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Crawford girls, North boys win at Little Four meet

The day belonged to the Crawford County Lady Pack and the North Harrison Cougars at the Little Four cross country meet on a hot Thursday afternoon, with both teams dominating their divisions. The Crawford girls’ team put six runners in the top 10 and the North Harrison boys had four runners in the top 10 of their race.
‘On the girls’ side, nothing really surprised me there,’ Crawford County coach Alan Cox said. ‘Our girls have worked pretty hard this year. Our girls are confident. Even though we have no seniors, we’re pretty experienced and we’ve got some depth.’
‘I feel real good,’ Cougar coach Jerry Love said. ‘The kids ran a super race. We knew we had some potential, and we showed it today. We’re young and not there yet. We had a couple that maybe went out a little too quick, but they were able to hang on. We stayed as a pack.’
Corydon’s Megan Fessel grabbed the early lead in the girls’ race, but she was followed closely by Crawford’s Lauren Schaftlein, Morgan Kenner and Ashley Satterfield and North Harrison’s Amber Gresham and Amanda Wolseifer. Fessel later fell back as the three Crawford runners moved up front followed by both North Harrison runners.
Schaftlein and Gresham later broke away from that group and paced each other until they reached the last wooded portion of the course. It was there that Schaftlein made her move and broke away from Gresham, going on to win by a 17-second margin in a time of 17 minutes, 35 seconds. Kenner finished third and Wolseifer fourth. Paoli’s Audry Fields rounded out the top five.
‘I felt like the first mile was really slow,’ said Gresham, who lost 12 pounds between the spring and fall. ‘No one wanted to push themselves to lead, because they didn’t want to push more than they had to. Lauren is really strong. She has a good kick and is a strong runner.
‘I’ve been training with Casey Schneider, and I went to a camp at USI (University of Southern Indiana). I was on the swim team for Harrison County and running. It’s helped quite a bit. I’ve worked a lot harder since the spring and progressed quite a bit.’
‘Amber Gresham looks comfortable in her stride and had a great race today,’ Love said. ‘She stayed right with the front pack and went with the lead runner for a little while. She just couldn’t quite keep up with her. She had a really nice finish. The other girls are going to start closing that gap, and by September, we’re going to be pretty competitive with the girls.’
The Corydon girls’ team finished third, just three points behind North Harrison.
Crawford County’s Chris Humphrey grabbed the early lead and held that spot through the first circuit of the boys’ race. Corydon’s Lucas Taylor later moved to the front followed by teammate Harrison Mann. That lead lasted only briefly, however, as North Harrison’s Tyler Byrne, brother to former Cougar standout Ryan Byrne, moved up to the front and never fell back.
Byrne covered the 3.1 miles in a time of 17:39 to win with Taylor second and Mann third. Corydon’s Chad Backherm was fourth and Crawford’s Ryan Bean fifth.
‘I was hurting the second lap,’ said Byrne, a freshman. ‘I just pushed it as hard as I could.’
‘It was really hot. At the start of the race, I was running fifth, and on the second lap I tried to get up to the front.
‘I was trying to wait for them to slow down a little bit, then move passed them. Once I passed them, I was pretty sure they were wore out. I usually like to wait a little bit longer, but I felt like they were dying pretty good.’
‘He ran great in junior high and has watched Ryan all these years,’ Love said. ‘He’s got great support from his family, and we expect great things from him. We’re a young team and we’re looking for several good years running.’
‘After a mile or a mile and half, he just had a burst and left everybody behind,’ Taylor said of Byrne. ‘My personal goal is to win sectional, but it means I’ll obviously have to beat Little Byrne.’
‘The boys, I didn’t think North Harrison would be that good yet,’ said Corydon coach Ty Guillaume, whose team finished. ‘They lost some last year, and I forgot they had Little Byrne coming out. I didn’t realize he was that good yet.’
The Crawford boys finished third.
‘On the boys’ side I feel very, very good,’ Cox said. ‘We’re going to be a little better than I thought we were going to be. It’s early in the season, and I knew we were going to have some gaps and shoes to fill. We’ve got some people really stepping up. I’m going to go home pretty happy after watching the boys.
‘ I think at the season’s end we’ll be able to compete with North Harrison and Corydon.’