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Byrne, Pease and SC boys all tops at CC Invite

Byrne, Pease and SC boys all tops at CC Invite
Byrne, Pease and SC boys all tops at CC Invite
South Central junior Sarah Pease, right, leads Jessica Fenn of Tell City, Elizabeth Burks of Corydon and a slew of other runners at the start of last Thursday's Corydon Central Invitational meet at Hayswood Nature Reserve. (Photo by Alan Stewart)

There weren’t many surprises at last Thursday’s Corydon Central Invitational at beautiful Hayswood Nature Reserve as North Harrison’s Ryan Byrne and South Central’s Sarah Pease won their respective events in dominating fashion.
In the team standings, South Central’s boys brought home top honors while Tell City’s girls were also crowned champions. The overall trophy for combined scores went to the host school, which had both of its teams finish runner-up on the afternoon.
The girls race saw Pease and Tell City’s Jessica Fenn burst out to an early lead, followed by a large pack that included a gaggle of Tell City runners, Elizabeth Burks and Alaine Burch of Corydon and Amanda Wolsiefer of North Harrison. By the mile mark, it was Pease and Fenn side by side. A mile later, Pease was all alone.
She held the massive lead to the end, winning in a relatively slow time (by her own admission) of 17:19.
Pease was runner up in last year’s race, with a much quicker time of 16:46.
‘I don’t know what it was,’ Pease said after this season’s effort. ‘I don’t know if it’s because I was so far ahead or if it was the heat or what. When they said the time when I crossed the line, I couldn’t believe it was that slow.
‘Sometimes I’ll have a race where I don’t think I’m going that fast and it’s a really good time. It wasn’t like that today, though.’
Joining Pease in the Top 10 were Elizabeth Burks of Corydon, Amanda Wolsiefer of North Harrison, Alaine Burch of Corydon and Morgan Carr of North Harrison.
Burks said she just wasn’t able to catch Fenn at the end.
‘Whenever we went back to the little woods back there, she was right beside me and caught up to me at the end of the meet,’ Burks said. ‘I couldn’t keep up. It was really hot, and that kind of put a dent in my time.
‘Last year, there was three of them in front of me, and this time I was able to stay behind just one, so I was pretty happy about that. For this course, I just wanted to do as well as I did last year. I did that, so I feel good about that.’
Byrne was joined by South Central’s Brandon Eschbacher, Brian Hornickel and Craig Blackman through the first mile, with Lucas Taylor of Corydon and Chris Dodds of Lanesville close behind.
Heading to the only hill on the course, Eschbacher and Byrne separated themselves a bit, with North’s star exploding over the final half of the race to win by 25 seconds over the late-closing Dodds.
‘I expected a couple of guys to run with me for the first mile or so in a meet like this,’ Byrne said. ‘Today, I just wanted to go out and take it fairly easy. I’ve got a big meet on Saturday at Brown County I’m really looking forward to. There’s going to be some competition up there I haven’t see this year. It’s a good learning experience to see where you are and how far you can push yourself.’
Dodds was the surprise of the day, eclipsing runners who had defeated him earlier in the season.
‘I just listened to what my coach said,’ Dodds said. ‘We had a different plan at the beginning of the race, and I just stuck with it and pulled it out at the end. I saw Eschbacher and I wanted to get him. I know I’m not the best sprinter, and I just wanted to stay behind and give it all I could at the very end.’
Blackman suffered an ankle injury in the season-opener at Lanesville. His eighth place ‘ along with a fourth by Eschbacher, a fifth by Hornickel and a ninth by Steven Cook ‘ were enough to snare the boys team title.
‘The times are always a little bit slower here,’ said South Central coach Greg Robinson. ‘It’s a tough course. We’re happy the way our kids competed, and I was real happy on how they ran. Hopefully, this will springboard us on. We can’t look back and say we’re done now. I think this will be a good stepping stone.’
Corydon coach Ty Guillem sees his team improving.
‘We’ve got a lot of potential right now. I think we can really move up. Our top three guys looked really good again today, and four and five were strong. If they can just keep getting better, I think we can get right up there with them,’ the Panthers skipper said.
Taylor wound up third, with Phillip Barth sixth and Chad Backherms seventh.
North’s leading male runner was Lee Haub in 10th place.
‘The other boys are coming on a little bit,’ Cougars coach Monty Schneider said. ‘Corydon got us today. We were able to get them on Tuesday (at Hardy Lake). I think we’re going to flip-flop back and forth, but I think it’s going to have to be a good day to beat them.’