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Floyd sweeps; CC’s Stewart, NH’s Wenning punch tickets

Floyd sweeps; CC’s Stewart, NH’s Wenning punch tickets
Floyd sweeps; CC’s Stewart, NH’s Wenning punch tickets
North Harrison freshman Jacob Wenning runs to a 15th-place finish at the Crawford County cross-country sectional to earn a spot in this weekend's Brown County semi-state. Photos By Wade Bell

Just like they did last week at the Crawford County cross-country sectional, the Floyd Central Lady Highlanders and Highlanders cleaned house with a sweep of the Crawford County Regional Saturday afternoon. Also just like they did at the sectional, Floyd Central’s Sydney Liddle dominated the girls’ race and Christian Academy of Indiana’s Caleb Futter ran away with the boys’ championship by wide margins.
‘It was a huge day,’ Floyd Central girls’ coach Carl Hook said. ‘Obviously, the weather, we keep looking forward to September and October. It didn’t really break much in September, but we got to October and the weather helped us run faster and feel better.’
‘I think they really ran a really smart race,’ Tim Korte, Floyd Central’s boys’ coach, said. ‘They said they were buried a little bit at the beginning. They said they were in the 20s. They said they kept hearing the number get smaller and smaller, so they ran a really smart race out here in really ideal conditions. The weather was great today.’
With temperatures in the low-40s, Liddle launched her attack of the course at the gun and immediately went to the lead followed by Corydon Central’s Marcie Stewart, Forest Park’s Claire Mehling in third and Jasper’s Andi VanMeter fourth. By the half-way point, Liddle was well ahead of the field, with Mehling in second followed closely by Christian Academy of Indiana’s McKenna Cavanaugh.
At the finish, Liddle crossed the line all by herself, winning in a time of 18 minutes, 44.5 seconds. VanMeter made a big charge on the last part of the race to finish second, less than two seconds ahead of Cavanaugh. Forest Park’s Ellie Hall moved up into the fourth spot, and teammate Mehling rounded out the top five.
‘I think the weather really helped,’ Liddle, a junior, said of the chilly conditions. ‘I like running in the cool weather. I knew (Mehling), last year she went out really fast, so I was expecting to stay behind her for the first mile, but I ended up leading it.
‘I was really nervous because I knew the conditions were going to be a lot better, and I knew everyone was going to run a lot better,’ she said. ‘I didn’t really know how the race was going to go. I was really pleased with how it went.’
All seven of the Lady Highlanders’ runners finished in the top 17 with 38 points, beating out Forest Park (66 points). Jaydon Cirincione was seventh in 19:28.0, Lillian Pearce ninth (19:43.2), Sydney Baxter 10th (19:50.8), Carley Conway 12th (20:09.1), Chloe Loftus, in her first race of the season due to an injury, 16th (20:22.7) and Natalie Clare 17th (20:33.0).
Hook said it will be a different situation at semi-state with his team looking more at places.
‘We come down here and race the course, and up there we race the crowd,’ Hook said. ‘It’s just a flat course, so we have to pick out places in the crowd for everybody. You’re in No. 3. You’re in No. 10. You’re in No. 15. We try to get those spots and make sure we get lined up in those areas.
‘This year, with four teams being all even, us, the two Bloomingtons and Columbus North, we’re all even, so it’s going to be an interesting race. It’s going to be a lot of fun next week, for sure. We’re really looking forward to it. Every week is to be racing next week.’
Corydon Central’s Stewart finished in the 11th spot in a time of 20:00.7 and will run in this week’s semi-state at Brown County. The Lady Panthers didn’t have a good day team-wise, finishing ninth with 206 points.
‘That was not a fun race,’ Stewart, a junior, said. ‘At first, I went out pretty fast and I went down … and then everything hurt. I just couldn’t breathe.
‘I knew we couldn’t stay with (Liddle), but we knew with our start blocks we needed to get out fast to get a good position at the turn,’ she said. ‘I just kind of went for it, and we went kind of out at the same-ish pace. She just kept going. She’s so good. I just tried to stay in that top pack. I stayed with her for a little bit, and then people just started passing me. I tried to go with them. I just had a bad race, I guess.’
Stewart said it will be different not having her team running with her at Brown County.
‘We didn’t get out as a team, which I’m pretty upset about, so we would be talking about it as a team to figure out what we were going to do,’ she said. ‘I guess individually go out fast again. I feel like I do better when I go out fast and try to stay fast. So, get out strong and try to stay with the front pack.’
