Cougars capture semi-state
Last year at the Brown County cross country semi-state, Terre Haute North edged North Harrison by a single point to win the team championship. On Saturday, the shoe was on the other foot as the Cougars made school history by becoming the first athletic team to win a semi-state championship at the Brown County meet. The Cougars put four runners in the top 20 for a one-point win over Terre Haute North.
‘We’re flying high right now,’ coach Jerry Love said. ‘Last year, we thought we did and I celebrated too soon, so this year we were holding back. The suspense was killing us. We knew it was going to be a couple of points. It’s just a great feeling.’
‘Forty years of North Harrison without a semi-state,’ he said. ‘We get to bring the first one to our school, so we’re very proud of these guys for everything. They worked hard for it. We got seven PR’s. What can you ask from a team that gives you seven PR’s?’
The win didn’t come without a fight and some strategy, which was, to say, in front of as many Terre Haute runners as possible. The team knew they couldn’t get John Mascari, who won the race individually in a fast time of 14:59.1, but they felt like they could get the rest.
‘We had our guys set more on their guys in particular than the time we had to get,’ said sophomore Jonathan Reynolds, who came back from 11th to finish fifth. ‘We made sure we got out fast. I’m not sure what our mile split was, but we had people to catch.’
Johnnie Guy moved up from 11th to finish seventh, and Ryan Foster finished 15th. Josh Guy was 19th, Kyle Chesser 35th, Morgan Head 96th and Jason Head 105th.
Chesser proved to be the determining factor, however, getting past Terre Haute North’s Justin Clapp for 35th by just 0.4 of a second. That, however, would have left the two front teams in a tie. Evansville North’s Anthony Maclean squeezed between Chesser and Clapp at the finish to push Clapp one additional spot back, giving the Cougars the meet win.
‘It was insane,’ Chesser said. ‘We all went over and thanked him (Maclean) and hugged him.’
‘The big thing is people know how good we are now,’ said Cougar assistant coach Tim Martin, who has had a major role in the team’s training routine. ‘We’re not just that OK team from the south. We are now legitimate podium contenders. That’s different. They know it now.’
Northeast Dubois senior Josh Genet grabbed a state berth by finishing third individually in a time of 15 minutes, 26.5 seconds. Genet also finished third in last year’s race.
‘My plan was to take out with Mascari, but it was like a 4:40 first mile,’ Genet said. ‘That’s not how I race.’
Genet will make his second appearance at Saturday’s state meet.
‘This time, I’m not going to do like I did today,’ he said. ‘I’m going to run my own race how I want and just don’t let all the people that are there intimidate you. I plan for top five, top 10. I’d be happy with that. That would be nice.’
Other racers included Perry Central’s Eric Scheiiber who finished 20th, while Floyd Central’s Cory Portwood and Logan Kelly finished 22nd and 24th, respectively. Corydon Central’s Luke Burch finished 30th, with Cheyenne Smith 44th and Levi Taylor 57th. Lanesville’s Brandon Price was 64th.
Love said the Cougars will fight for another appearance on the podium at Saturday’s state finals.
‘We’re very goal-oriented, and we got a taste of the podium last year,’ Love said. ‘We started making plans the day after that, saying, ‘Guys, we want to be back,’ and we can. ‘ These guys are very dedicated. We believed in them and they’ve believed in themselves.’
In the girls’ race, Perry Central’s Cathryn Peter was well behind the leaders to start the race, but she slowly moved toward the front runners in the second half of the run. By the end, the Lady Commodore sophomore moved up to grab the final state berth, finishing 15th in a time of 19:01.4.
‘Oh, my gosh, that was an awesome run,’ she said after the race. ‘That’s my best. I had PRed by 40 seconds.’
‘I really tried to hold back the first mile, and, then, that last mile, you’ve just got to keep passing and get your motivation up,’ she said. ‘They kept telling me I was 19th, and I thought I can’t get them, but, then, down that downhill, I passed four girls.’
