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A sensational finish: Betz edges Byrne

A sensational finish: Betz edges Byrne
A sensational finish: Betz edges Byrne
Dustin Betz, left, of Northeast Dubois and North Harrison's Tyler Byrne came to the finish line in a near dead heat at the end of the boys' race in the Crawford regional Saturday. Betz was declared the winner by inches. (Photos by Wade Bell)

It was sweeps week for the Floyd Central boys cross country team as the Highlanders came back from their sectional win on Tuesday to again best New Albany for the Crawford County regional championship. In the girls division, the Lady Pack of Crawford County had to settle for second once again to the Lady Bulldogs of New Albany.
The boys’ race proved to be a four-way battle with a classic finish that will be talked about for years to come.
North Harrison’s Tyler Byrne got boxed in at the start, pushed back to sixth in the second row of the lead group. Lanesville’s Joe Kissel and Corydon’s Harrison Mann had good starts as did Northeast Dubois senior Dustin Betz. Just after the first mile, Byrne and Betz were up front with Heritage Hills’ Cody Stein and Tell City’s Alex Fenn a step behind. Kissel was barely hanging on in the top 20 with Mann slightly farther back.
With 100 meters to go, it was only Betz, Byrne and Fenn. With 50 to go, Byrne made a push from the second position to pull next to Betz. At 10 meters, Betz and Byrne were in one last charge for the finish. Both hit the line at the same time, and starter Ray Oppel called out Betz’s white uniform first followed by Byrne’s blue. Fenn was two seconds behind in third.
‘That’s the closest finish I’ve ever had,’ said Byrne. ‘I really wanted to get a bigger lead before the finish. At the last turn, I knew we were going to both be sprinting. I tried to outkick them, but he got me.’
‘That was close, too close,’ said Betz. ‘I figured he’d have something left. There with about 10 meters to go I didn’t know how far back he was, but then I saw his shadow. I took off, and he was right there with me. We both leaned, and they said I got him.’
Betz said he was glad for a close race.
‘I like having competition,’ said the Dubois senior. ‘If I didn’t have any competition, it’s just that much worse next week. You go up there and have no clue how the guys are and trying to push them. It’s a whole different story.’
Byrne didn’t waste any time thinking about Saturday’s semi-state at Bedford.
‘I know I should be there with Betz the whole time,’ he said. ‘Hopefully, I’ll be able to get him the next race.’
Sam Mires led the Highlanders with a fifth-place finish.
‘Honestly, I was hoping for 50 (points),’ said Floyd Central boys coach Tim Korte. ‘We scored 56, so it was a little higher than I wanted actually. It wasn’t a perfect day. You rarely get all five going perfect on the same day, so I’ve got to be pleased with the win.’
Korte said Saturday’s race at Bedford will not be easy with at least eight contenders battling for six spots.
‘Bloomington North is a for-sure team, and Terre Haute North is a for-sure team,’ Korte said. ‘Then we have Seymour, who’s running really well. Barre-Reeve is a really good team. Then you have a couple thrown in there. Bloomington South is in the mix and then us and New Albany. There’s only two that I feel are positive-definites and after that there are four spots up for grabs. Silver Creek, if everybody runs well, they’re in there. There’s eight teams and six will go.’
Kissel finished just four spots back from qualifying for semi-state. The freshman finished 19th with a time of 17:23 for the Eagles.
Perry Central also had three in the top 15 with Jake Schwartz and Corey Kimball sixth and seventh, respectively, with Michael Ernst following up in 15th. Corydon’s Mann had a disappointing day, finishing in the 33rd spot.
‘That’s definitely not the race I was looking for,’ Mann said. ‘I had this side cramp. I felt it start coming on and I thought I ate too much. Then it started getting even worse and, by the end of the race, I could barely run. I finally ran out of it coming up that hill (toward the finish), so I just ran with the rest of it.’
Rounding out Corydon’s finishers were Charles Bright (34th, 18:03), Cheyanne Smith (45th, 18:14), Luke Burch (54th, 18:53), Casey Priddy (56th, 19:13), Jacob Keith (65th, 20:22) and Reid Morgan (69th, 21:29).
