Runners dodge storms, forest creatures at meet
At the final stages of the Corydon Central Hokum Karem meet last Wednesday, one thing was evident: storms were coming.
Not so evident was a few deer hopping across the course.
As the final pairs of runners were completing the season opening race, a handful of deer pranced out from near the start-finish line at the Corydon course. Oohs and awes joined pointing fingers from spectators and runners who had completed the event for a short moment as the deer quickly ran beyond the practice soccer field and returned to the trees.
It was a brief moment of smiles and laughter as many runners were busy trying to catch their breath on the overcast and humid afternoon.
Five teams competed on the girls’ side, while four went to the line in the boys’ competition. Due to the approaching storms, both genders joined to compete in one race. The Hokum Karem format saw pairs of runners competing as one, alternating one-mile runs apiece for six total miles. In essence, runners were getting the taste of a 5k race but with breaks between miles.
Combining the top two pairs, the winning teams were the Corydon Central girls and the South Central boys.
The host Lady Panthers saw its top finishing group being Sarah Bailey and Lexi Orme, who came across in second place with a combined time of 44 minutes, 18 seconds. Bailey ran her portion of the event in 20:36, the fastest among the Lady Panthers’ group.
‘I like to work on my even pacing, especially on my second lap when I start to get tired,’ Bailey said of the strategy behind the Hokum Karem. ‘It helps me pick things up and keep an even pace throughout the race. The last lap is about getting to the last half mile and finishing as well as you can.’
The Corydon Central pair of Emily Armstrong and Jillian Wise ran a combined time of 46:44. Marcie Stewart, a state qualifier in 2017, sat out the race with an illness.
‘I ran over the summer and worked on building my core,’ Bailey said. ‘My goal is to get to state this year. I got hurt at regional last year, so I wasn’t able to run at semi-state. This year my goal is to go to state not only individually, but as a team.’
Bailey said the team is a good group of friends.
‘We get along and spend time with each other outside of practice,’ she said. ‘We all have the same goals, and we want to pursue state.’
South Central entered three duos with the best performance coming from Macey Kidd and Jenna Haas, running in 54:20. Chloe Kidd/Lily Grinar (59:05) and Lily Boley/Marie Goodwin (1:04:49) also competed.
North Harrison sent out one team ” Sadie Rothrock and Blaine Whittaker ” who turned in a solid performance. They placed third overall with a combined time of 44:52. Whittaker, despite taking a fall during the race, ran a time of 21:04 for her three miles.
South Central had four runners break the 20-minute mark to help the Rebels take the boys’ title. Running a time of 38:15 as a pair was Gavin Schweitzer and Maddox Baker. Just behind them was Jude Baker and Cody Liebert, who went in 38:23.
‘We have nine runners this year, a pretty good team,’ Baker said. ‘We have five runners who can go under 19 minutes. We have two more that can go under 20, so it’s really good for us. Last year, we only had two kids that could go under 19.’
Baker posted the fasted splits as an individual in the Rebels’ uniform, going in 18:36.
‘I wanted to try and get out in front because I knew we’d be pretty good as a team at this event,’ Baker said. ‘I basically had the goal of dropping the first-place runner from Corydon. My teammate was good enough to get the job done. The last two laps I tried to stay in first or second.’
Jon Carter and Shaye Terry also formed a team for South Central, running in 44:13.
For Corydon Central, freshman Bryce Weber ran the second-fastest overall splits as an individual. His time of 18:07 combined with teammate Lukas Faith put them in at 40:10 overall.
As a team, the Panthers’ best tandem was Bryson Rowley and Dylan Lawson, turning over a time of 40:06. Zach Hougland, who ran an 18:32 in his portions, teamed with Bachman to go in 41:10.
The top overall finishing duos came from Crothersville. Ella Plasse and Kaylyn Holman won the girls’ race in 43:41, while the boys’ went to David Rose and Lane Wienhorst in 36:20.
South Central, with a larger team, is hoping to be a contender in the Southern Athletic Conference.
‘I’d like to win conference this year as a team and individually,’ Baker said. ‘Then at sectional, we’d like to get top five. It feels a lot better trying to compete as a team and not being on some of us individually.’