For the Floyd Central Lady Highlanders, it was a tough day. Floyd Central finished one spot out of the state finals, in seventh place. Alyssa Moore was 40th in the standings, with senior Hannah Keehn 43rd.
‘It hurts,’ said coach Carl Hook, adding that five of his runners had personal bests. ‘That’s almost the worst place to be in. It’s like the 16th individual or the seventh spot. But you beat 13 other teams. It definitely motivates us for next year. We’ve got a good young team and a lot of freshmen on the team working really hard, so a very good group coming back.’
South Central’s Rachel Pease finished 48th in a time of 20:30.6. Corydon Central freshman Brianna Norris, who finished 51st (20:32.2), said she was overwhelmed by the number of runners.
‘That was a lot of people, more than I expected, more than I’ve ever seen,’ Norris said. ‘At the start line, I look up and there’s so many people, and I was just kind of in shock of how many people were there.’
‘I ran my fastest,’ she said. ‘My goal was to stay with Pease, and I think I did. Everybody was telling me how she was right behind me. Then, she got in front of me, and I came in a couple (places) behind her. So, I think I did pretty good for my first. I guess I’ll do better when I grow more and become stronger and get more experience, but I think this was a very good experience for me.’
Girls’ scores (top 6 advance to state) ‘ Terre Haute North 65, Bloomington South 83, Evansville Memorial 105, Bloomington North 122, Bedford-NL 232, Terre Haute South 239, Floyd Central 275, Madison 277, Northeast Dubois 279, Evansville Central 312, Perry Central 320, Tell City 323, Martinsville 324, Trinity Lutheran 336, Evansville North 350, Forest Park 371, Brownstown 388, Evansville Mater Dei 403, South Knox 460, Switzerland County 471
Girls’ results (top 15 advance to state) ‘ 1. Nicole Lucas (BS) 17:51.7, 2. Chanti Mundy (THN) 18:30.5, 3. Claire Bromm (EM) 18:35.5, 4. Alexandra Warzyniak (BS) 18:36.5, 5. Nikki Theid (THS) 18:37.7, 6. Taylor Royalty (TL) 18:38.6, 7. Tapring Goatee (THN) 18:43.6, 8. Jessi Conley (THN) 18:44, 9. Taurie Whitton (SK) 18:51.6, 10. Hope Lockman (Brntn) 18:57.6, 11. Christine Sparks (BN) 18:48.6, 12. Samantha Sheldon (BNL) 18:59.0, 13. Maria Mehringer (EM) 19:00.4, 14. Holly Biggs (BN) 19:01.0, 15. Cathryn Peter (PC) 15th 19:01.4
Boys’ scores (top 6 advance to state) ‘ North Harrison 66, Terre Haute North 67, Bloomington South 123, Martinsville 183, Terre Haute South 198, Bedford-NL 200, Perry Central 213, Floyd Central 218, Evansville Memorial 250, Barr Reeve, Borden 299, Seymour 301, Corydon Central 304, Bloomington North 315, Evansville North 336, South Knox 337, Jennings County 378, Evansville Reitz 455, Mitchell 476, Madison 521
Boys’ results (top 15 advance to state) ‘ 1. John Mascari (THN) 14:59.1, 2. Jace Lowry (Mart) 15:09.1, 3. Josh Genet (NED) 15:26.4, 4. Carl Smith (BS) 15:29.7, 5. Jonathan Reynolds (NH) 15:34.9, 6. Caleb Kerr (EN) 15:36.2, 7. Mark Chandler (BS) 15:36.8, 8. Johnnie Guy (NH) 15:37.4, 9. Logan Barrett (BNL) 15:40.8, 10. Andrew Kump (WV) 15:43.8, 11. Tyler Mundy (THN) 15:47.0, 12. Connor Sorrells (BR) 15:50.2, 13. Tyler Schickel (EMD) 15:51.2, 14. Taylor Head (THS) 15:55.4, 15. Ryan Foster (NH) 15:56.5