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Byrne, Burks dominate at Little 5

Crawford County swept its first cross country meet of the season Thursday in the Little Five at the Paoli course. Corydon’s Elizabeth Burks and North Harrison’s Ryan Byrne took individual honors.
In the girls’ race, Burks and North Harrison’s Morgan Carr grabbed the front two positions early, with Carr leading at the half-mile mark.
Crawford’s Sarah Rothrock later moved into second, with Burks third. Rothrock began closing the gap on Carr on the first run up Paoli’s cemetery hill, and Rothrock took the lead at about the mile mark.
Burks began to move on Carr, with Crawford freshman Lauran Schaftlein also closing for the fourth position, with North Harrison’s Amanda Wolseifer fifth. Rothrock ran to a 30-meter advantage before Burks began to close the difference. Schaftlein passed Carr for third and Wolseifer also moved up to fourth.
Burks took the lead with one circuit left and began to pull away, eventually gaining a 30-meter lead over Rothrock. Schaftlein also gained some ground on her teammate, while Wolseifer stayed in fourth.
Burks went on to win in a time of 17:18, with Rothrock 15 seconds behind her. Schaftlein finished third, with Wolseifer fourth. Corydon’s Alaine Burch rounded out the top five.
‘I didn’t want to start out real fast, because I’d be afraid I’d lose her (Rothrock) in the end,’ Burks said. ‘I tried to keep a pace with her. It just felt right, so I just went for it.’
Burks said she ran nearly 300 miles during the summer and had a good race in the team’s first meet at North Posey.
‘Mr. Conrad keeps us going. That’s for sure.’
‘She ran a lot this summer, and I let her go out and run her race,’ said Corydon coach Jerry Conrad. ‘She really didn’t know the course. She just went out and ran. Then, after I told her to run the same lap again, she took off.’
‘She worried about (the course) all day. She told me it was slick and raining too hard. She loves to run, but she’s afraid she’ll get lost or something on the course. She likes the bigger races because she can blend in.’
Conrad said the entire team had a good meet.
‘I had a little freshman girl run well today, C.J. Reed,’ Conrad said. ‘We have Alaine Burch back from last year, and my two sophomores are back from last year. We didn’t run a bad race. I was really pleased. We don’t have very many girls, so we’ve got to get everybody up there.’
North Harrison’s girls, with 50 points, finished third as a team. Lady Cat coach Monty Schneider said his squad is steadily improving and looking to reach the regional later in the season.
‘We’re much improved in the girls,’ Schneider said. ‘We’ve got everybody back, and everybody is considerably better. Corydon and Crawford County have got two real good girls. It’s going to be tough for us to compete with them next door. I still think we can get out of the sectional and into the regional. We’ll have to get by New Albany and Floyd Central.
‘Amanda (Wolseifer) looked better. Morgan Carr probably went out just a little too fast. She probably didn’t get enough water in her the last three or four days. She just completely shut down with three-quarters of a mile to go. She’ll be a strong number two for us. We’ve got some girls who are going to get the job done for us. I’m optimistic.’
North Harrison’s Ryan Byrne found himself with some competition up front in the boys’ race, as Crawford County’s Chris Humphrey led through most of the first half-mile. Byrne finally passed Humphrey and then quickly pulled away from the entire field. Crawford’s Dustin Lindsay also moved by Humphrey, who began to fall back.
On the first trip up the hill, Byrne’s lead was 75 meters. On the course’s second circuit, Byrne expanded his advantage to nearly 200 meters, as he entered the wooded part of the course.
Byrne was all alone as he came down stretch, going on to win by more than a minute over Lindsay. Corydon’s Lucas Taylor moved up to finish third, while Crawford’s R.T. Elliot finished fourth. Scottsburg’s Dustin Cross rounded out the top five.
‘I took this a little easier than the rest of them I hope to do this year,’ said Byrne, who looked like he was ready to run again. ‘I’ve got a big meet on Saturday (at Columbus East), and I’m hoping to do well in that one. I also didn’t want to hurt myself on the first meet.’
Byrne’s winning time was 18 minutes, 29 seconds.
‘The main thing is, we just wanted Ryan to get out of the race healthy,’ said Schneider. ‘We’ve been taking it fairly easy on him. He’s got some soreness in one of his legs. We don’t believe it’s a stress fracture but some form of old shin splint or tendonitis. We’ll baby him for a while. He came along late in track and did well there. The main thing now is just to keep him healthy, because he’s going to be there at the end.’
Crawford handily won as a team, with a 26-point margin over Corydon. North Harrison finished third in the team standings.
Former Perry Central standout Ty Guillem is coaching the Corydon boys’ team this season and said he was pleased with how his runners performed.
‘It’s a little bit different,’ Guillem said of being a coach instead of a runner. ‘This brings a whole lot of memories, because I ran here a lot of times. I don’t get to run with them, but I get to cheer them on and see how they do. I hope they perform, and so far, I’ve been pretty happy at how they do.’
‘I’m happy with their packing,’ said Guillem, who had three runners in the top 10. ‘We had Lucas Taylor, Chad Backherms and Philip Barth. They all ran really hard and are going to get better as the year goes on.
‘This is a tough course with the heat. I expected the team to be right where they were at. I told the guys we just want to get better. We come up here in a couple of weeks for the Paoli Invitational, so we’ve got something to shoot for.’