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NH's Byrne ninth at state

Highlanders finish 10th

November 05, 2008
North Harrison junior Tyler Byrne made a charge in the last 150 meters to crack the top 10 of the boys' state finals cross county meet Saturday afternoon at the LaVerne Gibson cross country course in Terre Haute. The Floyd Central Highlanders also did well, as they made the top 10 in the team standings, finishing in 10th place.

North Harrison junior Tyler Byrne, left, charges by McCutcheon's Robby Stewart to take the ninth position in the last 50 meters of the boys' state finals cross country meet Saturday in Terre Haute. (Photos by Wade Bell)
With the Cougars in the far end starting box, Byrne got out to a great start, getting to the front with the other lead runners in the first 600 meters. Not only was Byrne there, but so was teammate Ryan Foster, who was running next to Byrne at that point.

"I think that's as good of a spot as any because you don't have to worry about anybody to your right," Byrne said of starting outside. "Really, at this course, no spot is too bad because it's such an open straightway."

Cougar coach Jerry Love said some of his younger runners got a little caught up in the excitement of the race.

"Those guys were a little bit too fast in that first mile," he said. "Tyler was about right on the mark where we wanted him at five minutes. The other guys were probably 10 or 15 seconds too fast."

At the mile mark, the front runners were more bundled as the course narrowed. At two kilometers, Byrne was still with the front runners, and at the halfway point, he was in the top three. At near three kilometers, however, Byrne slipped back to the bottom of the top 10.

"I went out, and the pace didn't feel too fast, so I just kind of coasted up there," he said. "I came through a little bit slow at the mile, but at the two-mile mark, I just faded back. … They picked the pace up a little bit, and I just couldn't hold it and fell back."

Floyd Central senior Justin Hodge leads the Highlanders to a 10th-place team finish, as he places 36th out of 194 runners. "From the start at mile one, they were in the mix with all the big guys," Floyd coach Tim Korte said of his team.
Byrne was back to 11th place with 150 meters to go and made one last charge, first passing Oak Hills' Cameron Balser. The North Harrison junior then passed McCutcheon's Robby Stewart with less than 50 meters to go to grab the ninth position.

"We got to that last turn, and I was right behind a kid and he kind of picked it up a little bit," Byrne said. "Then, I got passed by another kid with about 150 meters to go, so I just gave it everything I had and passed them both of them."

"He showed a lot of fight at the end to get that extra spot in," Love said. "That top 10 group wasn't that spread out through the race. There was a whole big group after that. He stayed right with that front group, and there was a bunch of kids that had about the same times. There wasn't more than two or three seconds difference on most of those kids' times."

Despite finishing in the top 10, Byrne said he wasn't completely satisfied with his finish.

"I would have really liked to have been top three or up there a little bit higher," he said. "I'm all right with it, but I really wanted to do better. … To me it's more experience, and next year I can be more competing to win, but we'll see."

"Anytime you finish top 10 in the state you can hold your head up high," Love said. "He had a good race. He was in a five-minute pace at the mile and looked good. At halfway he was right there, in the top three. That pack was right together. They didn't spread out very far. (Winner Drew) Shields had a little extra in the tank today, but Tyler ran a great race.

"He's hungry. In his mind he wanted to stay where he was that first mile-and-a-half. He looked strong that first mile-and-a-half. He faded just a little bit and, of course, in a race like this, it's going to cost you a couple of spots. It's still nothing to be ashamed of."

Love was also happy with his team's 19th-place finish. Besides Byrne's ninth-place, Foster was 78th, Johnnie Guy 121st, Chris Foster 157th, Josh Guy 172nd, Peter Book 178th and Matt Bruce 180th.

"Overall, we had two PRs," the Cougar coach said. "Both our twin (Foster) boys PRed. Here they are freshmen and they got their first taste of the state meet. They're hungry. They want to come back. They know what to expect now. We're just happy. We're looking forward to a bright future for the next few years."

It was also a good day for the Floyd Central Highlanders who finished 10th as a team. Senior Justin Hodge led Floyd finishing 36th in the individual standings. Floyd coach Tim Korte said the finish was better than he had hoped.

"My guys looked great today," Korte said. "They had good races. All five of my top five looked really good today."

"We came in thinking if I could have my top four under 16:30, that we'd have a shot to do big things," he said. "We were depending on our five man. We didn't get all under 16:30, but they were close enough and they were in the mix. From the start at mile one, they were in the mix with all the big guys."

Like Byrne, Hodge also made up some spots during the final stretch run to secure the 36th position.

"He always looks strong at the end," Korte said. "He never goes out hard the first mile because those last two miles he works pretty good."

Besides Hodge's strong run, Garrett Blackman was 68th, Daniel Huhnerkoch 72nd and Sam Mires 76th. Corey Portwood was 109th, Mitch Montoux 183rd and Jesse Hamilton 186th.

"The pack they were at, that one through four finish was really tight, and the location of the pack was up pretty high," Korte said.

