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Corydon Central’s Stewart 71st at chilly championships

Corydon Central’s Stewart 71st at chilly championships
Corydon Central’s Stewart 71st at chilly championships
Corydon Central sophomore Marcie Stewart (center) finishes 71st in her first state cross country finals Saturday, running the 5,000 meters in a time of 19 minutes, 13.4 seconds. Photo by Wade Bell

The 2017 cross country season came to an end at the LaVerne Gibson cross country complex in Terre Haute on a cold, windy Saturday afternoon, and the local teams and individual runners had a good day of the 208 runners in each of the girls’ and boys’ events of the Indiana state finals.
The Tell City Marksmen, who edged out Christian Academy of Indiana by a point in the Crawford County regional, finished eighth as a team with the Warriors of CAI just missing a top-10 finish at 11th. The Lady Highlanders of Floyd Central also had a top-10 finish, placing ninth in the girls’ division of the 24 teams.
In the girls’ race, the Floyd Central Lady Highlanders bunched themselves together for the first long straightaway as Sydney Liddle, Kylie Sorg, Faith Barba and Chloe Loftus ran together with Erica Batliner, Sydney Baxter and Jacqueline Owings a dozen steps behind. Also working to be in the lead group was Christian Academy of Indiana’s McKenna Cavanaugh, Corydon Central’s Marcie Stewart and Forest Park’s Clare Mehling.
Meanwhile up front, defending champion Tyler Schwartz of DeKalb, Phoebe Bates of Carmel and Emma Wilson of Greencastle battled through the first position all the way through the first four kilometers. With one kilometer to go, Bates and Wilson began to pull away from Schwartz. Coming out of the final turn with 400 meters to go, Wilson made a charge and quickly pulled away from Bates. Wilson eventually pulled away to a 100-meter lead and went on to win in a time of 17:45.9. Bates was second in 18 minutes flat, and Schwartz finished third in 18:07.9.
Liddle was the first Lady Highlander to cross the finish line, cracking the top 50 at 41st in a time of 18 minutes, 55.7 seconds.
‘I missed it (being at state) by one last year, so I’m happy that I got to make it this year,’ Liddle said. ‘We went out pretty good, but the first mile was a little slower than I thought it would be. We were in the 5:50’s, and I expected it to be in the 45’s. But then me, Kylie (Sorg), Faith (Barba) and (Christian Academy’s) McKenna (Cavanaugh), we ran the first two miles together. The last mile I felt pretty good and started to pass more people ahead. My goal was to be in the top 50 … My time I was trying to get like 18:40 or 50.’
Cavanaugh just missed a top-50 spot, finishing 54th in a time of 19:08.7 with Sorg just a few places behind in 59th with a time of 19:09.4.
‘Everybody gave their best effort,’ Floyd Central coach Carl Hook said of his team’s 261-point, ninth-place final. ‘We came to take care of business, and that’s what we did.’
Not far behind Sorg was Corydon Central sophomore Stewart, who finished in a cluster of runners in the 71st spot in a time of 19:13.4.
‘I felt like I went out really fast, and then the race felt like it went on so long and it hurt,’ Stewart said. ‘ … I didn’t PR, but it’s my second best time of the season so I’m happy with it. (Coach) Mr. (Kevin) Potter had been talking to us about not staying on the inside, just try to take the shortest route possible. A lot of people try to swerve in, so I just tried to aim straight so I wouldn’t get boxed in.’
Stewart is the first Corydon Central female to reach the state meet in cross country.
‘I want to come again,’ Stewart said. ‘I’m happy with it. I maybe didn’t do as good as I wanted to, but there’s always a way to improve. Hopefully, I can do that my other two high school years.’
Floyd Central’s Barba finished in 77th in a time of 19:16.4.
Forest Park’s Mehling was 87th in 19:24.4 with Floyd Central’s Loftus a spot behind in 88th in a time of 19:25.1. Also for the Lady Highlanders, Batliner was 114th in 19:40.0, Sydney Baxter 142nd in 20:03.3 and Owings 157th in 20:16.2.
The boys ran first, and Christian Academy’s Skylar Stidam and Caleb Futter pushed to join the lead group during the first 900-meter straightaway on the Gibson course. Tell City’s Nate Kaiser and Leo Simpson also joined the fray as the runners headed into the first turn. At the mile, Stidam briefly moved up to second behind leader Gabe Fendel, of Hamilton Southeastern, with Indianapolis Cathedral’s Cole Hocker in third.
‘It was cold, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing,’ Stidam said of the conditions. ‘Sometimes it’s nicer in the cold like that. It was a little windy but not as bad as last year. I’d rather have cold and a little bit of wind than hot out and super windy like last year.’
At two miles, Stidam dropped back to third as Fendel and Hocker battled for the lead. Down the final 400-meter stretch, Fendel charged ahead of Hocker by about 15 steps while Stidam made a charge to challenge Hocker. At one point, with 50 meters to go, both Fendel and Hocker looked over their shoulders to see where their opposition was. Fendel went on to get the win in a time of 15:17.2 with Hocker second in 15:19.5. Stidam finished a close third in 15:23.8 with teammate Futter finishing sixth in 15:33.7.
‘I put myself in a position where I wanted to be,’ Stidam said after the race. ‘I thought I had (winner) Gabe (Fendel) with about a hundred to go, but that was not quite the case. I didn’t have the kick there at the end, but I’d rather use it in the middle portion of the race than at the end right there. If I’m back in 20th, I don’t have a chance to go get the win. All glory goes to God today. He’s the one who’s blessed me with this wonderful talent of running.’
Also finishing for Christian Academy, Bryce Dunn was 59th in 16:19.5, Evan Heitz 140th in 16:55.2, Joseph Hancock 188th in 17:40.6 and Nick Conrad 203rd in 18:25.2 for the team’s 11th-place finish of 292 points.
‘Our team put it out there,’ Stidam said. ‘I’m just proud of everybody today.’
For Tell City’s eighth-place team finish, Nate Kaiser was 17th in 15:49.8, Leo Simpson 29th in 16:05.0, Thomas Simpson 85th in 16:30.2, Alex Ramsey 107th in 16:38.4, Kaden Chestnut 142nd in 16:57.1, Chase Beckort 186th in 17:33.3 and Elliott Reed 201st in 18:14.9 for 258 points.
Heritage Hill’s Noah Hufnagel was 24th in 16:01.5 with teammate Michael Hopf 60th in 16:20.2.

Boys’ Team Scores ‘ Carmel 94, Fishers 152, Westview 171, Valparaiso 200, Indianapolis Cathedral 213, Bloomington South 216, Carroll-Fort Wayne 256, Tell City 258, North Central 281, Avon 281, Christian Academy of Indiana 292, Lowell 321, Penn 347, Crown Point 348, West Lafayette 377, Jennings County 392, Columbus North 393, Fort Wayne Concordia Lutheran 405, Zionsville 440, Chesterton 452, Pendleton Heights 458, McCutcheon 482, Bloomington North 504, West Noble 524.
Girls’ Team Scores ‘ Zionsville 118, Carroll-Fort Wayne 129, Carmel 169, Brebeuf Jesuit 196, Hamilton Southeastern 208, Fishers 209, Brownsburg 251, Bloomington North 257, Floyd Central 261, West Lafayette 264, Lowell 274, Valparaiso 284, Crown Point 336, Penn 373, Fort Wayne Bishop 376, Chesterton 385, Bloomington South 419, Homestead 437, LaPorte 438, Edgewood 442, Evansville Reitz Memorial 469, Fort Wayne Concordia 490, Northridge 520, Columbus North 542.