NH sweeps team titles as Taylor, Pease win county
Runners from South Central and Corydon Central won battles, but North Harrison won the annual county-wide cross country war on Thursday afternoon at Lanesville.
South senior Sarah Pease and Corydon’s Lucas Taylor claimed individual championships with times of 15:32 and 17:48, respectively, while North swept the team totals by 17 points on the girls side and by 16 on the boys.
‘Great afternoon for North Harrison,’ coach Monty Schneider said. ‘We thought the girls would probably win. They’ve been running well all year and they ran well all day from top to bottom.’
Pease broke away from the pack just a few hundred meters from the start and never looked back.
North’s Amber Gresham was second in 16:10, followed by Corydon’s Elizabeth Burks, Danielle Henckel of Lanesville and Jacelyn Sauerheber of North Harrison.
Rounding out the top 10 were Stacy Robertson (NH), Amanda Wolsiefer (NH), Alaine Burch (CC), Megan Bussabarger (CC) and Mary Robertson (NH).
North’s sixth and seventh runners were Katie Voyles and Samantha Taylor.
‘Amber ran a real good race for us, but it’s hard to judge sometimes when you run behind Sarah Pease,’ Schneider said. ‘Stacy Robertson had a strong race, Amanda Wolsiefer, Mary Robertson and then we had some other people step up. Katie Voyles and Samantha Taylor were in there in our top seven. Sometimes when the pressure is on, it’s tough to run, but the girls really ran well today.’
South Central coach Greg Robinson said a tough week probably took its toll on Pease’s time.
She won the Eastern Invitational the previous week with a personal-best time of 15:10, then took the SAC Meet at the Lanesville course in 15:32 on Tuesday afternoon.
‘Her legs were a little bit dead today and I think that’s probably because our big meet is Tuesday at the SAC,’ Robinson said. ‘She still turned in a 15:30, which is better than anyone else around here. Tuesday at sectional, it’s a rolling course and I think she’s ready to make a push and she’ll probably put up a much better time. I don’t think she’s hit her stride, and that’s kind of a good thing because you don’t want to peak too early
‘At this point in the season, we’re not concerned as much with time as we are with Top 15 (which advances from each stage of the state tournament).’
Lanesville coach Tim Bridges was tickled by the effort turned in by Henckel.
‘She has improved all year long. I expect her to get out of sectional. She gets stronger all the time,’ Bridges said. ‘She’s still learning and still has so much potential.’
Corydon was runner-up in the team standings with 43 points, followed by South Central (66).
Lanesville had an incomplete team.
In the boys’ race, the top seven runners stayed in a large pack through much of the 5,000-meter event, led by Corydon’s Taylor.
Fellow Panther Harrison Mann and Chris Dodds of Lanesville seemed to be Taylor’s best match.
With a mile to go, Taylor was followed by Mann, Dodds and Shay Barnickle and Christian Horstman of North Harrison.
Dodds, who won the SAC event two days prior in a time of 18:02, wound up runner-up in the county race by 23 seconds.
‘Chris was up there all day,’ Bridges said. ‘My team really came together today. We wish we could have finished like that Tuesday, but we got on track. We wanted to beat South Central Tuesday, but we came back today and got them at county, so I’m happy.’
Corydon was second with 53 points, followed by Lanesville (60) and South Central (66).
‘They’ve been placing three in front of our first man,’ Schneider said of Corydon Central. ‘We got in front of a couple of their guys today and I think Tuesday at the conference is what won this for us today.
‘In a bigger meet, some of the guys in back are a little further back. In a smaller meet like today when you have just four teams, they aren’t quite as far back. I told them that Tuesday before the conference and I think it made believers out of them.’
Filling the top 10 spots, in order, were: Mann, Barnickle, Horstman, Adam Hofmeister (NH), Chad Backherms (CC), Craig Blackman (SC), Matthew Bruce (NH) and Jon Kissel (L).
Schneider went on to praise the runners for his team: ‘Shay Barnickel had a good race. Christian Horstman got a side-stitch Tuesday and didn’t do well at conference, but he ran pretty well today, just nosing out Adam Hofmeister. Jordan Byrne was fifth for us and got someone right at the line and Chris Foster was sixth for us. Chris Sears got up for seventh for us today, too, so it was truly a team effort. Our fourth runner was Matthew Bruce, a freshman, never ran cross country before. He’s a golfer. He’s made us this year.
‘This year has been a pleasant surprise for me.’
Robinson said unplanned incidents have taken their toll.
‘This year has been such an injury-plagued season for us. We were really fortunate and happy to win conference,’ South’s coach said. ‘We never really hit our stride this season, so I guess it’s back to the drawing board for us.’