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Runners push at Cougar Classic

Runners push at Cougar Classic
Runners push at Cougar Classic
South Central harrier Maddox Baker keeps pace with the field Thursday at the Cougar Classic in Ramsey. Baker went on to finish ninth. Photos by Brian Smith
Brian Smith, Sports Editor, [email protected]

Thursday’s Cougar Classic wasn’t used as an easy run or a recovery run.

It was about setting fast times and pushing for positional upgrades on the course.

Runners from area schools felt the thrill of where they ended up by the end of a 5k run on the North Harrison course in the 51st installment of the meet.

“I’m really excited, and it’s only the beginning of the season,” said Crawford County’s Gabi Gaines, who pushed hard for a sixth-place finish, posting a time of 21 minutes, 38.5 seconds. “I know in time I’m going to get better and better. It’s my last year, so I’m pushing myself harder.”

Gaines’ finish was one of many that impressed individuals and coaches.

In the girls’ race, Jasper’s Andi Vanmeter was impressive. The freshman took the lead from the start and never looked back. She widened her lead over the sun-soaked course and finished first with a time of 19:47.

Runners push at Cougar Classic
Corydon Central’s Ryleigh Lisher competes in the Cougar Classic, eventually setting a personal best time of 23:12.3 for the 5k.

Corydon Central’s band of girls came away with a third-place finish, scoring 115 points, just behind Jasper (47) and Northeast Dubois (68).

The Lady Panthers’ were paced by Marcie Stewart, who placed third in 20:53.8. During much of the race, Stewart was locked in a battle with Northeast Dubois’ Jordan Schweikarth, who placed second.

“The girls’ side, Marcie had a great race tonight,” Corydon Central coach Daniel Love said. “We planned to let Vanmeter go, she’s having such a great year, but Marcie settled in to third and jostled for second throughout.”

To help Corydon Central earn third place, Sarah Bailey (22:37.2) placed 16th, Ryleigh Lisher (23:12.3) 25th, Emily Armstrong (23:58.5) 37th, Emily Bruce (24:35.6) 49th, Sada Jones (25:07.7) 58th and Brooklynne Burress (27:55.4) 90th.

“Emily Armstrong was running great in seventh place, but she has had a sinus thing going on and it hit her with a vengeance at the end,” Love said. “She put in a gutsy performance. Sarah Bailey ran well, and Emily Bruce had another PR today. Ryleigh Lisher, our freshman, had a 40- to 50-second PR for her. It was a great day.”

North Harrison came in 11th on the girls’ side with 274 points, led by Sadie Rothrock (24:23.9) in 44th. Also competing for the Lady Cats were Alicia Murphy (48th, 24:34.3), Brook Schultz (60th, 25:11.1), E.V. Wright (75th, 25:58.7), Katie Wise (91st, 27:59.0) and Kylie Witham (106th, 29:03.4).

Gaines’ performance had her all giddy and jumpy after the race in her Crawford County orange.

“I was with Corydon’s No. 2; she was the one I wanted to try to get with and try to beat,” Gaines said. “I stuck with her until a Jasper girl came around us from out of nowhere to pass us, so I started to go with her.”

Putting in mileage and going through hill workouts is what Gaines attributes to her success thus far.

As a team, the Lady Pack were 13th with 299 points with Kloee Grizzel (53rd, 24:55.1), Melonie Kopp (68th, 25:25.5), Hailey Grigsby (107th, 29:12.2) and Jordan Mauck (109th, 29:53.5) competing.

South Central’s girls were 16th (274) with Jenna Haas the top Lady Rebel, running in 25:04.8 for 57th. Teammates Autumn Milliner (64th, 25:15.0), Macey Kidd (95th, 28:21.6), Hannah Cory (100th, 28:35.5) and Lily Grinar (116th, 32:35.2) raced as well.

Lanesville sent out two girls, Haylee Gowens (89th, 27:53.7) and Mackenzie Lewis (93rd, 28:15.4).

On the boys’ side, Jasper took the team title as well, notching 46 points, holding off Eastern (Pekin). Not far back was Corydon Central in fourth with 104. Two Southern Athletic Conference rivals reached the top five with Borden taking third (91) and South Central in fifth (150).

Earning top-10 spots behind overall winner Uriah Guthrie of Eastern (Pekin) (16:11.1) were South Central’s Maddox Baker and Corydon Central’s Camden Marshall.

Baker pushed through fast early fractions to hold for ninth place with a time of 17:08.3.

“I want to get out fast so I don’t get boxed in so I can settle in easier and not worry about traffic,” Baker said. “If you run fast that first mile, I feel like it’s easier to stick with people around you.”

