TERRE HAUTE —
The Terre Haute Savings Bank Invitational cross country meet has run under different monikers over the years. It was once called the Terre Haute North Invitational, but officially or unofficially, the all-day event at LaVern Gibson Championship Course has been known as the state preview meet with a field of state championship contenders in the field.
So based on Saturday’s performance, the Terre Haute North girls should be contenders when the IHSAA State Championship returns to LaVern Gibson on Nov. 2.
Led by Jessi Conley, North had five girls in the top 20 positions and seven in the top 25 to win the 17-team meet 65-94 over second place Center Grove. Terre Haute South finished sixth with 180 points.
Seymour’s Zoey Johnson ran away from the field to win in 19 minutes, 7.5 seconds.
North’s Conley finished ninth in 20:25.8, followed by Devon Zeck in 10th in 20:25.8.
“I was hoping to get a minute faster. But it’s a tough course and it kind of got hot. It’s OK,” Conley said.
North’s Laura Johnson came in 12th in 20:29, Lindsay Welker 14th in 20:36.5 and Hannah Bunch completed North’s scoring in 20th position with a 20:56.0.
“The girls who ran that race had great times. We had our pack what we’re trying to focus on … I’ve very happy with that. We had two freshmen in the top seven; I’m very pleased with how well they’re doing,” North coach Mike Dason beamed.
Katie Schmidt paced South in 23rd position in 21:02.4. Nikki Thiede finished 35th in 21:47.7, followed by Sami Holmes in 36th place at 21:48.4. Nicole Howe came in 48th in 22:15.2 and Kirsten Peterson came was 52nd in 22:31.8.
“As far as individual [times], everybody was better than [in the Early Bird] two weeks ago, but still not where I think we could be,” South coach Ed Jarvis said.
Carmel dominated the boys meet 36-86 over second-place Valparaiso. South finished sixth in 181 points and North finished 10th with 324.
South boys’ coach Kyle Walsh was happy. The Braves finished sixth with an ace in the hole.
“The five teams that beat us today are all ranked pretty high in the state and we beat some really good teams without our No. 1 runner, so looking through [the times] I’m really happy with how we performed by the numbers,” he said.
Brebeuf’s Zack Snider won the meet in 15:50.8, just three seconds off his 16th-place time last year in the IHSAA state championship meet.
South was without Jackson Bertoli, who finished fourth in the state meet last year, due to a nagging Achilles tendon injury.
“We haven’t run a team race yet with everybody,” South’s Riley Stohler said.
Stohler and Spencer Danielson picked up the pace for South. Stohler ran a personal record of 16:27.4 for ninth place and Danielson, coming off an injury, took 20th in 16:47.7.
“The plan was to out with the Carmel guys and stick behind them and hand on as long as I can, that’s what I did,” Stohler said.
“That’s a huge step forward for [Stohler] to run with that next-level athlete,” Walsh said.
Jayce Farnsworth finished 56th in 17:39.2, Jack Harbaugh was 59th in 17:44.5 and Levi Elrod was 62nd in 17.47.4 to complete South’s scoring.
“Spencer Danielson came out of nowhere today. We were not expecting him to run that fast. Having a freshman run No. 3 in Jayce Farnsworth, he’s tough. He ran faster this week than he did two weeks on this course,” Walsh said.
North boys’ coach Tom Dever was looking at more than times. Peter Davis finished 32nd in 17:03.8, then the Patriots dropped off. Caleb Paauwe was the second runner at 64th place in 17:49.3. Chase Creagy finished 79th in 18:05.3, Dru Keith was 87th in 18:16.7 and Nana Dadzie completed the scoring at 103rd in 18:32.8.
“I think the biggest thing we’ve got to work on in the coming weeks is competing better, trying to run people down, knowing where we’re at in the race. I think that’s something we’ll work on in the coming week. Learning how to compete a little bit better is our biggest challenge at this point in time,” Dever said.
West Vigo opted to run in the Class A-3A race and it worked well for the Vikings. Indianapolis Ritter beat Shakamak 25-73 in the boys race and West Vigo finished third, just four points back with 77.
Ritter’s Jona Odell won the race in 16:48.1. Shakamak was led by Luke Sweet’s sixth-place run in 17:59.4, followed by Eric Johnson in 13th, Billy Creech 19th, Gavin Padgett 20th and Clay Reynolds 24th.
West Vigo’s Jonah Eckert finished fourth in 17:38.4 while leading the Vikings’ effort. Brian Becker was 16th and Blake Benefiel came in 18th. Tyson Tolerson finished 22nd and Brady Page, a freshman, finished 25th to complete the Vikings’ scoring.
West Vigo coach Bill Petscher said it was the first time this season all the Vikings have run together.
“Everybody, individually and as a team, we had significant improvement. I was definitely pleased with what I saw. I know we still have room for improvement and we will continue to improve throughout the rest of the year,” Petscher said.
Park Tudor’s girls won the Class A-3A meet 38-57 over Vincennes Lincoln. Park Tudor’s Jessica Palmer won the race in 21:52.3.