Floyd Central runners sweep X-C regional
Wade Bell, Contributing Writer
The Floyd Central girls’ and boys’ cross-country teams took the Crawford County regional in a clean sweep Saturday on the Mike Esarey Cross-Country Course winning over a nine-team field. The Corydon Central boys’ and girls’ teams also advanced together for the first time in school history and will compete in Saturday’s semi-state at Brown County.
In the girls’ race, Floyd Central’s Jaydon Cirincione and Jasper’s Andi VanMeter led the field through the first turn at a fast pace. The front pair ran together through the first mile and into the woods. Cirincione began to pull away slightly near the halfway point with a 10-meter lead. VanMeter fought to catch up through the second lap of the course, but Cirincione had the stronger finish, going on to win in a personal best time of 18 minutes, 20.5 seconds.
“I feel a little better than last week,” Cirincione said. “Last week was super hard, but I kind of knew what I was doing so it didn’t hurt as bad. It’s a tough course … but I was able to go through and I was able to handle the Jasper girl, Andi. It really helps because we kind of pushed each other throughout the race. It was a lot easier than being by myself and solo.”
“This course is normally 30 to 40 seconds slower than (Brown County’s) Eagle Park,” said Floyd Central girls’ coach Jeff Liddle. “We had a couple of PRs today. Jaydon for sure, her 18:20 is the No. 2 fastest Superchick time in the history of Floyd Central’s girls’ 5k, which is unbelievable. That’s only six seconds behind my daughter (Sydney).”
Floyd Central finished with a low score of 27 points for the team win with Jasper runner-up at 52 points. Savanna Liddle ran second for the Superchicks, finishing third in 19:11.4. Kaitlyn Stewart was sixth (19:40.4), Natalie Clare ninth (20:18.1), Sydney Baxter 10th (20:25.7), Ella Nerafus 17th (21:12.7) and Meredith Bielefeld 18th (21:14.7).
Baxter said the team plan was to pick off certain members of the Jasper team as the race progressed. The Floyd Central senior made a pass on Jasper’s Ally Wigand in the last 100 meters to steal one of those points.
Liddle said the plan for Saturday’s semi-state will be for all of his runners to run personal bests on Brown County’s faster, flat course.
“I think all seven of these girls will PR next Saturday,” said Liddle. “Our goal is to beat Bloomington North. At Bloomington, they’ve beat us twice and we’ve beat them once. We want to be as close as we can to Columbus North. Their No. 5 girl is similar to Savanna (Liddle), so it’s not real feasible for us to be able to beat them.”
The Corydon Central Lady Panthers also had a good day, finishing third in the team standings for a trip to semi-state. Emily Armstrong finished 13th in a time of 20:53.5 to lead the Lady Panthers. Addison Applegate was 16th in 21:08.8, Emily Gunther 20th in 21:15.4, Olivia Martin 24th in 21:32.6, Erika Valdivieso 26th in 21:37.0, Morgan Adams in 21:45.2 and Emily Bruce 48th in 23:08.0.
“My strategy for my race was to go out hard then settle into pace,” Armstrong said. “My goal was to keep an eye on Borden’s No. 1 girl, considering she had beaten me by only a few seconds last week. I ended up racing with her and a Floyd girl and was able to pass them in the last half mile of the race, which was exciting.”
Others finishing the day were North Harrison’s Blaine Whittaker in 38th (22:21.8), Arianna Gehm 57th (24:11.3) and Helene Nobile 75th (26:27.5). Crawford County’s Melonie Kopp finished 26th (23:01.8) and Kloee Grizzel 73rd (26:26.1). Lanesville’s Samantha Lawyer was 67th (25:41.4), Haley Gowens 74th (26:26.8) and Mackenzie Lewis 76th (26:51.8).
In the boys’ race, the Highlanders ran a tactical race to secure the win in the team standings. At the start, Corydon Central’s Camden Marshall went to the front with South Central’s Maddox Baker falling in behind. Forest Park’s Spenser Wolf joined in the battle as did Jasper’s Abe Eckman and Floyd Central’s Weston Naville and William Conway.
At the halfway point, Eckman and Wolf were pacing each other at the front with Marshall third. Baker had fallen slightly back as had Naville. At the finish, Eckman got the win over Wolf in a time of 15 minutes, 32.3 seconds with Wolf second in 15:34.1. Marshall finished third in 15:46.3, and Naville was fourth in 16:07.4. Conway finished out the top five in a time of 16:18.2.
“I was just planning on keying off of Spenser,” Marshall said. “I figured it would go out hot because that’s how he likes to run. I honestly just got flat-out dropped at two-ish miles, maybe a little before that. Abe and Spenser ran great today, and they just flat-out dropped me.”
The Corydon Central senior said he would have to run a tougher race at the Brown County course.
“I just have to grind out that first 2-1/2 miles,” he said. “I know that if I’m in a race with 400 or 800 left, I believe in myself to get it. I just have to put myself in that position. I can’t let myself get dropped off that early in the race.”
Naville said the Floyd Central plan was to hold back during the first lap then pick up the pace the second time around.
“I was pretty conservative and started out a little far back but made it up slowly,” said the Floyd Central senior. “I kind of pulled my team with me. We had some certain runners to go off of, but it was mainly not go out too fast and take it easy the first mile and then really move the second loop of the course. There was such a gap between me and the top three there wasn’t a whole lot to be made up, so I just had to stay where I was.”
