, respectively.

Mullen has quickly emerged as a key star for Jesuit this fall -- the basketball-player-turned-distance-runner has been the top finisher for the squad in each of their two season-opening meets, beginning at The Southern Showcase. 15:08.38 in Huntsville, Alabama.

He broke the 5K school record and made for a nearly 30-second PR en route to an overall team win for Jesuit, and Mullen now has lowered his own record yet again just a couple weeks later.

Other runners have crucially begun to hit their stride for Jesuit as they look ahead to potentially winning a state title and a RunningLane national championship in the coming months. Of note from Terre Haute, senior Patrick Dowd ran a significant personal best of 15:25.00 to finish as Jesuit's No. 3 runner and play a role as a top-five scorer.

The Nike XC Town Twilight win for Jesuit certainly makes a statement. In a matchup against not just one MileSplit50-ranked team, but six, Jesuit came away victorious, showing that they might just be one of the best teams in the nation as October racing begins.

Photos by Owen Fink/Indiana MileSplit

PLACE TEAM POINTS SCORERS TIMES 1 Jesuit 97 6+12+18+21+40 (93+146) 0:41 1-5 Split | 15:22 Avg 2 Carmel High School 106 1+5+15+42+43 (65+77) 0:54 1-5 Split | 15:21 Avg 3 Plainfield (South) 140 8+29+32+33+38 (69+73) 0:37 1-5 Split | 15:31 Avg 4 Noblesville High School 175 11+24+28+45+67 (72+144) 0:51 1-5 Split | 15:36 Avg 5 Zionsville Community High School 188 27+30+41+44+46 (81+124) 0:12 1-5 Split | 15:42 Avg 6 Mason 190 17+35+36+48+54 (89+98) 0:30 1-5 Split | 15:41 Avg 7 Rock Bridge High School 239 2+9+62+75+91 (96+131) 1:20 1-5 Split | 15:41 Avg 8 Hinsdale (Central) 268 4+14+31+106+113 (134+145) 1:39 1-5 Split | 15:48 Avg 9 Columbus North High School 286 7+22+58+94+105 (116+123) 1:25 1-5 Split | 15:51 Avg 10 Center Grove High School 289 37+51+56+61+84 (85+101) 0:30 1-5 Split | 15:55 Avg

On the other side of things, the indefatigable Ciara O'Shea captured the star-studded elite race, winning her third straight race of the season in a new PR of 16:52.10. 

This is impressive stuff from the Madison Central senior and University of North Carolina signee. 

Arguably Kentucky's top runner of all-time, O'Shea dropped 16 seconds from her previous PR of 17:08.90, which came at Great American a season ago. 

O'Shea became the ninth girl on the season to go under 17 minutes, but she also surpassed Gabby Karas' top all-time 5K performance of 16:53.00, which was last achieved in 2014. 

To top it all off? 

O'Shea dispatched a handful of the Midwest's top runners, including runner-up Addison Knoblauch of Homestead (17:21.30), Olney's Tatum David (17:28.80) and Columbus North's Lily Baker (17:30.30). 

On the team front, Illinois up-and-comer Prospect continues to produce. The girls rolled through the Terre Haute course and lodged 34 points, flying past second-place Noblesville (111) and Mason (118) -- the latter taking its first loss of the season. 

1	Mt. Prospect (Prospect)	34	3+4+5+7+15 (42+43)	0:37 1-5 Split | 17:53 Avg
2	Noblesville High School	111	17+19+24+25+26 (28+37)	0:17 1-5 Split | 18:37 Avg
3	Mason	118	13+18+27+29+31 (74+117)	0:40 1-5 Split | 18:38 Avg
4	Columbus North High School	120	2+6+33+35+44 (56+76)	1:32 1-5 Split | 18:27 Avg
5	Assumption	180	9+20+40+50+61 (65+84)	1:10 1-5 Split | 18:50 Avg