Floyd sweeps X-C sectional
Wade Bell, Sports Writer
When the Patoka Lake and Hoosier Hills athletic conferences ran their cross-country meets on the Crawford County High School course last week, the course was dry and fast for the teams. All of that changed, however, as at least two inches of rain fell on the area just before Saturday’s sectional run. The soggier conditions created slower times, but it wasn’t enough to stop the Floyd Central boys’ and girls’ teams from sweeping the event and taking home the sectional championship hardware.
“It was sloppy,” said Floyd Central boys’ coach Tim Korte. “The course was different today. We got a lot of rain this week, so they probably weren’t able to work on it. It doesn’t look like it was horribly slow. I already know that at least one person PRed. Nate (Wheatley) had a really, really good day. He was faster on this course today than when it was dry.”
South Central’s Maddox Baker had a plan going into the boys’ race, which was to stay just behind the leaders in the early going, which he expected to be the Floyd Central team. But, the Highlanders were running on a different plan, and Baker soon found himself running alone at the front of the field.
“Before the race, I wasn’t sure what everybody was going to do and I was going to just sit behind them,” Baker said. “Five or six of us were all within five or six seconds of each other, so I was, hopefully, going to sit behind them and then just see if I could make a move on the second mile on the hill and see if I could get around them and get away from them. All of that went out the door when I started.”
Korte said the Highlanders’ plan was to pack run to help pull the slower runners closer to the front.
“The top four guys were doing a workout and the last three were racing all out,” Korte said. “It was kind of like everybody was having a buddy with them to pull them along to get a good time. It looked really good out there.”
By the halfway point, Baker was well ahead of the rest of the field with Floyd Central’s Will Conway running in the second spot pulling teammate Noah Nifong along with twins Aidan and Aaron Lord, of New Albany, right behind them. At the finish, Baker was still by himself, winning in a time of 16 minutes, 36.1 seconds. The Lord brothers pushed by Conway and Nifong with Aidan second and Aaron third. Conway was fourth, and Providence’s Ben Kelly got by Nifong in the last few meters for fifth.
“It was kind of tough,” Baker said. “I was by myself the entire time. Everybody else tempoed, so I was alone. I was just trying to work the corners and the hills to see if I could keep a pace going through the course. I had no clue. I just took off and nobody went with me, so I was like I might as well keep on going and try to get away from them now and see if I can’t hold on to it.”
“There was water everywhere,” said the South Central senior. “I feel pretty dirty. All of the bridges were super slick. They tried to fix it in spots and dumping some lime out, but it was all smashed down in water holes and everywhere. The course wasn’t in very good condition, but you can’t really blame them when you get two to three inches of rain before it.”
The Highlanders put all seven of their runners in the top 15 to finish with a total of 38 points to win the team title over runner-up New Albany. Borden finished third to advance, and South Central finished fourth as a team. Corydon Central also moved on finishing fifth.
In the girls’ race the Lady Highlanders also had a pack strategy planned for most of the race. Corydon Central’s Addison Applegate and Erika Valdivieso broke to the front at the gun with Floyd Central’s Savanna Liddle and Kaitlyn Stewart just a few steps behind followed closely by the rest of the field.
At the halfway point, the Lady Highlanders had six of their seven runners in the top eight, along with Applegate and Providence’s Maci Hoskins, all bunched together. Shortly afterward, the Floyd Central group broke up with Liddle blasting out to the front. At the finish, Liddle was by herself, winning in a time of 20 minutes, 12.6 seconds. Stewart was 20 seconds back in second with teammates Emerson Elliott third and Hallie Mosier fourth. Applegate was fifth.
“We decided to pack-run the first two miles and stay with the Corydon and Providence girls,” said Liddle. “Then, at the two-mile mark, we decided to race and take off. … Me and Kaitlyn, we felt good but it got hotter, so the last mile we definitely felt the heat.”
“It was a little muddy and it wasn’t as shady as I thought it was, so the heat was definitely getting to me,” Stewart said. “ … We have one of the best teams we’ve had in a long time, so we’re excited how we’ll do as we’re progressing through the tournament.”
One person missing from the Floyd Central pack was their No. 1 runner, Jaydon Cirincione, who suffered a hamstring injury during last week’s practice sessions.
“We’re hoping she will be back for regionals,” Liddle said. “We’re still going to stay with our hard workouts and still work the same. We’ll be keeping our mileage the same and working hard this week. We’re hoping to come back out next week and race the whole thing and hope for a good course and good times.”