Behind Naville and Conway for the Highlanders, Justin McWilliams was 13th (16:41.4), Hunter Griffin 14th (16:43.3), Nicholas Gordon 16th (16:46.0) and Joseph Meier 17th (16:47.7). Adam Heitz was 19th in 16:55.1.
“They looked good,” Floyd Central coach Tim Korte said of his team’s win. “We’ve got more, obviously. Our No. 1, obviously, Hunter, didn’t have a good day. He said his calf was really hurting. It was hurting a while ago, but this is the first race he’s decided to wear spikes all year so I think that really flared it up. That didn’t make us look near as good with our front three where they could and should be.”
“It will open up at Brown County,” he said. “There will be way more room. That won’t be a problem. They like starting at 5:10 or so we still are confident. We’re still happy with how we looked. It was a really nice day, and the course was in great shape and the weather was really nice so it was fun.”
Corydon Central cracked the top five in the team standings, finishing fifth to qualify for Saturday’s semi-state. Along with Marshall, Corydon Central’s Zach Houghland was 28th, Trey Saulman 38th, Bryce Weber 39th, Brian Sharp 58th, Chase Vanlaningham 68th and Bryson Rowley 74th.
“Waiting to find out the result was nerve-wracking,” said Armstrong. “We had already suspected that the girls’ team made it out, but all of the nerves were for the boys. Last year, the boys missed making it out by one spot, placing sixth. This year, they came back with a chip on their shoulders and were determined. I’m so blessed to be able to be a part of making school history and experiencing this special moment with my team.”
South Central’s Baker made the cut for semi-state, finishing 12th in a time of 16 minutes, 31.8 seconds. North Harrison’s Jacob Wenning and Oxiel Castro also advanced, finishing 21st (17:11.9) and 22nd (17:16.1), respectively.
Other runners finishing were South Central’s Preston Liebert (29th), Cody Liebert (46th), Jack Smelz (77th) and Preston Martin (79th). Crawford County’s Klayton Grizzel was 56th, and North Harrison’s Owen Kimmel was 80th.
Girls’ Scores (Top 5 Advance to Semi-State) — Floyd Central 27, Jasper 52, Corydon Central 94, Forest Park 114, Heritage Hills 143, Northeast Dubois 144, Borden 172, Southridge 187, North Harrison 247.
Girls’ Results — 1. Jaydon Cirincione (FC) 18:20.5, 2. Andi VanMeter (Jspr) 18:31.9, 3. Savanna Liddle (FC) 19:11.4, 4. Katie Winkler (HH) 19:22.3, 5. Kelsea Skorge (Jspr) 19:32.2, 6. Kaitlyn Stewart (FC) 19:40.4, 7. Maci Hoskins (Prov) 20:10.6, 8. Ellie Hall (FP) 20:12.4, 9. Natalie Clare (FC) 20:18.1, 10. Sydney Baxter (FC) 20:25.7, 11. Ally Wigland (Jspr) 20:27.5, 12. Sara Livingston (NED) 20:33.3, 13. Emily Armstrong (Cory) 20:53.5, 14. Amanda Schnell (Jspr) 21:01.6, 15. Kaylie Magallanes (Bor) 21:07.0.
Individuals Advancing from Non-Qualifying Teams — 7. Maci Hoskins (Prov) 20:10.5, 12. Sara Livingston (NED) 20:33.3, 15. Kayla Magallanes (Bor) 21:07.0, 25. Jordan Schwiekarth (NED) 21:35.2, 27. Paige Wildman (NED) 21:39.2, 28. Evie Hasenour (SR) 21:39.6, 30. Kiara Bundy (TC) 21:43.8, 34. Emma Blessing (SR) 22:00.5, 35. Lila Endres (NA) 22:02.0, 36. Joy Coffman (Bor) 22:10.1.
Boys’ Scores (Top 5 Advance to Semi-State) — Floyd Central 49, Jasper 65, New Albany 124, Borden 126, Corydon Central 131, Heritage Hills 146, Forest Park 161, Northeast Dubois 174, South Central 188.
Boys’ Results — 1. Abe Eckman (Jspr) 15:32.3, 2. Spenser Wolf (FP) 15:34.1, 3. Camden Marshall (Cory) 15:46.3, 4. Weston Naville (FC) 16:07.4, 5. William Conway (FC) 16:18.2, 6. Dylan Bland (SR) 16:18.2, 7. Aaron Lord (NA) 16:18.5, 8. Harrison Hulsman (Jspr) 16:21.8, 9. Aidan Lord (NA) 16:26.3, 10. Elliott Buechlein (HH) 16:27.4, 11. Jaryn Weinel (Jspr) 16:31.2, 12. Maddox Baker (SCent) 16:31.8, 13. Justin McWilliams (FC)16:41.4, 14. Hunter Griffin (FC) 16:43.4, 15. Pierce Brinkman (NED) 16:43.8.
Individuals Advancing from Non-Qualifying Teams — 2. Spenser Wolf (FP) 15:34.1, 5. Dylan Bland (SR) 16:18.2, 10. Elliott Buechlein (HH) 16:27.4,12. Maddox Baker (SCent) 16:31.8, 15, Pierce Brinkman (NED) 16:43.8, 18. Alexander Pinckney (CAI) 16:51.3, 21. Jacob Wenning (NH) 17:11.9, 22. Oxiel Castro (NH) 17:16.1, 23. Ben Kelly (Prov) 17:18.1, 24. Bryce Troesch (FP) 17:21.2.