TERRE HAUTE — Experience is not a problem for Terre Haute’s two teams in the IHSAA cross country championships today at LaVern Gibson Championship Course.
Terre Haute South’s boys will be making a fourth straight trip to the finals in the 1 p.m. race, while the Terre Haute North girls will compete in their 10th consecutive state finals at 1:45.
And experience at the state finals is not an inconsequential thing. Racing against the best in the entire state has been known to burn out lots of competitors, so knowing what to expect can be vital. A total of 24 teams plus 40 other individuals — including Bloomfield’s Alli Workman in the girls race — have qualified from each gender.
Both the Braves and Patriots hope to exceed expectations in their respective races.
South’s boys are hoping for a podium finish, which would mean being among the top five teams. They’ll go into the race ranked sixth.
North’s girls, currently ranked 14th, are setting their sights on beating Bloomington South, and if they can accomplish that — the Patriots were 17 points behind the Panthers at last Saturday’s semistate — they could finish in the top 10.
Bloomington South is currently ranked ninth.
The tops of the two high school cross country polls are identical, with Carmel, Columbus North and West Lafayette ranked first through third on both lists.
Coach Mike Dason of the North girls expects Carmel to dominate girls competition, even though Columbus North was impressive against the semistate field, while coach Kyle Walsh of the South boys expects a two-team battle for first place.
“After Columbus North and Carmel,” Walsh said, “there are eight or nine teams going for the last three podium spots. There will be some very good teams that finish outside the top five.”
The Braves were just 16 points behind fourth-ranked Bloomington South at the semistate and Walsh is hopeful his team — which may still be reaching its peak — can make up some if not all of that difference.