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It’s a regional repeat for NH’s Byrne

There were both surprises and disappointments in Saturday’s Pekin Eastern cross country regional as Silver Creek and Floyd Central dominated the girls and boys team results.
There were no surprises in the individual winners as North Harrison’s Ryan Byrne and Silver Creek’s Kelsey Page took top honors.
Winds gusting into the 20’s and temperatures down in the 40’s greeted the runners proving to be a problem for some.
There was about a 20-minute delay of the boys race while officials went through video of the girls race to validate the scoring. When it did start North Harrison’s Ryan Byrne and New Albany’s Eric Schulz found themselves trailing a little more than they expected.
Byrne finally began to move up at the three-quarter mile mark with Schulz following suit.
Byrne moved into third and by the end of the first circuit was about 40 meters ahead of Schulz in first. Meanwhile, Lanesville’s Chris Dodds was having a good run, well into the top fifteen, sticking with Floyd Central trio Craig Francke, Ben Draper, and Matt Riley.
By the finish Byrne was more than a hundred meters ahead of Schulz, going on to win by a 31-second margin.
‘It’s not how you start but how you finish,’ said Byrne of his run.
‘They started out a little quicker than I expected, which is fine. I usually don’t go out and bust my butt as hard as I can. I usually leave that for the second and third miles.
‘It’s nice to get a good pace started. It was not the greatest start but I was okay with it.’
Byrne said he may have to change some tactics for Saturday’s race at Bloomington but welcomes the better competition.
‘For the semi-state I’ll have to alter that up there because there’s better runners,’ Byrne said. ‘The next meet I’m looking forward to some better competition. I’m ready for it.
‘We wanted him to be in the top four or five but not to be racing at the start,’ said Cougar coach Monte Schneider. ‘He took the lead at about three-quarters of a mile and we really didn’t think anybody but the kids from New Albany would run with us very long. (Byrne) pulled away from Schulz fairly early and ran real strong. On a windy day like this we wanted to make sure he didn’t block some of the wind for some of the runners behind him.’
Lanesville’s Chris Dodds, who made a mad dash in the final 25 meters to pass Silver Creek’s Stephen Minotti for sixth, said he used the same stratagey as from the sectional: stay with the Floyd Central runners.
‘I just tried to stay behind them as close as I could but they were running faster,’ Dodds said. ‘On the backstretch, before I got to the woods, it was going through my mind about what place I was in. When I got up here to the last hill you could see where you were at. I pushed as much as I could. Coach was telling me to lift my legs and move my arms.”
Lanesville coach Seth McKim said he was surprised to see the outcome the way it took place and was happy to see Dodds finish well.
‘It’s good to have a turnout like you think you would,’ McKim said. ‘I was a little bit surprised the Jeffersonville guys weren’t up there mixing it up with us. (Silver Creek’s Stephen) Minotti was up there and I expected that. Everybody in our sectional ran good today.’
‘This is our first trip to semi-state so that’s going to be new, uncharted territory,’ said McKim. ‘Brandon (Zoll) went three years. I always got beat here. I never made it to semi-state so it’s fun to coach that far.
‘What we want to do (at Bloomington) is showtime. Just go for it.’
Crawford County was 34 points out of a regional berth finishing sixth, while the Corydon boys team finished tenth.
Bobby Berry was the Wolfpack’s number one with a 23rd place finish with teammate Dustin Lindsay finishing 25th.
Lucas Taylor was first for the Panther team at 33rd with Chad Backherms 49th.
Other finishers had South Central’s Brandon Eschbacher finishing 30th and Craig Blackman in the 39th position.
‘We knew we’d have to have an awesome race to get out,’ said Guillaume. ‘I was just hoping to come up here and get some experience, see how it is, run hard. The times weren’t good and that got in some of their heads.
‘They’re all young and next year they”ll come up and have this underneath their belt.
‘Lucas (Taylor) was our number one. He finished 33rd for us. I know he’s kind of disappointed in that because he probably had a pretty good shot at getting out. That’s something he can fight for next year.’
The first surprises began to come in the girls race, not from Page getting out front early, but from Pekin Eastern’s Angie Sells, who found herself several places back in the first three-quarter mile, about 75 meters behind Page.
Meanwhile, South Central’s Sarah Pease had moved into second and was holding the position over Rising Sun’s Caitlin Hauerhage. With a quarter mile to go Sells had moved herself back up to fourth.
Page went on to win with Pease just fourteen seconds behind. Sells finished in the fourth spot eleven seconds behind Pease.
‘I felt like I had a pretty good start,’ Pease said. ‘The middle was straight up a little hill. When I got to the top of the first hill I felt like I wasn’t running a very good race. There was a girl from Rising Sun in front of me and I wanted to get ahead of her and see what I could do. I wanted to stick with her and not let her get away and then try to pass her if I could.’
Pease said she didn’t know Sells had a problem.
‘I had no clue,’ she said. ‘I figured she’d be up there with us at the beginning. Before the race I walked the course with my coach. We went through and made sure where all the bad spots were so I could avoid them. I know I wasn’t expected to finish so high so I’m glad I ran well.’
‘She ran great,’ said South Central coach Greg Robinson. ‘When you get to this level, if you don’t get up in it early it will cost you a lot. Sarah has always been good about getting out and that’s one thing we’ve always tried to emphasize. She feels real comfortable that way. She was looking right at Kelsey the whole way.
‘Toward the end she was running great and got a lot of confidence today.
Robinson said Pease should have a lot confidence going into Saturday’s semi-state.
‘I think this year she can go in knowing she belongs, where she’s going to be, and hopefully be in the top 10,’ he said. ‘We want to move on. I think she’s proven that today. I think she’s going to fit right in.’
Crawford’s Lauren Schaftlein made a move on Floyd Central’s Allison Laird to finish fourteenth.
With two of their top runners not running, Corydon finished a disappointing tenth.
‘C.J. (Reed) was our number one for the girls (at 24th),’ said boys coach Ty Guillaume. ‘Elizabeth (Burks) was sick so I don’t know how well she would have run today. Alaine (Burch) was gone so that hurt them a lot.’
Venues for semi-state, state final switched
The boys and girls cross country semi-state meet won’t be held in Terre Haute as in past years.
Saturday’s meet will be hosted by Bloomington North and take place at Indiana University.
Due to a conflict with an Indiana University football game, the IHSAA Executive Committee unanimously approved the move of the 2004 state meet to the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course in Terre Haute.
The venue was the site of the 2002 NCAA Division I Championships.