For Corydon Central, Lexi Orme was 41st (22:38.4), Sarah Bailey 57th (23:50.7), Jillian Wise 65th (24:18.0), Emily Armstrong 74th (25:47.0), Emily Bruce 80th (27:25.2) and Sarah Grimes 81st (29:00.5).
Crawford County’s Gabi Gaines was the last runner to earn a spot in this weekend’s semi-state at Brown County. Gaines finished 29th, covering the 5,000 meters in 21:35.0.
‘I’m lovin’ it,’ Gaines said of the cooler weather. ‘In the beginning, we started out fast and I was supposed to stay with Corydon’s No. 2 (Lexi Orme). Around the woods area, I got beside her and I paced her for a little bit, but I felt like I could go faster. So, then I just took off and I just started pacing myself, and it felt really good. I’m feeling really fresh.’
Gaines is hoping for a better result at Brown County this year by using last year’s first-time experience.
‘Last year, I didn’t do very good because it was my first time,’ the junior said. ‘This year, I’m going to go up there and my mind is going to be ready for the race. Up there, it’s a whole lot flatter where here we have hills and a lot of turns. I’m hoping my time will drop because of the flat.’
North Harrison freshman Blaine Whittaker was 40th (22:35.0), while South Central rookie Macey Kidd was 62nd (24:03.4).
The field in the boys’ race was more tightly packed going into the first turn, with runners spread five- and six-wide through the turn. Christian Academy’s Futter immediately went to the front with both Tell City and Floyd Central runners fighting to stay close. Midway through the race, Futter had established a significant lead. Tell City’s Nate Kaiser was second, and Heritage Hills’ Mitchel Hopf was two steps behind in third. Forest Park’s Spencer Wolf was in fourth, and Jasper’s Drew O’Neil was in fifth.
At the finish, Futter won in a time of 15:44.1, with Kaiser second just over 20 seconds behind in 16:04.3. Hopf finished third in 16:06.3, with Jasper’s Jackson Miller moving up to finish fourth in 16:25.9 and Wolfe finishing fifth in 16:32.
Floyd Central put its first five runners in the top 16, with Luke Heinemann finishing 11th (16:34.0), David Heinemann eighth (16:40.9), Hunter Griffin 10th (16:43.9), Ross Ellis 13th (16:58.3) and Weston Naville 16th (17:03.2). Mason Stocke was 27th (17:39.0) for the Highlanders, and Justin McWilliams was 38th (17:55.9). The Highlanders finished with 50 points, winning by 43 points over runner-up Forest Park.
‘This is a good day,’ Korte said. ‘It’s the best race of the year for us so far. We were coming in for the win and trying to make a good showing.’
Luke Heinemann said his team went with the pack concept as a strategy as a mind game for the other teams.
‘We ran a lot better,’ Heinemann said. ‘We just thought going in that we had to be stronger than last week. We thought it would be easier to just pack it up and run together the whole time. We were just trying to pass as many people as we could. It’s mentally draining when a pack of three catches you, so we were trying to use that to our advantage.’
Korte said he will ease up on his team during practice this week to have them ready for Brown County.
‘We will have the first week of backing off a little bit,’ he said. ‘I’ll have them back off the long run. This will be the first one where we don’t have an official long run. We’ll back off the mileage quite a bit. We’ll try to be a little fresher for semi-state but also knowing we have full intentions of going an extra week.’
North Harrison’s Jacob Wenning was among the group of 10 to qualify individually for Saturday’s semi-state. The Cougars’ freshman finished 15th in a time of 17:02.5. Teammate Chase Long was 61st in 18:50.8.
‘It feels pretty good,’ Wenning said. ‘(The plan) was to go out and PR. I could go out a lot faster and make better times. I was trying to break under 17 minutes, and I got 17:01.’
South Central had four individuals compete at regional, led by 40th-place finisher Maddox Baker in 17:59.7. The Rebels also sent out Gavin Schweitzer (69th, 19:22.9), Preston Martin (72nd, 19:48.5) and Jude Baker (75th, 19:55.2).
Corydon Central’s individual competitors were Bryce Weber (43rd, 18:03.7), Zach Hougland (51st, 18:27.8) and Brian Sharp (70th, 19:36.6).
The girls will run first Saturday morning at Brown County starting at 11:30. The boys’ race will follow about 45 minutes later.
