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Cougs, Jasper earn NH Invitational titles

The North Harrison boys and Jasper girls took home top honors in the North Harrison Invitational cross country meet Thursday afternoon, with clear skies and low humidity making for the best conditions the meet has seen in several years.
Silver Creek’s Kelsy Page was the favorite for the girls’ race and immediately took the lead at the start. New Albany’s Sarah Bielski, the defending champion, moved into second, and teammate Lindsay Overton was third. North Harrison’s Amanda Wolseifer also worked to the front pack, as did most of the Crawford County runners.
At just over a mile, Page had increased her lead to about 30 meters, with Eastern’s Kristy Vest in second. Bielski, who talked of continuing leg problems before the race, had dropped back, but her teammate, Overton, moved into fourth. At halfway, Page’s lead had become 10 seconds. Overton moved to third with less than a mile to go. Page went on to lead by 38 seconds with a quarter mile to go and posted a winning time of 15 minutes, 24 seconds. Vest finished second while Silver Creek’s Brittany Book passed Overton for the third spot.
South Central’s Sarah Pease cracked the top-15, finishing 14th. Pease, however, was unhappy about that result, saying she should have been closer to the front.
‘I was seventh last year, and I was trying to do better than that,’ Pease said. ‘We haven’t done a lot of speed work, and coach said that was one of my problems. Coach said once we do more speed work, I’ll be all right. It was kind of frustrating, because I had hoped to do better. My time tonight was better than what I had last year, so I guess it’s not bad.’
Pease, who is setting her sights on the state meet as a goal, said more work during the summer would have also helped.
‘I probably didn’t run as much as I probably should have,’ she said. ‘I didn’t run a lot in gym, because we did basketball. I put in more than I did last year. Last year, I didn’t before the season. I did more than I did last year but not as much as I should have.’
North Harrison freshman Amanda Wolseifer made the top-20, finishing 17th. Wolseifer said her first big race was a little nerve-wracking.
‘It was all right,’ she said. ‘It was the first time I’ve worn my spikes, so I had a little problem with those. It was a little muddy in spots, but it was a good course. I was nervous. I just tried to go out fast and stay with the top people. It was pretty hard at the start.’
‘Amanda Wolseifer, for a freshman, she was in the top 20, and that was pretty good in a race this size,’ said North Harrison coach Monty Schneider. ‘She’s been running well, but running with 150 runners is a little different than running with 50 or 60. The competition was tough, and she had a good finish, and I think she’ll get better. The other girls are doing well. Jackie Sauheber ran better today than she had been. She was the number two runner for us.’
North Harrison finished 11th as a team. Schneider said the big surprise was Jasper, who took home team honors, with 96 points.
‘On the girls’ side, it was a very big surprise to me, because Silver Creek’s ranked and New Albany has a pretty strong squad,’ Schneider said. ‘I didn’t even know about Jasper, and they won the meet.’
Corydon coach Jerry Conrad said his girls’ team got pushed well back at the start, being in the far outside starting lane with his No. 1, Elizabeth Burks, making up a lot of ground during the last half of the race.
‘Elizabeth was around 20th,’ Conrad said of the sophomore’s finish. ‘She was 51st right before the mile marker. They got pinned in. They started well on the outside, then when they got up there, there was no room for them to get to where the mile pole was at. (Elizabeth) was way back and had to pass people the whole time. Elizabeth was 22 seconds faster and Elaine (Burks) was 40 seconds faster, so I can’t gripe. They ran it faster. The start was just very rough.’
Crawford’s number one, Sara Rothrock, finished 29th. As a team, the Lady Pack missed its goal by one, finishing sixth.
In the boys’ race, the best runners of the field were up front in the first quarter mile, and North Harrison’s Scott Robertson set the early pace, two steps ahead of New Albany’s Eric Schultz. At just over a mile, the North Harrison senior was still leading but not by much, with Schultz and Austin’s Carl Roberts in tow. Robertson’s teammate, Ryan Byrne, moved into fourth. Crawford County’s Brent Rothrock was in the top 15, with teammate Dustin Lindsay a few steps behind.
Robertson began to pull away at a mile and a half. Byrne later moved into second, with Roberts third and Schultz falling back to fourth. Rothrock slipped to 15th, and Lindsay was in 17th.
With just over a mile to go, Robertson had increased his lead to about 40 meters, with Bryne still in second. Robertson went on to win easily in a time of 16:32. Carl Roberts passed Byrne in the final hundred meters to finish second, and Eric Schultz finished fourth. North Harrison’s Andrew Wolseifer finished 12th.
‘I knew they were right behind me the whole way,’ Robertson said of Roberts and Schultz. ‘I caught them in the corner of my eye. It was too close for comfort, so I just kept on pushing. I really didn’t gain that much on them. I just tried to keep it even, because I know they’re going to be working off each other and I’ve just got myself. It’s harder in a way and easier to push yourself.’
Robertson said with a big meet he expected a challenge from somebody
‘I knew with 28 teams there would probably be someone overlooked,’ he said. ‘I didn’t know how well Ryan was going to perform. I knew there was Carl Roberts from Austin and I knew about Eric Schultz of New Albany. He’s really ran some over the summer, obviously.’
Robertson said he knew he would have to make a decision to pull away early.
‘It was ‘I better start moving before they kick at the finish,’ ‘ Robertson said. ‘I don’t have the best kick, so I have to do it over the 3.1 (miles) and not the last quarter mile. That’s what my mentality was. I had to make up the ground with about a mile to go, because once you pop over this hill, it’s pretty flat.’
‘He usually doesn’t take off right at the start,’ Schneider of Robertson. ‘At Columbus, he ran with four or five other kids, then at about the mile marker started surging. Today, he took off right at about the mile marker. He was second or third coming out of the baseball field area. He ran strong and pushes the pace in the middle part. I don’t think he’s peaked yet because he played basketball most of June.’
North Harrison took the team honors, with 92 points.
‘We were fortunate, because Floyd’s number one runner was hurt and didn’t even run,’ Schneider said. ‘The guys were pushed and stepped up. Lee Haub was off a little bit. He got a cramp and did well to finish. He gutted it out and probably won the meet for us, even though he finished much worse than he normally finishes. He was running around 50th and he’s been running around where Jordan Waiz has been running, and he was 26th. I don’t think Lee could have gotten 26th, because Jordan had a heck of a race.’
The Corydon boys’ team finished 11th overall, but coach Jerry Conrad said he wasn’t displeased with the outcome.
‘We ran a way too fast first mile, but we fought through it and didn’t quit,’ he said. ‘All of our kids were faster. I had some kids that were a minute, 30 seconds faster. We’re coming along. I just think we need to keep working on some distance. Some of them are starting to work on weekends and that’s not a Corydon tradition. I’m glad we’re starting to do that. All my boys are running like they’re wanting to do something. If you have that, you just hope it just keeps up.’