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Isidore’s fury matched only by NH, Tell City

Tropical Storm Isidore brought a first to the Paoli Invitational cross country meet last Thursday afternoon: buckets and buckets of rain turned the course into a true off-road mud circuit. The North Harrison Cougars and Tell City Lady Marksmen handled it best to take the team wins in their respective races.
“This is the first time this has ever happened in 29 years,” said Paoli meet director Darrell Newkirk, who was already soaked to the bone.
For some, the rain was more welcome than the hot and warm conditions the meet has seen in the past. For others, however, they wished Isadore had gone a different direction.
“This is horrendous,” said Colleen Merk of Corydon. “I feel like a wet dog.”
There was no letup in the rain for either the girls or boys races. In the girls event, Sara Pease of South Central and Crawford County’s Sara Rothrock battled early on. It was the same at the first half mile but Clarksville runner Ashley Moore was on the move and charging.
Moore moved ahead of Rothrock on the first big hill, then charged by Pease with all three runners more than 30 meters ahead of the field. Rothrock later took over second on a downhill burst and continued to push toward Moore.
With one lap remaining Tell City had four runners in the top 15 and Crawford County had three runners in the top 20. Moore went on to easily win in an excellent time of 15:57 while Rothrock was second at 16:04. Pease finished third eleven seconds later at 16:15.
“Tough,” said Rothrock of the race. “We thought we had the advantage because we had come out here and practiced but we didn’t. It was awful. It weighed your shoes down when they got wet. You had to watch it around the corners and watch your footing when you came down hills.”
South Central coach Greg Robinson said the conditions bothered Pease more than some of the other runners.
“I think she had a little trouble with her footing,” Robinson said. “The shoes she had on may have had a little bit to do with that. I thought she ran well. The other two girls looked really strong and you can’t take anything away from them. She has been real consistent so I hope I’ve got her on the right track.”
North Harrison freshman Jackie Sauerheber was the Lady Cat’s number one, finishing 10th. Morgan Carr was 25th and Amanda Hecker finished 29th.
“Paoli has always been my favorite course,” Sauerhuber said. “It always comes good to me. It was my first best place in the fifth grade and it’s been my favorite since.”
“I think she’s a mudder,” said coach Monty Schneider of Sauerhuber. “If she was a horse she’d like a slow track. She was just behind the pack that had the number 10, a bunch of Tell City runners. I said if you can get to the front of that pack you can get 10th. When I heard she got 10th, that was just fantastic.”
Isadore also forced a change in the boys race shortening the course by more than a minute in time. With trees and a big downhill run to contend with, it was decided to keep the race safer and on the outside of the trees.
“There were real tough conditions,” Schneider said. “I think (meet director) Darrell Newkirk made the right choice because some people could have gotten hurt. I don’t know how they would have got them out of there if they had got hurt.”
Forest Park got four runners out in front early in the boys race with Matt Atkins taking the lead position. North Harrison’s Ryan Byrne and Scott Robertson moved quickly to get up front with Atkins by the half-mile marker.
On the first downhill Byrne stretched his stride and took the front spot with Robertson doing the same. At a mile Byrne was leading handily with Robertson just a few steps behind. The Cougars also had Andrew Wolsiefer in seventh and Kyle Beckman at eighth. Crawford County’s Dustin Lindsay, Brent Rothrock and Kenny Hunt were also in the top 20.
With one lap remaining it was still Byrne and Robertson. Lanesville’s Brandon Zoll had moved up to fifth while Corydon’s Sean Kravitz dropped to eighth. North Harrison’s Wolsiefer fell to 11th and Kyle Beckman was 14th. Crawford’s Dustin Lindsay maintained his 15th position. Byrne pulled out the stops on the last half mile and went on to easily win with Robertson coasting to second.
Byrne said long spikes and taking the turns wide made the difference in his run. Both he and Robertson said they liked running in the rain.
“It was pretty muddy on the corners so you had to take them wide,” Byrne said. “I didn’t want to slip and fall. I stuck in some extra long spikes this time so I wouldn’t slip. The spikes made a difference on the turns. They dug into the ground a lot deeper and I didn’t slip as much.”
“Ryan ran very well today but I was tickled with Scott’s run because he dropped off a hair the last race even though he won the junior-senior race at Crawford,” Schneider said. “Ryan is convinced he can run with anybody now. He just took off and went. The guys handled the corners real well.
“The supporting cast really did well. Andrew Wolsiefer ran third for us. He’s still coming off that injury but he had a very strong race today. Beckman ran well and Jordan Waiz ran well. Daniel Love came in at number six for us. Fisher was seventh. All the kids did well.”
South Central’s Lyndal Woosley finished 23rd for the Rebels. Woosley said he found out what the mud was like literally.
“It was slippery, real slippery,” Woosley said. “The first corner by the woods I fell on that one and another one I slipped. So I went out there real wide but it didn’t really help. You still slipped and slid.”
“A couple of other kids took some tumbles,” said Rebel coach Robinson, whose team finished third overall. “We had 18 (Jared Wilkerson), 19 (Brandon Escenbacher), 23 (Woosley), 32, and 39 so I wasn’t unhappy. We could have ran better but given the conditions we went out and competed.
“I told them before the race they needed to take the turns wide and a couple of them chose not to. That hurt them a little bit but all in all it was a good effort.”

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