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Pease, FC boys win big at NH Invitational

Pease, FC boys win big at NH Invitational
Pease, FC boys win big at NH Invitational
South Central's Sarah Pease, center, dominated the girls varsity race in the North Harrison Invitational cross country meet Thursday, covering the 4,000 meters in 15 minutes, 43 seconds. (Photo by Wade Bell)

South Central’s Sarah Pease attacked from the beginning and cruised to a big win at the 25th annual North Harrison Invitational cross country meet Thursday afternoon, while the Floyd Central boys’ team topped runner-up Mitchell by a 30-point margin.
The South Central girls’ team’s starting position was on the outside, but Pease quickly assaulted the course, punching her way to the top five in the first quarter-mile. By the mile mark, the South Central senior was out in front by 40 meters over Jasper’s Maria Gramelspacher.
‘I wanted myself up in the top five position,’ Pease said of her start. ‘There may have been a small point I slowed down a little bit, but it started to thin out more and more, so I took the lead when we got around the first curve.’
Pease continued to lead on the backside of the course, but Gramelspacher slowly gained ground and with less than a quarter-mile to go, cut the gap in half. Pease held off Gramelspacher’s charge to win by a seven-second margin.
Pease said she knew Gramelspacher was closing.
‘There would be people yelling for me and then I heard people yelling for her,’ she said. ‘I knew she was right behind me. Since it’s my senior year I feel like I should go out more aggressive to give myself a chance to win every meet. I feel like I can be running with the best runners.’
North Harrison’s Amber Gresham had another good meet, cracking the top 10 to finish ninth.
‘I thought I’d start out fast, but I didn’t start as fast as I thought I did,’ she said. I had a lot of people to pick off. I got boxed in a little bit. I know my other teammates got boxed in a lot and I didn’t expect that.’
The North Harrison sophomore said she’s gaining confidence with each race.
‘A little bit,’ Gresham said. ‘It’s just since I won the first one everybody expects a lot of me, so I’m trying to make them happy and show them I can do it.’
‘Amber ran very, very well,’ North Harrison coach Monty Schneider said.
‘She wore spikes for the first time, had never practiced in them. She got out well, better than she had been getting out. She just kept picking off people and had a very good race. She’s still learning. I told her after the race, ‘I don’t think you realize you’re a lot better than what you are or can be.’
‘She beat a lot people who beat her at the Stargazer at Crawford a few weeks ago. I’m sure there’ll be a meet she’ll level off or maybe go backwards a little bit, because it’s tough to keep getting better and better. But she can get better. She’s got a lot of tools.’
As a team North Harrison finished ninth.
‘I felt the girls’ team placed pretty well,’ Schneider said. ‘We use Crawford as a gauge a lot of times, and they beat us pretty good. I think we might have a shot at them in a smaller meet.’
Crawford’s girls finished seventh.
‘We were a little off our race,’ coach Alan Cox said. ‘I think what this race showed today, you can look at who finished where and tell the teams who put in some miles this summer. You can look at the kids and tell the kids that put in some miles by the shapes of some of their legs.
‘I can’t say I was disappointed with the amount of time we put in this summer, but we didn’t put in enough. It’s a long way between now and October.’
The Floyd Central boys’ team put three runners in the top 15 in the boys’ division of the meet, but it was Mitchell’s Ryan Chastain who came out in front of the field.
Charlestown’s Hillary Bowen took the initial lead but was closely hounded by several runners, including New Albany’s Eric Schulz, Floyd Central’s Ben Draper and Chastain. Crawford County’s Chris Humphrey, Ryan Bean and Dustin Lindsey were back in the 20s.
Draper moved up to second then took the lead before the halfway mark. Chastain also moved up and was just a few meters behind Draper at two miles. With a half-mile to go, Chastain was in front of Draper and gaining ground.
Chastain went on to win in a time of 16 minutes, 51 seconds with Draper 13 seconds behind and Eric Schulz third, two seconds behind Draper.
‘I tried not to go out real hard,’ Chastain said. ‘That’s what I planned to do. I tried to pick it up the second mile and pick it up at the end.’
‘This is a preview of what the semi-state is going to be like,’ Draper said. ‘He (Chastain) did an excellent job. I knew he had it. I just didn’t know if he’d have it this early.’
‘I just wanted to run as good of time as I could and see what the competition was like,’ Draper said. ‘I’m about 22 seconds faster than last year. That’s a big improvement and I’m happy with that. I just want my season to keep going strong and try not to get injured and hopefully compete at state.’
Besides Draper’s second-place finish, Floyd Central’s Mark Hamilton and Brad Robertson were eighth and 15th, respectively.
‘It’s a good win,’ Floyd boys’ coach Tim Korte said. ‘It’s a good keystone to judge past seasons and past meets. It’s our first 5K and it’s big to see the times they’re doing to break open the season. We looked pretty strong. We had five solid guys that looked good. I was happy. It was a good race.’
Korte said he wasn’t surprised to see Chastain up front.
‘We all know who the local good people are, and we knew Chastain was good,’ Korte said.
Cox said surprises are what makes the North Harrison meet so interesting.
‘Three years ago, Jasper’s girls came out of nowhere,’ he said.
‘They’ve won it three straight years now. This is a good meet to judge where you’re at right now and tell you how much work you need to do before the end of the season. I think we’ll make some changes. We had some kids that were a little bit off today but we had some bright spots, too.’
North Harrison finished 11th in the boys’ division.
‘Shea (Barnickle) was our third boy today,’ Schneider said. ‘Adam Hoffmeister was our number one, then Christian Horsemen was our number two for us. Jordan Byrne just nosed out Matt Bruce right in front of the tape.
‘Shea’s a little disappointed but he, Christian or Adam could be our number one runner on a given night. We’re young and going to be up and down and we should have a chance to improve even more.’