NH’s Fleace earns all-state, places 20th
The Floyd Central Lady Highlanders and North Harrison’s Daniel Fleace reached some much-wanted goals Saturday afternoon as they competed in this year’s cross country state finals at the LaVern Gibson course in Terre Haute.
Fleace earned All-State status in his event, while the Lady Highlanders cracked the top 10 in the girls’ team standings.
The girls’ race was run in record time despite temperatures in the upper 30s to low 40s and a strong north wind gusting 25 to 30 miles per hour at times. Mishawaka’s Anna Rohrer set a brutal pace at the beginning that no other runner could match.
North Harrison’s Ashton Bosler found herself being jostled around in the main pack behind the leaders in the first half mile.
‘I should have gone out faster than that,’ Bosler said. ‘It wasn’t awful but not great. It leaves you with a lot of people to pass.’
The Floyd Central Lady Highlanders, meanwhile, had themselves in good team position during the early part of the race with at least four runners in the front third of the field.
‘We really focused on running as a team and not for ourselves,’ junior Lydia Kotowski said. ‘We knew, if we wanted to be near the top as a team, we had to run together and not (be) running for ourselves.’
Rohrer picked up her pace going into the final mile and was more than 40 seconds ahead of Avon’s Taylor Nicholson down the stretch. Rohrer went on to break her own state record, finishing the 5,000 meters in 17 minutes, 8.8 seconds. Nicholson was second in 17:50.0.
Bosler made a surge in the final 25 meters to pass Bloomfield’s Alli Workman and Seymour’s Emma Brock to finish 43rd in a time of 18:58. Bosler said it wasn’t the kind of finish she wanted to have for her final high school cross country race.
‘It’s good to pass and move up,’ she said. ‘It’s just not as much as I was hoping to. I can’t hang my head too low, even if I didn’t finish well. There’s a lot of people who have supported me all these years. It warms my heart.’
Kassidy Manning finished as Floyd Central’s No. 1 with a 62nd-place finish in the field in a time of 19:16.1. Melanie Combs was right behind her in 63rd place with a time of 19:16.6.
‘I just went out there and gave it all I had,’ Manning said. ‘I was happy to give it all for our team.’
Manning said the wind made it a difficult race, even being stuck in the middle of the field.
‘That wasn’t the hardest part,’ she said of being jostled around by other runners. ‘The hardest part was the wind. I noticed it more toward the end.’
Floyd Central’s Kyley Sorg was 78th (19:25.7), and Lydia Kotowski finished 80th (19:26.9). Madison Barney finished 123rd (19:55.4), and Faith Barba was 160th (20:26.0). The Lady Highlanders’ No. 7 was Gabrielle Rodriguez at 186th (20:51.7).
‘I’m happy with my team and how they finished,’ Kotowski said. ‘We’re already thinking about next year and placing top five.’
‘That’s been a goal for us all season,’ Floyd Central coach Carl Hook said. ‘A top-10 finish was the goal all year long. Part of it was, we were packed tight 15 to 20 seconds apart. It was a great team effort. They’ve never questioned anything. We knew we could be a top-10. We took care of business.’
‘We got a phenomenal race out of our No. 5, Madison Barney,’ Floyd Central coach Brian Emerson said. ‘With this course, it was her best race. We talked a lot over the last week about being smart and moving up during the race with a ‘K’ to go. They went up where they were capable of.’
Other finishers included Heritage Hills’ Sienna Crews at 47th (19:02.4), Jasper’s Tara Cassidy at 65th (19:19.5), Henryville’s Cia Green at 74th (19:26.3) and Silver Creek’s Mackenzie Crouch at 132nd (20:03.2).
It wasn’t the best day for the North Harrison Cougars in the boys’ race. The entire field seemed to fight for position during the two miles. North Harrison’s Daniel Fleace was in the lead group through the first half mile.
At a mile and a half, four runners ‘ Ben Veatch of Carmel, Zach Snider of Brebeuf Jesuit, Cooper Williams of West Lafayette and Columbus North’s Seth Williams ‘ broke free of the field.
The four lead runners were still together with just 400 meters to go. With 100 meters left, Veatch and Snider broke away to the finish line. The pair crossed the line in a matching time of 15:09.3, with Veatch given the win on a lean.
Fleace also made a big charge at the end, making a final pass for an All-State spot, finishing 20th in 15:46.9.
‘It was good for me,’ said Fleace, who was not completely satisfied. ‘Not the race I wanted, but I pushed hard.’
Fleace said the wind was noticeable, so he went with a little NASCAR-style drafting.
‘Certain stretches of the course I noticed the wind, but I just tucked in the back,’ he said. ‘I lost the lead pack in the middle about the mile and a half. I just latched onto a couple of guys to pull me back up to the lead pack. Never satisfied, but I’m happy. It was fun.’
The Cougars didn’t get the team finish they wanted, just barely staying in the top 20 at 19th place with 488 points. Michael White was 129th (16:48.8), Nathaniel Lone 156th (17:12.7), Jacob Faith (168th (17:19.9), Curtis Wetzel 180th (17:39.0), Collier Smith 189th (17:48.8) and Noah Rothrock 195th (18:03.2).
‘Daniel looked like the normal Daniel,’ North Harrison coach Tim Martin said. ‘Anytime you can be All-State isn’t that bad.’
‘We came off flat,’ Martin said. ‘It was hard to keep the momentum going. State is a big mind game. I’m sure we could have done better, but we’re here and we raced. Hopefully, with our younger group, they can see and build on that. We’ve got enough guys coming back we should make a goal change next year.’
Others finishing were Julien Magallanes of Borden at 64th (16:18.3), Floyd Central’s Alec Heinz 93rd (16:33.2) and Silver Creek’s Cameron Stephens 132nd (16:49.5).
Girls’ team scores ‘ 1. Carmel 55, 2. Avon 124, 3. West Lafayette 147, 4. Penn 158, 5. Columbus North 171, 6. Zionsville 247, 7. Fort Wayne-Carroll 272, 8. Pendleton Heights 283, 9. Floyd Central 284, 10. Hamilton Southeastern 284, 11. Warren Central 300, 12. Northridge 348, 13. Lake Central 366, 14. Bloomington South 370, 15. Valparaiso 400, 16. Warsaw Community 408, 17. Indianapolis Cathedral 415, 18. Portage 417, 19. Seymour 442, 20. Homestead 443, 21. Terre Haute North 450, 22. LaPorte 504, 23. Jasper 547, 24. Huntington North 557.
Boys’ team scores ‘ 1. West Lafayette 133, 2. Carmel 140, 3. Muster 143, 4. Columbus North 164, 5. Brebeuf Jesuit 182, 6. Bloomington North 237, 7. Hamilton Southeastern 241, 8. Fort Wayne-Carroll 246, 9. North Central (Ind) 246, 10. Bloomington South 253, 11. Avon 257, 12. Fishers 320, 13. Terre Haute South 327, 14. Lake Central 349, 15. Valparaiso 356, 16. Crown Point 410, 17. Mount Vernon 430, 18. West Noble 465, 19. North Harrison 488, 20. Goshen 509, 21. South Bend Riley 511, 22. Lafayette Jefferson 518, 23. Terre Haute North 579, 24. East Noble 585.