October 30, 2019Puddles of water sometimes looked like streams at the Brown County Cross-country Course near Nashville.
Taking off into drops of steady rain, runners at the Brown County Semi-state had no time to lose focus Saturday. Aiming for personal best times were thrown out the window as racing strategy and survival took over.
When the field of 179 males and 174 females crossed the finish line, the Floyd Central squads earned bids to the state finals.
Floyd Central's Luke Heinemann leads a pack of runners through the rain.
On the girls' side, Floyd Central's Sydney Liddle stayed in the second-place position throughout much of the race, holding the spot at the line with a time of 18:56.0. The performance, along with those of her teammates, helped put the Lady Highlanders in third place among team scores with 124 points. Showing the way among girls' teams was Columbus North (57 points), snagging the first of six advancing team positions.
"Our team handled the weather and course well on Saturday," said Floyd Central coach Carl Hook. "We have trained and raced in adverse conditions and were looking forward to having an advantage because of that."
Annalyssa Crain was in a boat of her own, pressing well ahead of the field at the start and never looking back. The junior from Edgewood glistened over the soggy course with a time of 18:02.6.
Liddle's senior teammate, Chloe Loftus, was a 23rd-place finisher at Brown County, turning over a time of 19:51.2. Not far behind her was junior Sydney Baxter (20:04.8) in 31st. Also cracking the top 40 for Floyd Central were Jaydon Cirincione (37th, 20:19.6) and Savanna Liddle (39th, 20:19.6).
The Lady Highlanders also sent out Natalie Clare (60th, 20:58.7) and Carley Conway (95th, 21:49.7).
"Our girls battled hard, and I'm very proud of all of them," said Hook.
Crawford County's Gabi Gaines closed her senior season reaching the semi-state level. Finishing with a time of 21:54.4, Gaines earned 104th place.
Corydon Central was represented in the girls' race by a team that placed 20th, led by an 87th-place showing via Emily Armstrong with a race time of 21:36.8.
The Lady Panthers were without senior Marcie Stewart, who missed the race due to an injury.
Outside of Armstrong, the Lady Panthers sent out Sarah Bailey (129th, 22:37.6), Ryleigh Lisher (132nd, 22:40.5), Emily Bruce (152nd, 23:58.3), Emma Bailey (153rd, 24:00.3) and Brooklynne Burress (166th, 26:35.1).
Within the boys' competition, Floyd Central was third as well, scoring 97 points. They weren't far behind overall winner Bloomington South (77 points) and runner-up Columbus North (79 points).
The Highlanders had a big race out of Hunter Griffin, who finished eighth with a time of 16:16.8.
To round out the scoring runners for Floyd Central, the Highlanders were not far from one another. Luke Heinemann came in 23rd (16:41.0), Eli Johnson was in 27th (16:42.1), Mitchel Meier placing 28th (16:43.0) and David Heinemann running in 33rd (16:47.0).
Also competing for the Highlanders were Justin McWilliams (45th, 16:59.2) and Wade Woosley (53rd, 17:06.8).
Competing as an individual, North Harrison's Jacob Wenning ran a time of 18:37.9 and placed 151st.
Corydon Central's Camden Marshall earned one of the 10 individual advancing spots to state by placing 13th. After a strong start, Marshall fell back to around 25th place before making a late charge to close with a time of 16:23.0.
Now for qualifiers, it's off to the state finals, which will take place Saturday at the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course in Terre Haute.
"We're looking forward to another trip to the state finals and understand that this can't be taken for granted," said Hook. "Indiana is one of the top cross-country states in the country, so being on the start line at Terre Haute on Saturday is a blessing and an honor."
The boys' race will begin at 1 p.m. followed by the girls' at 1:45. Admission will be $10 per person.
Boys' team scores (top six advance to state): 1. Bloomington South 77, 2. Columbus North 79, 3. Floyd Central 97, 4. Bloomington North 156, 5. Jasper 173, 6. Northview 196, 7. Terre Haute South Vigo 211, 8. Jennings County 223, 9. Austin 239, 10. New Albany 306, 11. Castle 321, 12. Eastern (Pekin) 341, 13. Seymour 367, 14. South Knox 372, 15. Borden 412, 16. Evansville Reitz Memorial 415, 17. Gibson Southern 416, 18. Vincennes Lincoln 425, 19. Tell City 449, 20. White River Valley 469.
Boys' individual results: 1. Paul Rushton (Bloom. North) 15:50.6, 2. Matthew Newell (Col. North), 3. Cael Light (TH South Vigo), 4. Jackson Miller (Jasper), 5. Uriah Guthrie (Eastern Pekin), 6. Reese Kilbarger-Stumpff (Columbus North), 7. Dean Schmidt (Ev. North), 8. Hunter Griffin (Floyd Central), 9. John Gillard (Bloom. South), 10. Gavin Hendrix (Jennings County).
Boys' individuals advancing to state not on an advancing team: 3. Cael Ligh (TH South Vigo), 5. Uriah Guthrie (Eastern Pekin), 7. Dean Schmidt (Ev. North), 10. Gavin Hendrix (Jennings County), 12. Matt Gambill (TH South Vigo), 13. Camden Marshall (Corydon Central), 14. Spenser Wolf (Forest Park), 15. Carter Leak (Jennings County), 18. Dylan Bland (Southridge), 19. Damon Kesler (Shakamak).
Girls' team scores: 1. Columbus North 57, 2. Bloomington North 76, 3. Floyd Central 124, 4. Northview 154, 5. Bloomington South 156, 6. Edgewood 236, 7. Terre Haute South Vigo 255, 8. Forest Park 274, 9. South Knox 275, 10. Jasper 279, 11. Barr-Reeve 307, 12. Seymour 338, 13. Northeast Dubois 344, 14. Princeton 349, 15. Mt. Vernon 353, 16. Evansville Reitz Memorial 368, 17. Charlestown 379, 18. Columbus East 382, 19. Jennings County 456, 20. Corydon Central 491.
Girls' individual results: 1. Annalyssa Crain (Edgewood) 18:02.6, 2. Sydney Liddle (Floyd Central), 3. Makenzie Barnett (Col. North), 4. Alli Morphew (Ev. Reitz Memorial), 5. Andi Vanmeter (Jasper), 6. Brianna Newel (Col. North), 7. Lily Baker (Col. North), 8. Olivia Morlok (Col. North), 9. Quinn Wilson (Bloom. North), 10. Bea Cakmak (Bloom. North).
Girls' individuals advancing to state not on an advancing team: 4. Alli Morphew (Ev. Reitz Memorial), 5. Andi Vanmeter (Jasper), 12. Hadley Gradolf (Brown County), 13. Heidi Meade (Princeton), 15. Ellie Hall (Forest Park), 16. Makenna Pruett (Barr-Reeve), 17. Mykayla Couchenour (South Knox), 18. Jacy Collins (Shakamak), 19. Jordan Schweikarth (Northeast Dubois), 20. Lillian Barton (TH South Vigo).