Girls’ team scores (Top 5 to semi-state): 1. Floyd Central 39, 2. Forest Park 66, 3. Jasper 74, 4. Heritage Hills 131, 5. Perry Central 148, 6. Tell City 164, 7. Christian Academy of Indiana 182, 8. Corydon Central 188, 9. Crawford County 195, 10. New Albany DQ*.
Girl’ individual results: 1. Sydney Liddle (FC) 18:44.6, 2. Andi VanMeter (Jspr) 19:02.9, 3. McKenna Cavanaugh (CAI) 19:04.6, 4. Ellie Hall (FP) 19:20.1; 5. Claire Mehling (FP) 19:21.2, 6. Alyssa Skorge (Jspr) 19:26.9, 7. Jaydon Cirincione (FC) 19:28.0, 8. Jaelynn Etienne (PC) 19:29.5, 9. Lillian Pearce (FC) 19:43.2, 10. Sydney Baxter (FC) 19:50.8, 11. Marcie Stewart (Cor) 20:00.7, 12. Carley Conway (FC) 20:09.1, 13. Olivia Hawkins (NA) 20:14.3, 14. Caitlin Leuken (HH) 20:15.0, 15. Katie Winkler (HH) 20:21.3, 16. Chloe Loftus (FC) 20:22.7, 17. Natalie Clare (FC) 20:33.0, 18. Josie Berg (FP) 20:36.6, 19. Natalie Boesing (Prov) 20:43.4, 20. Kelsea Skorge (Jspr) 21:03.2.
Girls’ individuals advancing from non-qualifying teams: 3. McKenna Cavanaugh (CAI) 19:04.6, 11. Marcie Stewart (Cor) 20:00.7, 13. Olivia Hawkins (NA) 20:14.3, 19. Natalie Boesing (Prov) 20:43.4, 24. Shelby Livingston (NED) 21:12.7, 25. Jill Kaiser (TC) 21:16.6, 26. Kalea Fleming (Loog) 21:21.7, 27. Brooklyn Tretter (SR) 21:25.4, 29. Gabi Gaines (CC) 21:35.0, 30. Alexandra Hogue (NA) 21:41.5.
Boys’ team scores (Top 5 to semi-state): 1. Floyd Central 50, 2. Tell City 93, 3. New Albany 105, 4. Jasper 108, 5. Christian Academy of Indiana 134, 6. Heritage Hills 144, 7. Forest Park 174, 8. Providence 179, 9. Borden 191, 10. Southridge 202.
Boys’ individual results: 1. Caleb Futter (CAI) 15:44.1, 2. Nate Kaiser (TC) 16:04.3, 3. Mitchel Hopf (HH) 16:06.8, 4. Jackson Miller (Jspr) 16:25.9, 5. Spenser Wolf (FP) 16:32.0, 6. Luke Heinemann (FC) 16:34.0, 7. Evan Heitz (CAI) 16:37.3, 8. David Heinemann (FC) 16:40.9, 9. Angelo Gonzalez Cordova (NA) 16:42.8, 10. Hunter Griffin (FC) 16:43.9, 11. Drew O’Neal (Jspr) 16:50.7, 12. Nathan Schnell (NED) 16:53.1, 13. Ross Ellis (FC) 16:58.3, 14. Alexander Wallingford (NA) 17:00.4, 15. Jacob Wenning (NH) 17:02.5, 16. Weston Naville (FC) 17:03.2, 17. Dylan Bland (SR) 17:04.9, 18. Kaden Chestnut (TC) 17:07.5, 19. Gavin Just (Bor) 17:21.3, 20. Nick Brinkman (HH) 17:24.1.
Boys’ individuals advancing from non-qualifying teams: 3. Mitchel Hopf (HH) 16:06.8, 12. Nathan Schnell (NED) 16:53.1, 15. Jacob Wenning (NH) 17:02.5, 17. Dylan Bland (SR) 17:04.9, 19. Gavin Just (Bor) 17:21.3. 21. Justin Curtis (SV) 17:27.7, 22. Sterling Mikel (Bor) 17:27.1, 23. Thomas Gaines (Prov) 17:31.8, 26. Pierce Brinkman (NED) 17:35.1.

New Albany DQ’d
The New Albany girls’ team was disqualified for using three ineligible participants in the Crawford County Sectional and Regional. The Bulldogs placed fifth at regional (the final qualifying spot) but were replaced by Perry Central once points were retabulated.
Corydon Central, meanwhile, is now considered the runner-up at sectional due to the disqualification of the Bulldogs.