News From Terre Haute, Indiana

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October 5, 2013

Yocum takes first while leading Northview to WIC cross country title

NASHVILLE, IND. — From the very start of the season, Chad Smith believed Northview, with seniors Nic Yocum, Ian Heffner and Travis Beil, could win the Western Indiana Conference cross country championship.

Injuries threatened to trip up the Knights. Then Lou Gehrig’s disease sidelined coach Smith early in the season. But Saturday morning, the Knights achieved their goal at Brown County High School.

Led by Yocum’s championship run and all-conference performances from Cam Trout, Heffner and Beil, Northview topped Edgewood 44-54 to win the title.

“Every meet before we ran we broke it down to ‘Smithstrong’ and we just tried to run this season for [coach] Smith. His goal this entire time was for us to win conference, so we did it for him,” Heffner said after the Knights received the championship plaque.

The Knights took the pressure off interim coach Chad Evans, who stepped in for Smith.

“Even today I was telling parents, I wish Chad was here. [With] him coaching I know they would win. With me coaching I begin to wonder,” Evans said as friends and family stopped to congratulate him.

West Vigo, led by Jonah Eckert’s fourth-place run, finished a strong third with 68 points.

“Ideally I was hoping first or second. I’m not surprised that it’s third. We had a really tough competition today. I think everybody ran well, but once the chips fell where they may, it ends up a close third. I’m still pleased with [our runners’] effort. They did a good job,” West Vigo coach Bill Petscher said.

Brown County packed five runners into the top nine places to easily win the girls’ race, 30-61 over Edgewood. Northview, led by Ashley Kidwell’s second-place performance, finished third with 68 points.

Northview’s Yocum won the boys’ race for the second year in a row. He pulled away from Edgewood’s Michael Gossett early in the race and toured the wet, and in some places slippery, course in 16 minutes and 41.01 seconds.

“I was all right with that time because after the first mile everybody kind of separated out. Between me and [Gossett of Edgewood], I don’t know exactly how far it was, but I didn’t feel like it was anywhere that there was going to be a race [to the finish line]. So, I guess I probably let up a little bit,” Yocum said.

Four Northview runners finished in the top 15 to earn all-conference honors. Sophomore Cam Trout finished third, Heffner fifth and Beil 15th. Chris Herron rounded out Northview’s scoring in 20th place.

“Ian [Heffner] stepped up big, another senior. My sophomore Cam Trout stepped up and came in well,” Evans said.

Eckert took fourth in 17:24.57 and was joined on the all-conference team by teammate Brian Becker, a freshman, in sixth place at 17:41.97.

“I wasn’t totally happy with my time [of 17:24.57] overall, but I am very happy I got all-conference. I kept a steady pace overall. I didn’t slow down that much. I was very happy with how I performed,” Eckert said.

One day after a successful West Vigo tennis season, Blake Benefiel finished 17th and Tyson Tolerson 18th. Austin Romanelly, a freshman, rounded out the Vikings’ scoring in 23rd place.

South Vermillion’s Tristan Spivey earned all-conference honors in 11th place at 18:07.28.

Edgewood sophomore Hannah Spears ran away with the girls’ race in 19:53.58. Spears’ pace forced Northview’s Kidwell to make an early decision.

“I was going to see how [Spears] went out. She went out really fast. I was just going to run my own race and get second,” Kidwell said of the 21:05.10 time.

Kidwell and Owen Valley’s Cheyenn Wright battled for second and third most of the race. But over the final mile, Wright fell off the pace and finished fifth.

From out of the fog that enveloped the wooded course, Brown County’s pack — third, fourth, sixth, eighth and ninth — emerged over the last mile of the race.

Kidwell was joined by Northview teammates Kourtney Johnson (10th) and Ashley Arnold (13th) on the All-WIC team.

South Vermillion’s Shai Hollifield took 15th place to earn all-conference honors ion 23:29.67.

West Vigo’s first runner was Shelby Sparks in 16th place in 23:30.71.

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