It’s been challenging practices for South Central, according to Baker. The Rebels typically use mid-week meets as training, but they were told to go hard in Ramsey.

“I went out there and ran,” Baker said. “I wanted to get a top 10 and get into the 16s. I got the top 10 and was close to the 16. Hopefully, I’ll get the mid-16s by the end of the year. The main goal is the team. We want to take a shot at getting to semi-state as a team.”

Marshall crossed the line in the top five but was docked time when he later learned he took an inadvertent turn along the backside of the course. His final time was 17:10.2 for 10th place.

“I told Cam that I talked to the officials on what was going on and we didn’t think it happened, but it turns out he cut a post,” Love said. “He’s an honest kid, and that shows the team we have. As proud of I am of our runners, that is the biggest takeaway, Cam stepping up and owning it. He told the official of his mistake.”

On his home course, North Harrison’s Jacob Wenning was just outside the top 10, placing 13th with a time of 17:29.2.

As a team, Corydon Central put its scoring runners inside the top 32. Bryce Weber (17:46.4) and Brian Sharp (17:47.9) finished together in 19th and 20th place, respectively. The Panthers’ Zachary Houghland came in 25th in 18:11.5, while Colin Blackburn (18:36.8) was 32nd.

“Brian Sharp stepped up and ran third for us; it was a PR by about 45 seconds after PRing last week,” Love said. “He ran a 17:46. Colin Blackburn, our No. 5 tonight, I tasked him to go out strong and try to hang with Brian and Zach. He ran a PR by almost a minute. We had good races out of Cam, Zach and Bryce too.”

Rounding out Corydon Central’s fleet were Dylen Lawson (53rd, 19:27.1) and Chase Vanlandingham (83rd, 21:36.2).

South Central’s squad saw Jude Baker (17:37.7) come home in 17th place. The Rebels also sent out Preston Liebert (36th, 18:38.1), Cody Liebert (41st, 18:46.2), Gavin Schweitzer (50th, 19:24.8), Dylan Davis (58th, 19:41.9) and Jack Schmelz (60th, 19:47.0).

The host Cougars placed 10th on the boys’ side with 234 points. Outside of Wenning, Chase Long (18:35.6) was 31st, Oxiel Castro (18:37.7) was 34th, Lucas Miller (21:26.6) was 78th, Adam Couch (22:40.6) was 93rd, Matt Jones (24:09.3) was 102nd and Chase Radcliff (25:54.0) was 114th.

Lanesville was 14th (380) in the team standings, led by Justin Bailey (20:53.8) in 72nd place. Also scoring for Lanesville were Adrien Nannen (77th, 21:09.6), Thomas Elder (79th, 21:28.4), Jacob Kramer (86th, 21:55.8) and Nathan Romeo (98th, 23:05.0).

Crawford County didn’t field a full team. Individually, the Wolfpack sent out Klayton Grizzel (61st, 19:48.1) and Gustyn Wright (95th, 22:52.3).

Boys’ team scores: 1. Jasper 46, 2. Eastern (Pekin) 78, 3. Borden 91, 4. Corydon Central 104, 5. South Central 150, 6. Northeast Dubois 197, 7. Perry Central 198, 8. Brownstown Central 213, 9. Southridge 229, 10. North Harrison 234, 11. Henryville 256, 12. Jeffersonville 300, 13. Scottsburg 360, 14. Lanesville 380, 15. Paoli 472, 16. Cannelton 475, 17. West Washington 485.

Boys’ individual results: 1. Uriah Guthrie (Eastern) 16:11.1, 2. Jackson Miller (Jasper), 3. Pierce Brinkman (Northeast Dubois), 4. Abe Eckman (Jasper), 5. Dylan Bland (Southridge).

Girls’ team scores: 1. Jasper 47, 2. Northeast Dubois 68, 3. Corydon Central 115, 4. Charlestown 135, 5. Borden 149, 6. Perry Central 188, 7. Southridge 214, 8. Brownstown Central 241, 9. Eastern (Pekin) 248, 10. Paoli 256, 11. North Harrison 274, 12. Scottsburg 298, 13. Crawford County 299, 14. Bedford North Lawrence 309, 15. Jeffersonville 325, 16. South Central 374.

Girls’ individual results: 1. Andi Vanmeter (Jasper) 19:47.0, 2. Jordan Schweikarth (Northeast Dubois), 3. Marcie Stewart (Corydon Central), 4. Ashley Wright (Charlestown), 5. Sara Livingston (Northeast Dubois).