TERRE HAUTE —
Goals vary from team to team as high school cross country runners convene Saturday morning at Bedford for the Bedford North Lawrence Regional.
Both the boys and girls teams from Terre Haute North and Terre Haute South are expected to be among the five advancing to the semistate at Brown County the following Saturday. Both teams from Bloomington South and the boys team from the host school are also in that category.
But if those teams have the luxury of looking ahead — North’s boys might be the only tentative group among those seven — the stakes are higher Saturday for both teams from Northview, for the girls from Sullivan and West Vigo and for the boys from Clay City and Shakamak.
Favorites, according to the state rankings, are the seventh-ranked North girls and the eighth-ranked Bloomington South boys. Bloomington South’s girls are ranked 17th, while the boys race includes top-25 teams in Terre Haute South (14th) and Bedford North Lawrence (23rd).
Because of changes in the team alignments, both Bloomington South and Bedford North Lawrence are defending champions on the boys side, and South’s Braves would like to dethrone both of them.
“A regional championship [South’s first in boys competition since 1986] would be pretty cool,” coach Kyle Walsh admitted this week, “but this is just another stop on the way to our main goal — finishing in the top 10 at the state [championship meet].”
With Jackson Bertoli probably the individual favorite Saturday, the Braves enter the meet healthy and ready to go.
“The atmosphere [around the team] is completely positive,” Walsh noted. “It’s a family-like feeling.”
North’s girls, led by four-time sectional champion Chanli Mundy, will keep the same lineup they ran with at Tuesday’s sectional for the regional, meaning that standouts — to be honest, many Patriots are standouts — Mallory Sanders and Katie Loebker will be resting injuries for at least another meet.
“Everybody is running very well right now,” coach Mike Dason said. “Semistate is our focus, and we want to make sure we’re healthy for state … it’s nice that we’re deep enough to be able to [rest two regulars without worrying].”
Nikki Thiede, team leader for South’s girls, still isn’t completely healthy but the rest of the Braves — led by Katie Schmidt and Rachel Stephens — are improving daily to keep that from being a serious problem so far.
“I was happy with our sectional performance Tuesday,” coach Ed Jarvis said this week. “Everybody was under 22 minutes, and that’s the first time we’ve ever done that at LaVern [Gibson Championship Course].”
The Braves will measure themselves this week against Bloomington North, a team they’ve finished ahead of in other meets this season, in what should be a battle for third place. The interesting battle could be for the fifth semistate qualifier; sectional results would seem to indicate that will come down to Northview, Salem or the host Stars.
Coach Tom Dever of North’s boys team is hoping there’s nothing interesting about fifth place in boys competition, where Bloomington North and his Patriots seem to be favorites to advance along with the three ranked teams.
“We have a very good opportunity [to get to Brown County],” Dever said this week. “At the sectional our whole goal was to move on, and we held two of our top runners — Peter Davis and Nathan Moshos — out. They will run on Saturday.
“The team that could be in our way is Edgewood,” Dever added, “but at the Bedford North Lawrence Invitational, on the same course, we finished ahead of them — and we didn’t run very well that day.”
Girls competition begins at 10:30 a.m., with the boys race scheduled at 11:10. Individuals running and hoping to move on with a top-15 finish include Savannah Turner of Shakamak, Kelsey Wright of Clay City, Bailey Hayes of Rockville and Alli Workman of Bloomfield in the girls race and Dean Danner of North Central, Janzen Franklin of Linton, Parker Ramsey of Bloomfield and Ethan Sparks of Owen Valley in the boys meet.
IHSAA cross country regionals
When: Saturday; girls at 10:30 a.m. and boys at 11:10.
Where: At Bedford North Lawrence.
Teams: Bedford North Lawrence, Bloomington North, Bloomington South, Edgewood, Northview, Salem, Sullivan, Terre Haute North, Terre Haute South, West Vigo (girls); Bedford North Lawrence, Bloomington North, Bloomington South, Clay City, Edgewood, Northview, Salem, Shakamak, T.H. North, T.H. South (boys).
Individuals: Bailey Hayes, Rockville; Hannah Resler, Eastern Greene; Sierra Smetzer, Paoli; Savannah Turner, Shakamak; Alli Workman, Bloomfield; Kelsey Wright, Clay City; Dean Danner, North Central; Janzen Franklin, Linton; Khalil McDaniel, Eastern (Pekin); Parker Ramsey, Bloomfield; Ethan Sparks, Owen Valley.
Advancement: Top five teams and top 15 individuals qualify for Brown County Semistate on Oct. 20.