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Cougars seventh at state

Genet 11th, Peter 86th

November 03, 2010
Last year, the North Harrison Cougars got their first taste of a podium finish at the state cross country finals as they finished fifth, giving the state notice they meant to be serious competitors. After winning this year's sectional, regional and semi-state, the Cougars hungered to get back on the podium again this year but, instead, left disappointed, finishing seventh.

"The guys wanted podium, and when it started counting down, we figured we were in the mid- to low- 200's," North Harrison coach Jerry Love said. "When the numbers started dropping pretty quick there, I knew it was going to be close. Seventh in state is not bad, but it's not what we wanted. Normally, you would be jumping up and down with seventh in the state, but these guys wanted podium again bad. I knew if we didn't get it, it would hurt."

North Harrison’s Johnnie Guy (227) finishes as the Cougars’ No. 1 runner at the state finals, placing 35th. The Cougars finished seventh of the 24 teams competing. Photo by Wade Bell
The Cougars got their pack to the front group at the opening gun. North Central standout Futsum Zeinasellassie began to establish himself as the one to beat as the runners made the first turn and moved down along the creek on the southern end of the LaVerne Gibson course in Terre Haute.

The front group stayed packed through the middle of the race then Zeinasellassie began to make his move to pull away with just over a kilometer to go. North Harrison's Johnnie Guy ran as the Cougars' No. 1 runner with teammate Jonathan Reynolds a few spots back.

In the final kilometer, Zeinasellassie broke away from the field to win in a time of 15 minutes, 15.6 seconds. The Cougars were hoping to be a little farther toward the front as a group. Guy was 35th (16:14.9), and Reynolds was 39th (16:17.1). Ryan Foster finished 47th (16:24.3), Josh Guy 58th (16:30.1) and Kyle Chesser, the Cougars' No. 5 runner, 135th (17:19.3).

"It was tough," Johnnie Guy said after the race. "That wind coming down the last straight-away really hurt."

"They might have went out a little fast," assistant coach Tim Martin said. "They had to. You can't get stuck back in the pack when you go out in this race. … During my count, you could see we were better than most."

The Cougars finished with 230 points. Terre Haute North earned the fifth podium spot with 207 points. Columbus North won the team championship with 94 points.

"The points between seven and six was almost single digits, and fifth and fourth, we were within almost 20 or 30 points of that," Love said. "In a race like this, 10 seconds is almost 15 guys maybe in a pack of runners like that. Probably in the middle of the race there, we needed to surge a little bit and put ourselves in a little better place. Maybe the legs just wasn't there today."

"Johnnie and Josh both had an excellent race," Love said of the Guy brothers. "Those guys really pushed it and were tanked out at the end. They didn't have anything left. Ryan kicked at the end and caught Josh and passed him. He's got a strong kick. Jonathan gained some ground on his kick. They all took some people on this last home stretch. They fought to the very end. Some took two or three. Some took more than that. When they're fighting at the end, every spot is going to count."

"We'll use this as motivation for next year," he said. "I don't think there's any teams with seven guys coming back. We will remember this all season and use it, and we won't let this happen again."

Northeast Dubois senior Josh Genet was hoping for a top-10 spot but missed it by one place, finishing 11th in a time of 15:43.6.

"I usually remember state being less grouped," Genet said. "I think this is a really tough year, a lot of good runners this year."

The Jeeps senior said the strong south wind made the 3.1 miles even more difficult, especially at the start and the finish.

"You had to get behind somebody and just draft off of them for this entire straight stretch," he said. "That's what I did, and, on this start, I didn't hardly notice the wind. I had people blocking it for me."

"That last kilometer is a killer," Genet said. "At the 1K, I took off and I got to right where you get on the straight stretch and I was, 'Oh, shoot! This is going to be hard.' I just looked straight down and kind of took off. I got a lot of people and got a second wind there at the end."

In the girls' race, Perry Central's Cathryn Peter was getting her first look at a state final. The Crawford County Regional winner stayed in the middle of the pack for most of the race and finished 86th of the 189 runners. Culver Academies' Waverly Neer and Bloomington South's Nicole Lucas battled most of the way up front with Neer getting the win by just 0.7 of a second in a time of 18 minutes, 17.5 seconds.

