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FC’s Manning cracks top 25

FC’s Manning cracks top 25
FC’s Manning cracks top 25
Floyd Central's Kassidy Manning eyes the finish line a few steps in front of her as she finishes 23rd in the Indiana cross country state finals at the LaVerne Gibson cross country course in Terre Haute Saturday afternoon. Photo by Wade Bell

The air was windy and a little chilly with a few water drops Saturday as teams and runners from across the state met at the LaVerne Gibson cross country course in Terre Haute for the Indiana state cross country finals. Floyd Central senior Kassidy Manning broke a long dry spell for the Lady Highlanders, becoming the first cross country All-Stater since 2000 as she finished 23rd.
‘The girls we put out there just take care of business every week like they did,’ coach Carl Hook said. ‘I can’t say enough about the seniors. Kassidy Manning, a great race today. Lydia (Kotowski), Madison (Barney), Melanie Parrish, she’s also here today; our four seniors, four years of just great leadership and just amazing kids.’
Manning got out to a good start in the first 200 meters but then was taken in by the field running down the left side of the course. At that point, Manning said she just had to be patient and wait for a chance to break out of the crowd.
‘It started fast,’ she said. ‘I expected that. I wasn’t where I wanted to be at the start, but we talked about the game plan before the race, and I knew that even if I was in 60th I thought I could still be capable of what I needed.’
A few steps behind Manning was sophomore Faith Barba, who was also trying to stay patient and move up through the crowd.
‘You have all that adrenaline to go with the pack even though you might be 40 seconds back,’ she said. ‘That’s how I was.’
The runners went into cruise control through the middle part of the course, with Carmel’s Sarah Leinheiser starting to pull away from the field at the halfway point. Leinheiser would go on to win in a time of 17 minutes, 30.8 seconds, with Indianapolis Cathedral’s Katherine Free second at 17:52.5.
Manning made a charge as she came down the long and straight 400-meter finish. The Floyd Central senior crossed the finish line to finish 23rd and reach All-State status by making the top 25, something that hadn’t been done at the school in 15 years.
‘I stayed strong to the end, which was a goal,’ Manning said.
‘The top 25 are All-State, so that’s great for her and great for the program,’ Hook said. ‘Manning, she’s a tough girl taking care of business like she did in a big crowd. There’s a lot of pressure to be in that top 25. We talked about that. She ran a really smart race like she does every race. She’s done a great job. Especially this season, she’s just really taken care of it. All season long she really was focused with this.’
Barba was number two for the Lady Highlanders, finishing 108th (19:40.0) of the 207 runners.
‘It went well,’ she said. ‘I was kind of the same as semi-state time-wise, but I felt worse this meet than last week. I went out really strong and paid for it kind of in the middle mile. I had a decent kick at the end.’
‘It was tiring, but I made it through and it’s all over,’ she said. ‘I’m so happy ‘ I can’t wait to see what the future holds for myself and for the team.’
The Lady Highlanders were a little more strung out through the field than they wanted. Sophomore Erica Batliner was 153rd (20:16.5), while senior Lydia Kotowski struggled through the last half of the race and finished 171st (20:29.0). Sophomore Jacqueline Owings was 189th (20:49.6), senior Madison Barney 191st (20:52.1) and junior Morgan Paul 195th (21:00.1). Floyd Central finished 22nd as a team with 484 points.
‘My first mile and a half felt really good, and then at a mile and a half my breathing (problems) started and my tendon was throbbing,’ Kotowski said. ‘The last K I was just thinking I have to finish, and I felt really bad because I know a ton of people passed me. I don’t feel super great about my race.’
Kotowski sat by herself for several minutes after the race knowing it would be the last time she would run with her team. The Floyd Central senior will forgo track season to focus on other things, one of those being getting completely healthy.
‘Just knowing it’s the last time I’ll run with these girls, it’s starting to sink in,’ she said. ‘Madison and I didn’t come out of the pen area after the race for a while. We were just sitting there.
‘I know all the underclassmen and juniors have wonderful things coming for them and it’s going to be a strong program. I’m not running track. When I say it’s the last time, it’s the last time I’m running with these girls.’
‘Everybody ran as fast as they could, and that’s all you can ask,’ Hook said. ‘Out here you can’t play defense. You do the very best you can. We did it today. We’ve been through stuff all year long with injuries and illness and things and we keep battling. We were battling again today through stuff.’
Other area runners finishing included Christian Academy of Indiana’s McKenna Cavanaugh 33rd (18:59.2) and Jasper’s Hannah Welsh 40th (19:03.6).
In the boys’ race, Borden’s Julien Magallanes got out to a quick start and was in the lead pack through most of the race. Carmel’s Ben Veach took control of the race at the halfway point and was never really challenged at the finish, winning in a time of 14 minutes, 59.8 seconds, with Brayden Law, of Homestead, finishing second in 15:06.8. Carmel also won in the team standings with a total 115 points, with Fishers second at 158.
Magallanes had a strong finish at the end to place eighth in a time of 15 minutes, 31.9 seconds. Other area runners finishing were Silver Creek’s Cameron Stephens at 45th (16:09.0) and Eastern’s Josh Ratts 50th at 16:10.7. Christian Academy of Indiana’s Skylar Stidham was 67th (16:19.1), Jasper’s Cale Killian 73rd (16:22.0) and Tell City’s Leo Simpson 97th (16:35.7). Silver Creek finished 24th with 615 points.
Boys’ team scores ‘ 1. Carmel 115, 2. Fishers 158, 3. Westfield 210, 4. Fort Wayne Carroll 212, 5. West Lafayette 221, 6. Hamilton Southeastern 226, 7. Lake Central 233, 8. Columbus North 241, 9. Valparaiso 252, 10. Lowell 258, 11. Crown Point 283, 12. LaPorte 294, 13. Fort Wayne Concordia 303, 14. Avon 356, 15. Bloomington North 376, 16. Pendleton Heights 387, 17. Westview 403, 18. Mt. Vernon 440, 19. Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory 446, 20. Terre Haute South 450, 21. Bloomington South 483, 22. Northridge 548, 23. Tell City 595, 24. Silver Creek 615.
Girls’ team scores ‘ 1. Carmel 70, 2. Fort Wayen Carrol 158, 3. Columbus North 170, 4. Indianapolis Cathedral 203, 5. Zionsville 205, 6. Lake Central 227, 7. LaPorte 227, 8. Penn 237, 9. Homestead 256, 10. Hamilton Southeastern 300, 11. Pendleton Heights 307, 12. Warsaw 328, 13. Seymour 342, 14. Valparaiso 355, 15. Noblesville 373, 16. West Lafayette 377, 17. Bloomington North 411, 18. Bloomington South 419, 19. Northridge 423, 20. Fishers 426, 21. Terre Haute North 469, 22. Floyd Central 484, 23. Huntington North 498, 24. Portage 507.