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Byrne defends turf at NH Invitational; South’s Pease 4th

The first elite cross country meet of the season in Southern Indiana went off Thursday afternoon in Ramsey with only the smallest of hitches ‘ after the girls’ races were completed, a slow, steady drizzle muddied things up for the start of the boys events.
The precipitation wasn’t enough to dampen the spirits of the runners, however, who were ready for their first litmus test of the year.
‘Today was kind of a day to test the waters and see where we stand against teams we’ll probably see in our regional. It’s to see where I’m at and where I need to be for sectional, too’ South Central junior Sarah Pease said.
More than 30 schools took part in the event, with Jasper’s girls and Floyd Central’s boys taking team honors. North Harrison senior standout Ryan Byrne cruised to a victory in 16:37 while Eastern’s Angie Sells was the girls champion.
Southridge’s Casey Klem took an early lead, but Sells broke out of the throng of runners to take the top spot at the mile marker. Pease was running second at that point, followed by Klem in third.
Sells extended her lead in the final 800 meters to win in 15:53. Jasper’s Maria Grameispacher was second, seven seconds back. Klem wound up third, Pease was fourth and Whitney Hamilton of Southwestern (Hanover) was fifth.
‘I just wanted to see how close I could get to the front. I just want to gradually get closer and closer and hopefully by sectional I can get over the hump,’ Pease said.
‘She’s 40 seconds faster this year than last year and about 10 places better, so we’re really happy,’ said Pease’s coach Greg Robinson. ‘At the two-mile mark, she was staring right at the front. It’s an almost semi-state type of thing. Outside of the Bloomington schools not being here, I think it says she’s got a good shot at doing exactly what she did last year.
Locally, Elizabeth Burks of Corydon was 18th (17:01), Crawford County’s Sara Rothrock was 19th (17:02) and North Harrison’s Amanda Wolsiefer was 26th in 17:23. Heather Schaefer was the top Lady Eagle runner in 98th place in 20:30.
Crawford County was fourth in the team standings, followed by Corydon in ninth, North in 11th and South in 17th.
‘I was a little disappointed with the girls,’ said Lady Cat coach Monty Schneider. ‘We were one out of the ribbons. They ran fairly consistent to where they were running. Jackie Sauerheber was sick today. The girls, in this area, are a lot stronger than the boys.’
In the boys race, Byrne and Eric Schulz of New Albany worked their way through the rain to head a huge pack of runners. Byrne led for most of the race and pulled away to win by six seconds over Schulz in 16:37.
Mitchell’s Ryan Chastain was third in 16:48.
‘Much faster,’ Byrne said of the comparison to last week’s Little Five at Paoli. ‘There were a lot more people here that were a lot better and better terrain to run on. The rain made it a little bit cooler. I pushed myself a little bit stronger out there without worrying about heat stroke.’
‘Ryan ran a tremendous race,’ Schneider said. ‘This was an important meet for him today, and it was an important meet for us. He wanted to go out and win his invitational. We geared our practices for this meet.’
On the local front, Corydon’s Lucas Taylor made a strong showing by placing 17th with a time of 17:57. South Central’s Brandon Eschbacher was 19th in 18:04 and Lanesville’s Chris Dodds was 21st in 18:14.
In the team standings, Crawford County finished eighth, Corydon was 11th, North Harrison was 14th, Lanesville was 17th and South was 21st.
–The Corydon Central Invitational cross country meet will be held tomorrow (Thursday) at 6 p.m. at Hayswood Park.
All four high schools from Harrison County will take part in the event.
Some information by Wade Bell, The Clarion News