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Lady Panthers off to semi-state level

Lady Panthers off to semi-state level
Lady Panthers off to semi-state level
Corydon Central Marcie Stewart (629) paces herself with Floyd Central's Kyley Sorg (663) a mile into the girls' race of the Crawford County cross country regional. Stewart finished fifth. Photos by Brian Smith

The Floyd Central Lady Highlanders owned the Crawford County cross country course Saturday morning. Not only did they win as a team by placing five runners in the top 10, but senior Kyley Sorg won individually, charging past Forest Park’s Clare Mehling in the last 200 meters.
‘They looked good today … real strong,’ Floyd Central girls’ coach Carl Hook said. ‘We’re really proud of everybody again, and we’re pleased with getting the one. … ‘
Sorg and the Lady Highlanders first had to wait for the boys’ race to be run. Like last week’s sectional run, Christian Academy of Indiana’s top runners Skylar Stidam, Caleb Futter and Bryce Dunn made a quick dash to the front, but this time they were joined by Heritage Hills’ Mitchell Hopf and Noah Hufnagel. Tell City also had three runners ‘ Leo Simpson, Thomas Simpson and Nate Kaiser ‘ in the mix.
At the mile mark, Stidam was in front with Hopf second. Moments later, Hopf went to the front and led at the halfway point. Meanwhile, Floyd Central’s David Heinemann, North Harrison’s Noah Rothrock and Corydon Central’s Blaze Abner were keeping themselves in contention in the top 15.
Christian Academy did not go 1-2-3 like the previous week. Instead, Stidam won in a time of 15:43.6 with Hopf second in 16:00.8 and Futter third at 16:02.2, barely edging Hufnagel, who was fourth in 16:02.3. Tell City’s Leo Simpson, Thomas Simpson and Kaiser finished sixth through eighth, respectively. After the scoring was put together, Tell City had edged Christian Academy by just a point, 53-54.
The Floyd Central Highlanders had a much better day than their sectional appearance, finishing third with 116 points, led by Heinemann, who finished 10th in 16:57.7. Luke Heinemann was 19th (17:18.1), Ross Ellis 24th (17:36.6), Justin McWilliams 37th (18:07.1) and Hunter Griffin 52nd (18:35.6).
‘We definitely looked a lot better than sectional,’ Floyd Central boys’ coach Tim Korte said. ‘I think I’m just not going to come to sectionals anymore. It’s never a good week for us. I don’t know if it’s fall break or what, but something really messes us up that week. We were fifth last year, and we were fifth this year. Last year, we were fourth at regionals, and we were third today.’
Korte said David Heinemann kept his head in his run.
‘I just had to imagine before the race that it was going to be really hard,’ David Heinemann said. ‘That helped, knowing when I need to push. I had a target of about eight to 11. … ‘
North Harrison’s Rothrock made the semi-state cut by finishing 14th in 17:00.2, and Corydon Central’s Abner also got in, finishing 15th in a time of 17:13.6.
‘I planned on trying to stick with the Floyd (Central) guys because they had a pretty solid race last week,’ Rothrock said. ‘I figured they’d be up there … so I figured I’d stay with them. Then, I knew that Blaze, from Corydon (Central), would have a pretty good race, and I figured he was one of my main targets. I eventually stuck with him and finally got him. We were going back and forth throughout the race. He had a pretty good lead on me the first mile and a half and then I started gaining on him slowly. I saw him starting to wear out. His leg speed slowed down a lot. That’s when I made my move, and the last half-mile to a mile I got him.’
‘My time wasn’t where I wanted, but it was OK,’ Abner said. ‘I’m still going, so I’m fine with that. Overall, I was at first wanting to keep up with the two Tell City kids. I knew they were going out really hard. I started keeping up with their No. 3 runner, and we were neck and neck the whole race.’
‘The way I looked at it, I knew the Christian Academy runners were going to go out fast,’ he said. ‘I wanted to keep them in sight, but I knew if I didn’t that would be OK because they’re obviously going out hard. Really, my goal has changed every race. I wanted to keep up a good pace, and then I decided I wanted to keep up with different people. Ultimately, it really wasn’t the same the whole race. I kept alternating.’
When the girls’ race began, Forest Park’s Clare Mehling blasted off to the lead with the rest of her team ahead of the field going into the first turn. Meanwhile, the Lady Highlanders were boxed in on the inside with some considerable ground to make up on the Lady Rangers. That really didn’t bother Floyd Central, however, as the team stuck to their game plan.
‘That was a strategy we had that was a little bit different than we had last week where we all just went all out and, of course, the two Corydon (Central) girls kind of led the start last time,’ Sorg said. ‘I kind of tried to pass them to get in the first spot; whereas, this week I trying to stay back a little bit and letting somebody else take the pace. … ‘
Mehling, meanwhile, extended her lead even farther, leading both at the mile and at the half-way point by almost 20 seconds.
‘At 2-1/2, she was still 10 or 12 seconds and they had a lot of ground to make up … ‘ Hook said. ‘(Forest Park) took out fast, but we weren’t worried about that. We knew we could work up through the pack, and we focused on running the second half of the race strong. So, we were doing OK.’
‘I didn’t know (Mehling) was in front,’ Sorg said. ‘I thought that our pack was the first pack and then people were saying, ‘You’re like in second or third.’ I was like, ‘There’s another girl?’ Then, I remembered on a turn I saw her, and my coaches were, ‘You can’t wait. You’ve got to go now.’ … I just started gradually picking it up, and it worked.’
Sorg caught Mehling in the last 200 meters and went on to win in a time of 19:27.9, just under four seconds ahead of the Forest Park runner. Sydney Liddle finished third for the Lady Highlanders in 19:33.6, Heritage Hills’ Caitlin Luecken was fourth (19:41.2) and Corydon Central’s Marcie Stewart was fifth in 19:45.4. Sectional winner McKenna Cavanaugh was seventh in 20:11.0.
‘Today was really hot,’ Stewart said of the race, which saw temperatures in the low to mid-80s. ‘It was a really long race. I was on vacation all last week, so I didn’t get to train as much as I would have liked to. So, I felt like I had a disadvantage for this week. It was kind of a hard race. The start was pretty good. I went out pretty fast with everyone. The second mile just felt really long. It kind of killed me, I guess. I felt like my times were OK.’
Stewart had a plan of staying with Sorg and the other Floyd Central runners.
‘That was kind of my hope, to stay with them, because last week they didn’t race their top two girls,’ she said. ‘I was hoping to kind of stay with them, and I did, so I’m happy with it.’
Besides Sorg and Liddle, Floyd Central’s Chlose Loftus was sixth (19:51.1), Sydney Baxter eighth (20:16.2), Faith Barba ninth (20:33.4), Jacqueline Owings 10th (20:43.7) and Natalie Clare 13th (21:00.7).
Corydon Central made the semi-state team cut with a third-place finish, while North Harrison missed by one spot, finishing sixth. For Corydon Central, besides Stewart, Emily Armstrong was 11th (20:53.5), Sarah Bailey 15th (21:11.1), Brianna Medcalf 26th (22:06.3) and Elisabeth Thomas 61st (24:57.5).
Perry Central’s Elizabeth Dauby made the semi-state cut, finishing 20th in 21:30.9, and Crawford County’s Gabbie Gaines was right behind in 21st (21:34.6). North Harrison put two runners into semi-state, with Sadie Rothrock finishing 25th (22:03.3) and Cassidy Thompson 27th (22:11.6).
‘I got what I was seeded for,’ Dauby said. ‘It was pretty close. I was focused on the Jasper girls and Gabbie. We’ve run together the whole season, so I was more focused on them. … I had no energy at the end. All the way through to the second hill it’s where it hit me at the end. The heat made a big difference. It was harder to breathe with the hot weather because it was so muggy and stuffy.’
‘My body was ready, but I was so nervous,’ Gaines said. ‘I just broke down. I wanted to focus on Perry Central’s Dauby. I wanted to focus on being by her and getting up to her. At halfway, I felt dead, but, then, there were so many people cheering me on throughout the race I couldn’t stop, so I just kept on pushing through. When we were in the woods, we were in a group. When we got out, we were separating and I tried to stay with them.’
Saturday’s semi-state will be at the Brown County School Eagle Park with the boys’ race starting at 11:30 a.m. and the girls’ race at approximately 12:15. Admission is $5.

