News From Terre Haute, Indiana

High School

August 21, 2012

North CC team has extra motivation

TERRE HAUTE — Terre Haute North’s boys cross country team did not need extra motivation for the 2012 season, but the Patriots have it anyway.

Senior-to-be Tre’ Fletcher, a first-year member of the team, died unexpectedly July 19. North boys cross country coach Tom Dever said Fletcher previously had participated in track, football and wrestling at the high school.

“He was a great kid,” Dever told the Tribune-Star. “That’s really brought the team together. We’ll be wearing a small patch on our uniforms that say ‘Tre’ all year. The guys are putting together a shirt that has on the front a picture of Tre’ zip-lining in Wisconsin over the summer.”

With heavy hearts, the Patriots will get their season started Saturday in the Franklin Invite.

I I I

Below is a look at how the Vigo County and Northview teams appear to stack up for 2012:

Boys

n Northview — Veteran coach Chad Smith anticipates plenty of strong performances from junior Nic Yocom, who placed ninth Saturday in the Bloomington North Early Bird Meet at Terre Haute’s LaVern Gibson Championship Course.

“He’s an all-[Western Indiana] conference runner [from 2011],” Smith pointed out. “I think he’s going to be our No. 1 runner this year. Hopefully, we can get him to be conference champ and maybe try to get him to the state meet individually.”

Other key returnees on this senior-less squad are juniors Travis Beil and Ian Heffner, plus Northview should benefit from the presence of freshman Cam Trout, who was the team’s No. 2 runner Saturday (64th overall).

Smith also awaits sophomore Josh Johnson, who should be able to return from a foot injury in the next few weeks.

“Our goal would be to contend for the WIC championship,” Smith said. “That’s always our goal. Brown County and Edgewood seem to have a strong hold on that conference right now. They both ran in the Bloomington North meet [placing seventh and eighth respectively, while Northview was 10th]. So that gives us a good idea on how we’re going to compete the rest of the year.”

The Knights will be back in action today against Shakamak, Brown County and Owen Valley at Owen Valley.

n Terre Haute North — Beginning his second season in charge, Dever is coming off a 2011 campaign in which the Patriots competed in the semistate and barely missed a trip to the state finals.

Even though Tyeson Mundy has graduated since then and is running for Indiana University, Dever still has a fair amount of returning talent to count on, including seniors Justin Clapp (who appears to be North’s No. 1 runner at the moment), Travis Clapp and Stephen Koos, juniors Chase Cresgy, Nathan Moshos and Grant Potts and sophomores Peter Davis, Tyler Nemeth and Caleb Paauwe.

Dever said Harry Chambers, who came from Otter Creek Middle School, is the freshman likely to make the biggest immediate impact.

“We’re still a fairly young group,” Dever assessed. “We’re getting better each week and we hope to peak toward sectional time. I think we can have a decent shot for this team to get to state.”

n Terre Haute South — Loaded. That’s one way to describe the Braves, ranked No. 9 in the preseason by the indianarunner.com website.

Junior Jackson Bertoli, who placed 34th in the 2011 IHSAA state finals and started 2012 by winning the Bloomington North Early Bird Meet in 16 minutes, 3.7 seconds Saturday, is ranked No. 5 in the state by indianarunner.com.

“On a good day, Jackson has the upside that he could contend for the top spot at LaVern Gibson,” the website said, referring to the Oct. 27 state finals.

“He’s favored to be one of the top 10 runners in the state this year,” South coach Kyle Walsh confirmed. “Rankings don’t mean anything to us, though. It’s more about how you perform. He understands that and he’s excited about his junior year of cross country. He wants to compete against some of the top-level runners in the state of Indiana.”

As a team, South came in second behind Lawrence Central in the Bloomington North meet. Bertoli’s teammate, senior Logan Hambrock, crossed the finish line seventh.

“He’s looking forward to an exciting senior year,” Walsh said of Hambrock. “He had a little bit of sickness during track season [in the spring]. He’s healthy now and he’s in great shape.”

Other key returnees are senior Devon Fuson, junior Jerad Fuson (Devon’s brother), sophomore Spencer Danielson and senior Isaac Wonderlin. New to the program is Riverton Parke transfer Riley Stohler, a junior who was 13th Saturday.

“To me, predictions are fun to do,” Walsh said, referring to the indianarunner.com rankings. “I would like us to be a top-10 team in the state. I think we’re good enough to do that. Is that guaranteed? No, far from it. This team has to make it happen. Everyone on this team knows we’re capable of that. The question is, are we going to make it happen?”

South will continue its season Saturday in the Purdue Invitational.

n West Vigo — Kicking off his 32nd season as the Vikings’ coach, Bill Petscher described 2012 as “somewhat of a rebuilding, reloading year.”

“The Vikings are comprised of several young, enthusiastic, hard-working young runners,” he mentioned.

Returning from last year’s team are seniors Derek Braun and Brody Donnelly, junior Blake Benefiel and sophomores Davin Donnelly, Jonah Eckert, Zac Otte and Austin Romanelly. Newcomers include sophomore Bryan Patton and freshmen Caleb Likens, Clayton O’Neil and Jacob Weir.

