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Byrne, Wilson dominate NH Invite

Cougars, Lady Commodores win team titles

September 09, 2009
Lightning bolts flew overhead about an hour before the start of the North Harrison Invitational cross country meet Thursday afternoon. Lightning also struck on the course, in the names of North Harrison's Tyler Byrne and Erika Wilson of Eastern (Pekin), who literally ran away from the field in their individual races. The Cougars also won the boys' team title while the Perry Central girls' won for the second straight year.

North Harrison senior Tyler Byrne shatters the course record at the North Harrison Invitational cross country meet Thursday afternoon by winning in a time of 15 minutes, 35.9 seconds. Photo by Wade Bell
"I can't be more prouder of them," North Harrison coach Jerry Love said of his runners. "They did more than what we expected. We knew they were in good shape. They've worked hard all summer. They wanted this race. They wanted to own their own invite and be the champs. They huddled out just before the race and said, 'Let's do it.' They went out to win it."

Byrne got a little extra push from nearly the entire Bedford-North Lawrence team through the first mile, but, by the midway point, the senior began to pull away from the field. With just over a mile to go, he led by about 75 meters over Northeast Dubois junior Josh Genet. Byrne continued to gain ground and went on to finish in a course record of 15 minutes, 35.9 seconds.

"That first mile, I had some kids right up there with me, and it was nice to have somebody help push the pace," Byrne said. "The first mile, I would have liked it to have been a touch faster. The second mile was about 10:10, which, after my first mile, that was about what I was shooting for. The last mile was just everything I had."

Byrne said he still has plenty of work to do to meet a personal season goal.

"Right now, I think I'll keep picking it up a little bit more, bring my times a little bit lower," he said. "At the end of the season, hopefully (I'll be) around 15-flat, so I'm on my way. I've just got to keep the season rolling through, stay injury-free and keep working hard."

Following Genet were Scottsburg's Kris Sandlin and North Harrison's Ryan Foster and Jonathan Reynolds, in third, fourth and fifth, respectively.

The Cougars, with 39 points, also won the team title, with Perry Central second.

"The boys got beat by a good team," Perry Central coach Jason Barnett said. "North Harrison is awesome."

"We may have PRed everybody," Love said. "We had three under 16:30, and Tyler broke the course record. If you get that this early in the season, you can't ask for any more than that. They put out a great effort. They're hungry. Our job now is to hold the reins back a little bit and keep them for October. We've got a long way to go till then, but we are looking good at this point."

Eastern's Wilson made a statement early in the girls' race when she took a commanding lead in the first mile. South Central's Rachel Pease was in third place at that point, running side-by-side with Tell City's Sarah Goffinet.

At the two-mile mark, Wilson was leading by more than 30 seconds over New Albany's Phoebe Bauer, who had moved up to second, but Wilson cruised to the win, 51 seconds over Bauer with Goffinet third. Eastern's Rachel Dalton moved up to fourth with Pease fifth.

"I didn't think I was going that fast. I don't feel bad or anything, so it's crazy to be able to run like that," Wilson said.

"I think my coach was lying to me," she said. "He told me there were girls close behind me. So, that's why I didn't think I was going that fast. It's just crazy. It feels amazing, because I haven't ran like this in a long time."

Wilson said the earlier rain shower made a big difference in the race conditions.

"It does help when it's not so hot, and I think the rain cooled that off quite a bit," she said. "It made it feel a lot better in the 70s and 80s."

Pease, who wasn't happy with her finish, said her asthma problem played a role in her performance.

"I'm disappointed, very disappointed," she said. "I was looking to just draft off in the beginning and then whatever I had left just see what happens. I guess fifth is OK I couldn't breathe. My asthma kicked up, and I just didn't have anything left."

Pease said she will work on improving every aspect of her running.

"I'm probably going to pick up my mileage," she said, "and start doing some sprint workouts, just try to get stronger basically. I'm going back to the doctor definitely."

For the Perry Central Lady Commodores, it was a second straight invitational championship, as the Class 1A school besting Class 4A Bedford-North Lawrence by 17 points.

"They won it last year, and I knew from practice their potential, they could do it again," Barnett said. "Last week at Boonville, they didn't race very good. Rachael Rayford, in July, was a little bit injured and took a little time off. She didn't really run great at Boonville, but she ran two minutes faster and she stayed with our pack and made it five strong."

Cathryn Peter ran first for the Lady Commodores, finishing 15th in a time of 21 minutes, 17.13 seconds.

"She's a new runner for us," Barnett said. "She's a freshman. This is the first time she's run cross, and she's getting better every meet. Our goal is to make state for the girls and I think that's a possibility."

Click for photo gallery

Girls' Scores — Perry Central 102, Bedford-NL 119, NE Dubois 147, Floyd Central 150, Salem 173, Tell City 193, Jasper 202, Brownstown 210, New Albany 218, Eastern (Pekin) 224, Forest Park 228, Jeffersonville 234, Southridge 328, South Central 345, Lanesville 365, Mitchell 391, Scottsburg 401, North Harrison 497, Crawford County 517; No Team Score — Corydon, Silver Creek, Paoli, Charlestown, Borden, West Washington

Girls' Results — 1. Erika Wilson (EP) 19:09.4, 2. Phoebe Bauer (NA) 20.00.6, 3. Sarah Goffinet (TC) 20:20.6, 4. Rachel Dalton (EP) 20:33.5, 5. Rachel Pease (SC) 20:36.5, 6. Samantha Shelton (BNL) 20:43.8, 7. Hanna Guthrie (BNL) 20:43.8, 9. Rachel Mehringer (J) 20:43.8, 10. Athena Haake (FP) 20:52.6

Boys' Scores — North Harrison 39, Perry Central 66, Bedford-NL 137, Scottsburg 175, Forest Park 186, Floyd Central 194, Tell City 221, Corydon 245, Lanesville 312, Jasper 323, NE Dubois 331, Austin 350, Borden 354, Jeffersonville 359, Brownstown 407, South Central 433, Southridge 438, Crawford County 472, Eastern Pekin 475, Mitchell 486, Salem 527, Orleans 544, Charlestown 646, West Washington 653; No Team Score — Christian Academy, Paoli

Boys' Results — 1. Tyler Byrne (NH) 15:35.9, 2. Josh Genet (NED) 16:15.6, 3. Kris Sandlin (Sctbg) 16:17.6, 4. Ryan Foster (NH) 16:22.1, 5. Jonathan Reynolds (NH) 16:24.0, 6. Hunter Williams (Bor) 16:28.9, 7. Johnnie Guy (NH) 16:33.4, 8. Logan Barrett (BNL) 16:35.2, 9. Eric Scheiber (PC) 16:37.7, 10. Michael Ernst (PC) 16:42.9

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