News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Sports

August 25, 2013

Bertoli plays waiting game to win Early Bird Cross Country Meet

TERRE HAUTE — The early reviews on the Early Bird Cross Country Meet are simple: It’s early. For most teams and individuals, the Saturday morning meet at the LaVern Gibson Championship Course is a measuring stick to gauge where they stand.

So the 15 boys teams and 15 girls teams know they are chasing Terre Haute South’s Jackson Bertoli, Bloomington North’s Kate Raphael and the two Bloomington South teams between now and the Nov. 2 state championship meet on the same course.

Bertoli pulled away from Bloomington South’s Kyle Burks in the final mile to win in 15 minutes and 54.2 seconds. Burke took second in 16:01.9.

“There is always that anxiety after the summer, where you’re not really sure what kind of fitness the guys are in. So it’s exciting to get out with some of the top guys in the state and see where they were. This is definitely not going to be either of our best races,” Bertoli said.

Bertoli, who finished fourth in the state championship meet last October, took command going up the last, long hill on the course.

“I didn’t want to control the lead. I didn’t want to control the pace until later in the race. When I saw the guys go out I knew [Burks] wanted to lead it the whole way because I’ve seen him race before. So I remained calm, did a body check, making sure legs are fine, breathing is fine, head’s in the right place [and] just focused in on the back of that jersey. Then when it was time to go I put it in third [gear] and it paid off for me,” Bertoli said.

Bertoli, Riley Stohler in ninth place (17:02) and Jack Harbaugh in 16th at 17:29.2 led South’s effort.

“My top three runners today were all seniors and that’s what we expect. That’s senior leadership. They got in there and battled. You can tell its early season, we faded a little bit at the end. But overall I’m happy with the top three performers,” South coach Kyle Walsh said.

However, Bloomington South placed eight runners in the top 20 and that concerns Walsh. South is still running without the injured Spencer Danielson.

“Overall we’re not quite where I would have liked to have seen us. When [Bloomington South] puts 10 guys in front of your varsity guys you know you got work today,” Walsh said.

Northview’s Nic Yocom came through with a strong run to sixth place in 16:58.

“I was trying to run as hard as I could because I wanted a good time,” Yocom said.

Northview, Edgewood and Brown County were sizing up each other for the Western Indiana Conference season. Edgewood took fourth place with 179 points, Northview fifth with 182 and Brown County 10th with 257.

The girls meet was a runaway in every way. Bloomington North’s Raphael pulled away from here cross town rival Alex Warzyniak to win in 19:38.4. But Bloomington South had five runners in the top 20 (a sixth at No. 21) for a 37-78 win over the Northside rival.

Terre Haute South finished a distant third with 82 points, led by Katie Schmidt in seventh place at 21:20.

“I was happy with my placing, but in terms of time, it wasn’t as good as I wanted. But it’s the beginning of the season though, so I have plenty of time to get where I need to be,” Schmidt said.

South’s Nikki Thiede took 15th place (22:16.6), Sami Holmes 16th (22:18.7), Katie Barton 20th (22:34.9) and Kirsten Peterson rounded out the top five in 24th place (22.45).

“It’s not what we wanted, but we’re going to get better,” South coach Ed Jarvis said.

Northview’s Ashley Kidwell ran through an untied shoe to finish fifth with a personal record of 21:08.2. The Knights finished seventh as a team with 217 points.

“I was ready to deal with that,” Kidwell said of the untied laces.

Northview girls coach Rexanne Laue summed up the thoughts of every coach and most runners from the meet.

“To me this is the starting point to see where you need to improve, what you need to do to get to the finish,” Laue said.

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