Applegate, who finished fifth in 20:50.8, said breaking up the Floyd Central runners was her main objective. Floyd Central missed having a perfect score by one point, finishing with 16 points to win the team title. Corydon Central was second with 53 points with New Albany third, Borden fourth and North Harrison fifth to advance on to Saturday’s Crawford County regional.
“My goal was to break up Floyd and deal with the Providence girl, Maci (Hoskins),” Applegate said. “I worked hard throughout the race, especially through the middle. That was my goal. I wanted to get out fast and be steady through the middle and then see what I had at the end.”
“I knew they were going to break away, so I wanted to stay ahead of the second group coming in,” she said. “I wanted to try to get a good place and time. I felt strong, and I’m proud of how I did. I’m really happy on how I performed.”
“They ran good,” Floyd Central coach Carl Hook said of his Lady Highlanders team. “They stuck to the game plan this week the same as last week, basically pack it up for a couple of miles and take care of our legs a little bit and then get the last mile hard and then trying to be ready for semi-state and state.”
Hook said Cirincione’s status will be checked on a day-by-day basis.
Boys’ Scores (Top 5 to regional) – Floyd Central 38, New Albany 75, Borden 93, South Central 107, Corydon Central 124, Providence 137, North Harrison 153, Christian Academy 186, Paoli 258.
Boys’ Results – 1. Maddox Baker (SCnt) 16:36.1, 2. Aidan Lord (NA) 16:59.2, 3. Aaron Lord (NA) 17:01.3, 4. Will Conway (FC) 17:25.3, 5. Ben Kelly (Prov) 17:26.3, 6. Noah Nifong (FC) 17:29.0, 7. Nathan Wheatley (FC) 17:33.9, 8. Weston Naville (FC) 17:34.7, 9. Benjamain Jacobs (NA) 17:41.9, 10. Sterling Mikel (Bor) 17:43.0, 11. Jacob Wenning (NH) 17:44.0, 12. Booker LaHue (Cory) 17:44.7, 13. Mitchel Meier (FC) 17:44.8, 14. Adam Heitz (FC) 18:06.3, 15. Luca Cirincione (FC) 18:13.0, 16. Alexander Pinckney (CAI) 18:19.3, 17. Nolan Flispart (Bor) 18:26.6, 18. Preston Liebert (SCnt) 18:29.9, 19. Lody Cheatham (Bor) 18:33.8. 20. Gavin Thompson (NA) 18:34.0.
Qualifiers from Non-Qualifying Teams – 5. Ben Kelly (Prov), 11. Jacob Wenning (NH), 16. Alexander Pinckney (CAI), 21. Drew Kelly (Prov), 22. Oxiel Castro Badillo (NH), 26. Adrian Nannen (Lnsvl), 30. Klayton Grizzel (CC), 32. Will Harper (Prov), 33. Garrett Huber (Prov), 36. Mason Taylor (CAI).
Girls’ Scores (Top 5 to regional) – Floyd Central 16, Corydon Central 53, New Albany 97, Borden 107, North Harrison 146, South Central 154, Providence 166, Crawford County 193.
Girls’ Results – 1. Savanna Liddle (FC) 20:12.6, 2. Kaitlyn Stewart (FC) 20:32.9, 3. Emerson Elliott (FC) 20:44.7, 4. Hallie Mosier (FC) 20:49.9, 5. Addison Applegate (Cory) 20:50.8, 6. Meredith Bielefeld (FC) 20:56.5, 7. Maci Hoskins (Prov)21:10.4, 8. Erika Valdivieso (Cory) 21:18.0, 9. Alice Main (FC) 21:29.4, 10. Gabby Holland (Cory) 22:16.3, 11. Lauren Clark (NA) 22:25.7, 12. Morgan Adams (Cory) 22:34.1, 13. Megan Carey (FC) 22:41.0, 14. Priscilla Byrd (NA) 23:16.8, 15. Kaela Rose (Bor) 23;17.9, 16. Hannah Albertson (Pa) 23:19.3, 17. Skyler Childress (Bor) 23:28.5, 18. Lila Endres (NA) 23:46.1, 19. Anna Nash (CAI) 23:46.3, 20. Olivia Martin (Cory) 23:48.4.
Qualifiers from Non-Qualifying Teams – 7. Maci Hoskins (Prov), 16. Hannah Albertson (Pa), 19. Anna Nash (CAI), 21. Melonie Kopp (CC), 24. Emilee Snyder (Lnsvl), 25. Allison Slaughter (Lnsvl), 26. Amber Watson (SCnt), 30. Madelynn Lutz (CAI), 31. Jenna Haas (SCnt), 32. Cailyn Baechle (Pa).