"I'm speechless," Peter said of the experience. "It wasn't my best race. It was tough. … My goal was top 50. I thought I would do pretty good, but the wind got to me."

"I think she was a little shell-shocked," Perry Central coach Jason Barnett said. "It's a little overwhelming for anybody. It's the first time she's even seen the state meet. She wasn't able to come out last year. It's a good experience for her. She's still got two more years to use this experience to help her next time."

Barnett said he hopes to get the whole team to next year's finals to give Peter some help.

"That helps, just having your teammates around you, not standing there at that starting line by yourself, nobody to talk to you right there before the gun," he said. "Just having your teammates there eases the nerves a little. As an individual, it's a tough thing. She's a tough cookie. She'll be all right. She's got some good years ahead of her."

"Hopefully, I'll get to come back next year and do better," Peter said.

Girls' Scores - Carmel 73, Columbus North 118, West Lafayette 173, Franklin Central 202, Fort Wayne Carroll 206, Valparaiso 239, Crown Point 260, Noblesville 266, Fort Wayne Concordia 269, North Central 291, Terre Haute North 302, Westfield 304, Columbia City 319, Bloomington South 327, West Noble 329, Huntington North 384, Lake Central 384, Bloomington North 417, DeKalb 453, Evansville Memorial 462, Culver Academies 484, Portage 579, Bedford-NL 597, Terre Haute South 635

Girls' Results - 1. Waverly Neer (Clvr) 18:17.6, 2. Nicole Lucas (BS) 18:18.2, 3. Sarah Bennett (Crml) 18:29.2, 4. Brianna Johnson (Crrl-FW) 18:33.6, 5. Kaisa Goodman (WLayf) 18:34.3, 6. Jessica Richardson (CN) 18:34.6; 7. Helen Willman (Nblvl) 18:35.0; 8. Renee Wellman (Crml) 18:36.8, 9. Mary Davis (IBC) 18:43.3, 10. Jordan Chester (BnGrv) 18:44.3; 11. Brenna Poulson (NC-Ind) 18:47.3; 12. Samantha Roush (ClmbCty)18:47.7, 13. Courtney Edon (NwPal) 18:48.4, 14. Laicee Pierce (CrnPt) 18:49.4, 15. Kendra Foley (Nblvl) 18:49.7, 86. Cathryn Peter (PC) 20:03.5

Boys' Scores - Columbus North 94, Noblesville 170, Lawrence North 174, North Central (Ind) 202, Terre Haute North 207, Hamilton Southeastern 221, North Harrison 230, South Bend St. Joseph's 238, Carmel 241, Valparaiso 263, Mishawaka 269, Fort Wayne Dwenger 291, Laporte 298, Fort Wayne Carroll 310, Fort Wayne Snider 322, Martinsville 405, West Lafayette 416, West Noble 464, Bloomington South 480, Chesterton 486, Terre Haute South 508, Bedford-NL 513, Munster 526, Crown Point 569

Boys' Results - 1. Futsum Zeinasellassie (NC-Ind) 15:16.6, 2. Jason Crist (FC) 16:31.5, 3. Bradley Hess (Crll-FW) 15:31.6, 4. Chris Walden (Crml) 16:32.3, 5. Tate Schienbein (UnCty) 15:36.1, 6. Jace Lowry (Mart) 15:37.5, 7. Morgan Welsh (MCtn) 15:37.7, 8. Filimon Adhanom (NC-Ind) 15:38.9, 9. Michael Sublette (CN) 15:40.6, 10. Mitchell Hubner (LPrt) 15:43.0, 11. Josh Genet (NED) 15:43.6, 12. Kent Garrett (GCath) 15:44.4, 13. Keigan Culler (Frmt) 15:49.3, 14. Connor Martin (Wstfld) 15:50.9, 15. Ahmad Aljobeh (Valp) 15:55.6, 35. Johnnie Guy (NH) 16:14.9, 39. Jonathan Reynolds (NH) 16:17.1, 47. Ryan Foster (NH) 16:24.3, 58. Josh Guy (NH) 16:30.1, 135. Kyle Chesser (NH) 17:19.3, 178. Jason Head (NH) 18:16.7, 189. Cody Morgan (NH) 18:38.0

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