News From Terre Haute, Indiana

October 15, 2008

Amey Takes Aim: Gritty seniors ready to run past expectations

Kylee Thacker, meet Hannah Spencer.

I don’t know if you two know each other, but you have a lot in common. For example:

Both of you are high school seniors, Kylee at Northview and Hannah at Greencastle.

Both of you were 2007 Wabash Valley Athletes of the Year for your respective fall sports, Kylee in girls cross country and Hannah in girls soccer.

Then there are the more recent experiences you share: getting around with crutches or a walking boot, being willing to defy doctor’s orders or common sense, and a number of sentences that begin, “It’s my senior season, so …”

Whenever Kylee runs for the Knights this season, she does so in considerable pain thanks to stress fractures that haven’t healed. She wasn’t needed at the sectional earlier this week — C.J. and Allie and the Knights I don’t know quite as well took care of business in fine fashion — and she may not run again this season. But if the Knights need her to get out of Saturday’s regional, I can already hear this: “It’s my senior season, so I want to help.”

Saturday is the day that Hannah expects to be fully healed. She has a calf muscle that’s injured in two spots — torn at the bottom, strained at the top — and wasn’t supposed to play in Tuesday’s sectional match. But Northview wasn’t supposed to push the Tiger Cubs to the limit either; the Knights did, so Hannah did too.

She’ll begin tonight’s semifinal match with South Vermillion on the bench too, expecting her teammates to move into Saturday’s championship match but more than willing to join the battle if they need her.

But Saturday she’ll be ready to go. Those doctors who say she won’t be fully healed until December are needlessly pessimistic. “It’s my senior season,” I hear her saying, “so I’ve got to be in there.”

You go, girls. I’ll be rooting for you both.

• Other tough runners — Terre Haute North’s Lindy Jones is expected to be back for Saturday’s regional race too, after battling back issues most of the season. Teammate Jordan Cresgy may be able to join her.

And remember, cross country success isn’t always based on winning or losing. Some other Vigo County runners I’ve been impressed with this year are Lauren Prickel of Terre Haute South, who has persistently gotten better through four seasons until she’s at or near the top of the Braves’ lineup; siblings Jeff and Shelby Tatman of North, who constantly work to get better no matter what their positions are in a particular race (I’m guessing Christmas came early for Shelby when she made North’s seven-runner lineup for the Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference meet); and Desiree Marion of West Vigo. She was the fourth runner on a four-person team, all of whom improved throughout the season, but if I remember early-season times correctly Desiree improved by almost nine minutes from her first races of the year.

I root for you guys too.

• Sweeps week — Three of the four girls soccer sectional matches so far have been defensive battles, and Tuesday’s doubleheader featured four outstanding performances at sweeper: Jessie Lubovich of South Vermillion, Sarah Klotz of West Vigo, Cayla Yockey of Northview and Becky Grivas of Greencastle. Don’t be surprised by more of the same tonight and Saturday afternoon.

• • •

• Radio hall update — In mentioning Jerry Arnold’s induction into the Richard M. Fairbanks Indiana Broadcast Pioneers Hall of Fame last week, I inadvertantly glossed over another local connection.

Mauri Modesitt of Brazil was kind enough to send me the information that retired CBS correspondent Phil Jones is also former WTHI newsman Phil Jones. Phil met his wife Patty, a Gerstmeyer graduate, while working at Channel 10.

Andy Amey can be reached after 4 p.m. for comments or news items at (812) 231-4277 or at 1-800-783-8742; by e-mail at; by mail at P.O. Box 149, Terre Haute, IN, 47808; or by fax at (812) 231-4321.