“I have an enthusiastic bunch of young runners that will continue to improve throughout the season,” Petscher said. ”I believe by the end of the season, we can be competitive in the WIC and gain another berth at the IHSAA regional. These are our primary goals.”

Worth noting is that Andrew Kump, a 2010 and 2011 state finalist, has graduated. He and his brother Nathan Kump are running cross country and track for Indiana State.

West Vigo will open its season today with a home meet against Sullivan.

Girls

n Northview — Second-year coach Rexanne Laue will count on sophomore Emily Conrad and senior Hannah Zadii, both returnees from last season, and sophomore newcomer Ashley Kidwell to lead the Knights. They finished within 11 seconds of each other in the Bloomington North Early Bird Meet last Saturday.

“Those three all have the potential to make All-Western Indiana Conference this year,” Laue emphasized.

Also expected to contribute are junior Leanna Knight and seniors Eileen Stinnett, Maegan Pillman and Carrie Drugger.

“I have nine girls this year and I’m looking forward to all of them running,” Laue mentioned. “It’s a good team, very strong.”

The Knights will be back in action today against Shakamak, Brown County and Owen Valley at Owen Valley.

n Terre Haute North — Starting his 12th season at the helm, Mike Dason has guided the Patriots to the IHSAA state finals for the past eight years.

In 2011, they captured the sectional, regional and semistate titles. In 2012, they would be disappointed if they don’t repeat those accomplishments.

“This is the best team I’ve ever coached,” Dason proclaimed. “I have 35 girls on the team and everybody from top to bottom works just as hard as the others. We have no slackers … and we’ve got some talent. Those freshmen are making the upperclassmen step up their game.”

One key returnee from last season is senior Chanli Mundy, who finished ninth in the state last season.

“She’s a hard worker,” Dason assessed. “Obviously, we’re looking to have success with her this year since this is her last year. She wants to really push herself and have success. So she’s really been working hard. She actually went to a camp in Oregon over the summer.”

Also back are junior Laura Johnson (52nd in state), senior Katie Loebker (75th in state), senior Annie Mullican (94th in state), junior Jessi Conley (115th in state) and junior Mallory Sanders (124th in state).

Then there’s the wild card — senior TaPring Goatee, who didn’t compete last year because of knee injuries. Her return is significant news because she won the state championship as a freshman three years ago and she supposedly is healthy again.

“She’s running really well right now,” Dason noted. “She wants to have success. Her and Chanli are working really well together.”

Additional returnees on this deep squad include sophomore Erin Buckallew and seniors Meghan Collins and Megan Howes, who are all trying to crack the top seven.

New to the team is talented freshman Lindsay Welker, who went to St. Patrick’s for middle school last year and is the sister of former North athlete Rachel Welker.

“Lindsay will be in our top five, no doubt,” Dason predicted, adding that freshmen Zoe Kidwell (Woodrow Wilson) and Anna Nagy (Otter Creek) will add depth to the mix.

The Patriots will debut Saturday in the Franklin Invite.

n Terre Haute South — After watching his Braves end up third in the Bloomington North Early Bird Meet last Saturday, coach Ed Jarvis was pleased that a few runners he didn’t expect to be part of his top seven did finish there.

That showed depth, which he hopes will continue throughout the season.

“I think there’s people actually look at us this year,” Jarvis mentioned. “They know we’ve got most of our team coming back. It’s going to be nerve-racking, but I think it’s going to be a blast.”

Leading South again is junior Nikki Thiede, who placed second Saturday, 4.1 seconds behind winner Kate Raphael of Bloomington North.

“She had a great summer,” Jarvis noted. “She went to two really good camps and she’s starting to show some leadership that she’s never shown before, now that she’s a junior. The sky’s the limit for her.”

As a team, South qualified for the state finals in each of the past two seasons. Jarvis hopes to make it three in a row with the help of Thiede, junior Katie Schmidt, senior Rachel Stephens, junior Nicole Howe, junior Sami Holmes and sophomore Natalie Shanks, all returnees, plus freshmen Kerstin Peterson (Honey Creek), Aydee Dalina (St. Patrick’s) and Katie Barton (Honey Creek).

The Braves’ next meet will be the Purdue Invitiational on Saturday.

n West Vigo — Beginning his 27th season as coach (third season in his most recent stint since coming back in 2010), Steve DeGroote will rely on senior returnee Acetha Tolerson to help the Vikings try to return to the regional.

“She was one of our top runners last year and she’s even better this year,” he said. “She’s also taken on the leadership role since Sarah Hudson graduated.”

Also threatening to make noise in the Vikings’ top three are juniors Shaelynn White (All-Western Indiana Conference as a freshman two years ago) and Taylor Bunch.

DeGroote named juniors Katie Jones and Delanee Hurst (new to the team), sophomore Shelby Sparks (new to the team) and freshman Shelby Sparks as other potential contributors.

“We’re going to be much better than last year,” the veteran coach insisted. “Our conference is tougher than nails in cross country. Last year, we were [WIC] runner-up. Brown County is a perennial powerhouse … but I’d like to think we can shoot for the gold this year.”

West Vigo’s first meet will be today at home against Sullivan.

Vigo County/Northview cross country schedules

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High School
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