With five seniors in the team's top seven, Korte said next year would be a rebuilding year. He added, however, he doesn't plan on being away from the state meet for long.

"Five of those seven were seniors, so we're completely stripped," he said. "This is nine seniors in the last two years and nine seniors in the last 14 runners I've had, so that will strip your team out if you don't have a huge school like the Indy schools. We'll be rebuilding for the next couple. I don't plan to be out long. That's for sure."

Sophomore Eric Scheiber led the Perry Central Commodores to a 20th-place team finish. Scheiber finished 84th, with teammate Michael Ernst 97th. Jake Schwartz finished 103rd, with Ian Bashor 114th. Neil Scheartz was 179th, Kyle Troesch 189th and Noah Gatwood 193rd.

Others from the region finishing well were Providence's Oliver Book at 33rd and Josh Genet of Northeast Dubois at 50th. New Albany's Jason Holcomb ran number one for New Albany with a 106th place finish, and Silver Creek's Brendan Chwalek was 130th.

In the girls' race Paoli junior Audrey Thill came from well back early to finish 61st in a time of 19 minutes, 50.2 seconds. Silver Creek's Olivia Horvath was 67th, and New Albany's Stephanie Cave was 94th. Tell City's Sarah Goffinet finished 122nd, and Kaci Verkamp of Forest Park was 135th.

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Girls' Scores - Carmel 55, Lake Central 160, Franklin Central 167, Valparaiso 172, Westfield 177, Columbus North 182, Northridge 190, Noblesville 201, Carroll (FW) 202, Huntington North 299, North Central 3327, Portage 327, Ft. Wayne Northrop 332, West Lafayette 386, Crown Point 423, Dekalb 432, Heritage Hills 443, West Noble 446, Bloomington South 453, Madison 472, Bloomington North 473, Terre Haute North 507, Kankakee Valley 553, Edgewood 670

Girls' Results - 1. Sarah Higgins (CtrGrv) 18:14.0, 2. Emily Mossier (NrthCntrl) 18:24.3, 3. Kelly McCurdy (Crml) 18:25.5, 4. Dana Payonk (LkCntrl) 18:31.1, 5. Renee Wellman (Crml) 18:34.5, 6. Christina Blain (Whlr) 18:35.4, 7. Kelsey Lewark (WstLfyt) 18:39.8, 8. Jordan Chester (BnGrv) 18:43.3, 9. Katy Achtien (IndCth) 18:44.7, 10. Brianna (Crrl-FW) 18:45.7, 11. Siri Retrum (ColNrth) 18:46.3, 12. Kayla McCurdy (Crml) 18:47.7, 13. Kaisa Goodman (WstLfyt) 18:49.8, 14. Waverly Neer (ClvrAcd) 18:51.3, 15. Sydney Mansfield (FWN)18:52.0-(61. Audrey Thill (Paoli) 19:50.2, 67. Olivia Horvath (SilCk) 19:53.3, 94. Stephanie Cave (NwAlby) 20:18.9, 122. Sarah Goffinet (TllCty) 20:42.2, 135. Kaci Verkamp (FrstPrk) 20:53.6)

Boys' Scores - Carmel 100, Carroll (Ft. Wayne) 110, McCutcheon 153, North Central 155, Fishers 158, Franklin Central 180, Terre Haute North 222, Northridge 255, Nobelsville 286, Floyd Central 289, Chesterton 298, Huntington North 326, LaPorte 330, Valparaiso 379, Bloomington South 388, Columbus North 393, Ft . Wayne Northrop 417, West Lafayette 426, North Harrison 436, Perry Central 453, Concord 496, New Albany 499, Frankfort 506, Ft. Wayne Northside 512

Boys' Results - 1. Drew Shields (Fshrs) 15:20.3, 2. Futsum Zeinasellassie (NrthCtrl) 15:25.4, 3. James Martin (Crrl-FW) 15:33.9, 4. Dylan Sorensen (Znsvl) 15:39.9, 5. Blake Circksen (Nblvll) 15:41.6, 6. Scott Lasiter (FrnkCtrl) 15:43.7, 7. Alex Shields (Fshrs) 15:44.5, 8. Matthew Miller (LPrt) 15:46.5, 9. Tyler Byrne (NrthHrrsn) 15:49.7, 10, Robby Stewart (MCthn) 15:50.1, 11. Cameron Balser (OkHl) 15:51.7, 12. Kyle Smiley (NwPr) 15:52.0, 13. Nathan Hendershot (PndlHts) 15:56.4, 14. Robert Kleber (Crrl-FW) 15:57.2, 15. J.D. Smith (Crml) 15:57.4-(33. Oliver Book (Prov) 16:15.1, 36. Justin Hodge (FlydCtrl) 16:16.6, 50. Josh Genet (NrthstDub) 16:25.5, 84. Eric Scheiber (PryCtrl) 16:50.6, 106. Jason Holcomb (NwAlby) 17:03.2, 130. Brendan Chwalek (SilCk) 17:21.0

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