Boys’ team scores ‘ 1. Tell City 53, 2. Christian Academy of Indiana 54, 3. Floyd Central 116, 4. Heritage Hills 130, 5. Jasper 154, 6. Jeffersonville 166, 7. New Albany 166, 8. Northeast Dubois 176, 9. Southridge 184, 10. Corydon Central 199.
Boys ‘ individual results ‘ 1. Tyler Stidam (CAI) 15:43.5, 2. Mitchell Hopf (HH) 16:00.8, 3. Caleb Futter (CAI) 16:02.2, 4. Noah Hufnagel (HH) 16:02.3, 5. Leo Simpson (TC) 16:21.8, 6. Thomas Simpson (TC) 16:23.8, 7. Nate Kaiser (TC) 16:24.0, 8. Bryce Dunn (CAI) 16:40.4, 9. Jackson Miller (J) 16:54.5, 10. David Heinemann (FC) 16:57.7.
Boys’ 10 qualifying individuals from non-advancing teams ‘ 11. Alexander Wallingford (NA), 13. Dylan Bland (SR), 14. Noah Rothrock (North Harrison), 15. Blaze Abner (Cor), 16. Jaydon Arnold (NED), 18. Nathan Schnell (NED), 20. Dustin Luebbehusen (Forest Park), 23. Brennan Schansberg (Jeff), 25. Cameron Giles (SR), 27. Ben Becher (FP).
Girls’ team scores (top five advance) ‘ 1. Floyd Central 25, 2. Forest Park 76, 3. Corydon Central 97, 4. Jasper 119, 5. Heritage Hills 152, 6. North Harrison 162, 7. Loogootee 178, 8. Jeffersonville 188, 9. Crawford County 210, 10. Southridge 220.
Girls’ individual results ‘ 1. Kyley Sorg (FC) 19:27.9, 2. Claire Mehling (FP) 19:31.3, 3. Sydney Liddle (FC) 19:33.6, 4. Caitlin Luecken (HH) 19:41.2, 5. Marcie Stewart (Cor) 19:45.4, 6. Chloe Loftus (FC) 19:51.1, 7. McKenna Cavanaugh (Christian Academy of Indiana) 20:11.0, 8. Sydney Baxter (FC) 20:16.2, 9. Faith Barba (FC) 20:43.7, 10. Jacqueline Owings (FC) 20:43.7.
Girls’ 10 qualifying individuals from non-advancing teams ‘ 7. McKenna Cavanaugh, 16. Kalea Fleming (Lgt), 17. Olivia Hawkins (NA), 18. Natalie Boesing (Providence), 20. Elizabeth Dauby (Perry Central), 21. Gabbie Gaines (CrCo), 22. Shelby Livingston (Northeast Dubois), 25. Sadie Rothrock (NH), 27. Cassidy Thompson (NH), 30. Alexandra Hogue (NA).