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Flock of Lanesville harriers gave county first title 30 years ago

Flock of Lanesville harriers gave county first title 30 years ago
Flock of Lanesville harriers gave county first title 30 years ago
Anyone who has walked the halls at Lanesville High School has probably seen this photograph. It's a shot of the 1972 Lanesville cross country team that won the Jasper Sectional. Front row, from left, are Mark Wernert, Larry Richmer, Kevin Albers and Chuck Himmelhaver. Back row are Rick Geswein, Coach Jerry Reinhardt, Bob Pfister and Butch Stilger.

It has been 30 years since a special group of Lanesville High School cross country runners laced up their “Beta Bullet” running shoes and won the Jasper Cross Country Sectional on Oct. 20, 1972.
This was the first sectional title in any sport that Lanesville had ever won, and still remains as one of only four in the history of the school (girls tennis in 1997; boys tennis in 1986, and baseball in 1975).
The Lanesville runners were no strangers to success in this grueling sport of endurance, mental toughness and intestinal fortitude. Over the previous three years, Lanesville had won three conference titles, three county titles, and finished third at the sectional in 1970.
“I still remember the score,” Rick Geswein said. “We had 99 points, and Boonville finished second with 105. We knew we had a good team and a good chance to win, but you never knew until the final tallies are all turned in and posted.
“Once we heard Boonville finished second with the 105 score, we knew we had won,” recalled Geswein.
The Jasper cross country sectional was always run a municipal golf course with gently rolling hills along its 2.5-mile layout. During the final practice week before the sectional, the unique course is what the team prepared for.
To Lanesville’s surprise, when the boys arrived in Jasper, the meet had been moved to a different course, a course with some monster hills.
This probably played right into Lanesville’s hands anyway, because their practices all year long were on huge hills in Lanesville (Ball Diamond Hill, Bachman Hill, Beil Hill and Schickel Hill).
Numerous times the team ran the “block,” an 8-mile run through Franklin Township. It’s much the same course the rugged Lanesville Heritage Weekend 8-Mile course covers.
The sectional title was Harrison County’s first ever and was won by the school with the smallest enrollment of the 23 teams competing.
Larry Richmer led the team in fourth place while Geswein, who fell during the race, finished eighth.
“I passed a runner going up a hill, fell down going down a hill, and lost my race number. I got back up and passed that runner back,” Geswein said. “Coach Reinhardt recovered my race number, which you had to have to tabulate your score.”
Rounding out the scoring runners were Butch Stilger in 25th, Kevin Albers 27th, and Bob Pfister 35th.
In the Oct. 25, 1972 edition of The Corydon Democrat, head coach Jerry Reinhardt said Albers had suffered an ankle injury a week before the big meet, and “was not at his best, though you could hardly tell it from the effort he gave.”
Also from that story: “A bus load of Lanesville fans accompanied the team to the meet and the team was ridden triumphantly home to a celebration in the gymnasium on the fire truck.”
All the team members still live in the area. Coach Reinhardt (now retired, and president of the Harrison County YMCA), Geswein, Chuck Himmelhaver, Wernert, and Pfister all live near Lanesville. Stilger and Albers live in the Corydon area, and Larry Richmer lives near Sellersburg.
Runners from the team are still involved with LHS: Himmelhaver is the 6th grade basketball coach and serves on the Lanesville school board with Wernert. Geswein is the boys freshman basketball coach and secretary of the Lanesville High School Building Corporation. Richmer is athletic director at Silver Creek High School.