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Byrne wins at Paoli; Others fare well, too

Pekin Eastern’s Angie Sells and North Harrison’s Ryan Byrne shook away early challenges to handily run away with victories in the Paoli Invitational cross country meet, with Tell City and Mitchell taking the team championships respectively in the girls’ and boys’ divisions.
Meanwhile, Crawford County’s team had a good showing, placing second in the girls’ division and third in the boys’ division.
In the girls’ race, Sells and Sarah Pease of South Central got out front early but were closely followed by a river of red, as the Tell City runners fell in behind, with Jessica Fenn running in the third spot.
At the three-eighths-mile mark, Pease was within three steps of Sells, but the Pekin Eastern runner began to pull away near the mile mark.
Sells increased her advantage to 15 meters the first trip up the cemetery hill, with Fenn another 50 meters behind Pease. Meanwhile, Crawford County’s Lauren Schaftlein was moving up, first to seventh, then to fifth. Teammate Sara Rothrock was just behind, in eighth place.
At just over a mile, Tell City had four runners in the top 10. Fenn, however, began to fall back. Rothrock moved to seventh and Corydon’s Elizabeth Burks slid into eighth place, while Crawford’s Tabitha Humphrey and Jenna Cox were 11th and 15th, respectively. Also in the top 20 were North Harrison’s Morgan Carr, 18th, and Crawford’s Chelsea Hollis, 19th.
On the last hill climb, Fenn fell to fourth place behind Salem’s Brooke Dannison. Schaftlein also began to struggle, losing two positions.
Sells went on to win, with Pease second and Dannison third. Schaftlein lost more places to finish eighth, and Rothrock captured the final spot of the top 10.
Sells finished the 4,000 meters in 15 minutes, 12 seconds.
‘I’m hoping to break 15 (minutes),’ Sells said. ‘I did that in the semi-state last year, so I want to do that again. I’m just a few seconds off.’
Pease said she wanted to get out with Sells so she wouldn’t have to worry about being chased down later.
‘I knew I had people behind me that if I laid back and let them run with me, they would be with me the whole race,’ Pease said. ‘I knew if I got up there with (Sells), that gives me a good starting point just to go from there to see what I can do.’
The North Harrison Lady Cat team, running without number one runner Amanda Wolseifer, finished sixth in the scoring.
‘Morgan Carr and Jackie Sauerheber were 23 and 24 and in the top 25,’ said Lady Cat coach Monty Schneider.
‘Amanda (Wolseifer) is having some hip trouble. She didn’t run at Crawford or today either. She’d probably be in the top 10, so that takes a lot out of you. She’ll come back even if she’s hurt.’
When North Harrison runs a cross country meet, it’s expected that senior Ryan Byrne will be at the front by himself. That, however, was not the case this time as the Cougars’ Lee Haub got in the fray, running alongside Northeast Dubois’ Ethan Merkle, with Byrne along side.
Byrne briefly slipped to third at the half-mile mark, but quickly scrambled back to lead Merkle by two steps at the mile mark.
‘I’d like to say I sent Lee Haub out as a rabbit, but he got ahead of himself a little bit,’ Schneider said. ‘He’s ended up OK, so that’s all right.’
Mitchell’s Ryan Chastain, who held back in the first mile, went from 15th place to fifth just before the mile mark. Later, the Mitchell runner moved into the third position as Byrne began to take off, extending his lead to 10 meters. Chastain began closing on Merkle just 30 meters ahead.
Byrne’s advantage stretched to 75 meters as he moved into the woods, with Merkle still trying to catch Chastain. Byrne went on to win by a 19-second difference over Chastain, with Merkle another 10 seconds behind, at third place.
‘I think the first split was around 5:30,’ Byrne said of his first mile. ‘I usually go faster than that, but that’s pretty good. I didn’t take out as hard as those guys did, but it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.’
The mile, however, is where Byrne changed his pace.
‘I thought the mile was a good spot to make my move,’ he said. ‘I thought the pace was getting a little bit too slow, so I picked it up by myself and just saw how I could do.’
Girls’ Scores – Tell City 76, Crawford County 93, Forest Park 109, Corydon 122, NE Dubois 130, North Harrison 210, Perry Central 266, South Central 266, Salem 300, Mitchell 342, Springs Valley 372, Paoli 389, Scottsburg 414, Shoals 437, New Washington 475, Lanesville 479
Girls’ Results – 1. Angie Sells (PE) 15:12, 2. Sarah Pease (SC) 15:40, 3. Brooke Danisson (Sa) 16:04, 4. Jessica Fenn (TC) 16:15, 5. Mandy Knust (FP) 16:27, 6. Candace Bender (Bor) 16:32, 7. Elizabeth Burks (Co) 16:33, 8. Lauren Schaftlein (CC) 16:36, 9. Melinda Short (M) 16:42, 10. Sara Rothrock (CC) 16:43
Boys’ Scores – Mitchell 64, NE Dubois 81, Crawford County 130, Forest Park 135, Orleans 146, South Central 176, Perry Central 176, Tell City 222, Corydon 226, North Harrison 228, Lanesville 316, Scottsburg 327, Paoli 352, Charlestown 368, Borden 380, Henryville 426, Salem 443
Boys’ Results – 1. Ryan Byrne (NH) 17:13, 2. Ryan Chastain (M) 17:32, 3. Ethan Merkle (NED) 17:42, 4. Nick Tyree (M) 18:13, 5. Kevin Martin (M) 18:13, 6. Chris Dodd (Lnvl) 18:15, 7. Tyler Atchinson (O) 18:26, 8. Lucas Taylor (Co) 18:35, 9. Dustin Betz (NED) 18:39, 10. Brandon Eschbacher (SC) 18:43