Other finishers from North Harrison included Matt Bruce (41st, 18:10), Chris Foster (42nd, 18:11), Eric Zelenkov (51st, 18:30), Peter Book (55th, 19:06) and Casey Wagner (67th, 20:34).
In the girls’ race, similar to Tuesday’s sectional, New Albany’s Carissa Martin ran out to a quick lead, with Perry Central’s Rachel Rayford second and Crawford’s Lauren Schaftlein in fifth. By the mile mark, however, things had changed dramatically, as Jasper standout Lacey Oeding was well out in front with Rayford second and Martin third and struggling. Schaftlein at this point had moved up to fourth.
Oeding had a commanding lead going into the final mile, while Crawford’s front five looked in good position. In the last half-mile, Schaftlein moved up to the second spot ahead of both Rayford and Martin. Oeding went on to win in a fast time of 19:06 with Schaftlein 38 seconds behind. Crawford’s Morgan Kenner, Renee Darland Ashlee Satterfield and Carolyn Pellman made a late charge, but the Lady Pack came up six points short of New Albany in the final score.
‘I was thinking in my head the whole time, this is the last time I’m going to be running regional,’ said Schaftlein. ‘This is the last time I’m going to be running on my course, so I ran as hard as I could.’
Schaftlein said she didn’t want to make the same mistake Martin did by going out too fast.
Crawford senior Morgan Kenner said Cox’s orders were clear before the race.
‘He told us to stay between the white lines and cross that last white line as fast as you can,’ Kenner said. ‘He said, ‘That’s pretty much how it goes.’ He said to ‘go out and kick butt, girls, and run like you have all year.’ ‘
‘We’ve been practicing in the woods here at practice and we decided that when we top that hill and go down the downhill, nobody was passing us after that,’ said Kenner. ‘Nobody did today.’
Lanesville’s Rachel Butler put in a 40th-place finish. The Lady Eagles freshman ran in 22:51.
Girls scores (Top 5 to semi-state) – New Albany 70, Crawford County 76, Heritage Hills 78, Tell City 106, Forest Park 112, Southridge 120, Perry Central 120, Floyd Central 159, Providence 246, Borden 316
Girls results (Top 15 to semi-state) – 1. Lacey Oeding (Jspr) 19:06.9, 2. Lauren Schaftlein (CC) 19:44, 3. Carissa Martin (NA) 19:50, 4. Rachael Rayford (PC) 20:00, 5. Tricia Oxford (HH) 20:04, 6. Kacie Klem (SR) 20:07, 7. Andrea Prusz (SR) 20:16, 8. Kaci Verkamp (FP) 20:24, 9. Shaina Miller (HH) 20:25, 10. Tiffany Davis (TC) 20:28, 11. Sidney Strobel (TC) 20:33, 12. Stephanie Cave (NA) 20:41, 13. Cecelia Oxford (HH) 20:56, 14. Hannah Keehn (FC) 20:57, 15. Morgan Kenner (CC) 21:02
Boys scores (Top 5 to semi-state) – Floyd Central 56, New Albany 67, Perry Central 82, Tell City 97, NE Dubois 144, Forest Park 159, North Harrison 176, Heritage Hills 195, Corydon 217, Providence 231
Boys results (Top 15 to semi-state) – 1. Dustin Betz (NED) 16:10, 2. Tyler Byrne (NH) 16:10, 3. Alex Fenn (TC) 16:12, 4. Cody Stein (HH) 16:42, 5. Sam Mires (FC) 16:48, 6. Jake Schwartz (PC) 16:50, 7. Corey Kimball (PC) 16:50, 8. Jason Holcomb (NA) 16:52, 9. Will Cox (FC) 16:53, 10. Christian Everhardus (NA) 17:00, 11. Justin Hodge (FC) 17:04, 12. Adam Lutz (NA) 17:07, 13. Josh Thomas (FP) 17:09, 14. Will Naville (FC) 17:10, 15. Michael Ernst (PC) 17:14