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Floyd Central girls 9th, boys 11th

S. Central’s Baker 72nd
Floyd Central girls 9th, boys 11th
Floyd Central girls 9th, boys 11th
South Central’s Maddox Baker (390) battles with LaPorte’s Brayden Sobecki with 50 meters to go in the boys’ race of the state cross-country finals Saturday. Baker finished 72nd. Photo by Wade Bell
Wade Bell, Sports Writer

In September, the LaVerne Gibson cross-country course at Terre Haute was in pristine condition and rated fast. Then came October with nearly eight inches of rain during the month. Along with that, between 4,000 and 5,000 runners had been on the course, making it extra soft and squishy for the Indiana State Cross-County Championships Saturday afternoon.

“It was rough,” said South Central’s Maddox Baker after his run. “Everything on me is covered (in mud). It was bad. There were so many people in the middle to the back part I just couldn’t see two or three feet in front of me the entire time so I had no clue. I stepped in mud everywhere.”

“The course was closed yesterday (Friday) because of the rain, so we came here fresh,” Floyd Central sophomore Kaitlyn Stewart said of the girls’ run. “It was super muddy because the boys sprayed up all of the mud in the grass. They had sand on spots to hide the mud, but it was still super squishy.”

A cannon announced the start of the boys’ race, and Baker, Floyd Central’s Weston Naville and Forest Park’s Spenser Wolf put themselves in good position for a good showing. During the second and third kilometers, an eight-man pack ran up front. Naville worked to keep himself in the top 25 as did Baker.

During the next kilometer, the front pack began to break up with Reese Kilbarger-Stumpf and Izaiah Steury running up front. Baker began to feel the pressure of the pace and started to fall back.

“I was where I wanted to be at the start, but they went out a whole lot faster than I expected,” Baker said. “I wanted to be between 2:55 and 3:00 to the first K and they were like 2:50 or under. We went out blazing. I was hoping to hold on and I did ’til I got to the hill. I just died. I dropped back probably 25 places.”

Meanwhile, Naville had found his pace to be able to stay inside the all-state cutoff of top 25.

“There was a lot of mud flying around,” said Naville. “The start was fine. It was pretty weird. I was all by myself. There were a ton of people (on one side) and a ton of people (on the other side) then me. … I went out like I was supposed to right on 50th place, and I just moved up the whole time. The course wasn’t bad. It was just the wind in spots. … ”

At the finish, it was Kilbarger-Stumpf winning in a time of 15:22.9 with Steury a second and a half behind. Wolf gave the Rangers something to cheer about with a ninth-place finish. Naville had his dream come true, finishing 22nd, two spots from a podium finish.

“Between a mile and a mile and a half, I put in a little surge and I caught up to Maddox’s pack and, for me, it just worked the whole rest of the race,” said the Floyd Central senior. “It worked ’til about a K to go, then I held my spots. I worked pretty hard from a mile to two miles, so then I just had to hold it after that. It was pretty perfect. My plan was top 25. It’s everything I wanted pretty much.”

Baker finished 72nd for the Rebels in a time of 16 minutes, 42 seconds. The South Central senior said while he wasn’t able to get an all-state spot, he was glad to be able to be there to compete.

“I’m glad I made it, and it was an experience,” he said. “I wish I could have got a lot better, but I can’t complain because I made it. It is what it is now and I can’t change anything, so I’m just glad I got here and I was able to finish this year. It’s been crazy with COVID. I’ve got a bunch of goals for track too.”

Floyd Central finished 11th in the team standings with 323 points. Behind Naville, Will Conway was 45th in 16:29.5, Mitchel Meier 76th (16:42.9), Noah Nifong 127th (17:22.0), Nathan Wheatley 164th (17:47.8), Luca Cirincione 170th (17:56.2) and Adam Heitz 171st (17:57.4). Jasper’s Abram Eckman was sixth in 15:43.4. New Albany’s Aaron Lord was 51st (16:32.9) and Aidan Lord was 106th in 17:07.3.

“I’m overly excited for Weston,” said Floyd Central coach Tim Korte. “I wish Will would have been there. I wish Will would have had a good day. He didn’t. Realistically, we had two All-Staters so that’s a bummer, but it’s really hard to get five people to run well on a given day. … ”

The girls’ race was a bittersweet day for the Floyd Central Superchicks, who had hoped for a top-five finish in the team standings. The race started off well for the Superchicks with senior Jaydon Cirincione running up to get with the lead pack. At 2-1/2 miles, the Floyd Central senior was still in contention for a podium finish, running in the top 15.

Meanwhile, leader Indianapolis Bishop Chatard was running a brutal pace and, at the halfway point, had a 24-second lead over the field. Forest Park’s Ellie Hall was keeping herself in a position for a podium finish as was Floyd Central sophomore Kaitlyn Stewart.

The last kilometer things began to go bad for Cirincione as her body started to suffer a metabolic breakdown.

“Whenever I first saw her, it was 500 meters from the finish,” said Stewart. “She didn’t look like she felt good.”

Stewart finished her run and crossed the finish line just behind Hall (19th in 19:09.6) in 20th place (19:11.0) and a spot on the podium. Savanna Liddle was 30 spots behind in 50th place (19:43.1). Emerson Elliott was 80th (20:06.0). Cirincione, who had already fallen once, was back on her feet struggling to reach the finish. She fell at the first timing mat then crawled and rolled across the last two where medical personnel was there to meet her. She finished 102nd in 20:19.9.

“I don’t know,” girls’ coach Carl Hook said as he waited by the medical building. “We’ll find out later. She’s had a little bit of issues in the past late in the race. … She made a great effort getting to the finish.”

The Lady Highlanders finished ninth in the team standings with 269 points. After Cirincione, Hallie Mosier was 143rd (21:01.4), Alice Main 182nd (22:03.7) and Meredith Bielefeld was 187th (22:09.0). Jasper’s Linzi VanMeter was first for the Lady Wildcats in 70th (19:58.3) and Andi VanMeter was 134th in 20:48.4.

“We talked last night about leaving it all out there, giving absolute effort,” Hook said. “They did that, and you get what you get. I’m proud of them. It was a great season. It was a great season all the way through. I’m proud of every single one of them from top to bottom by everybody, the whole team.”

Boys’ Scores – Brebeuf Jesuit 78, Hamilton Southeastern 117, Columbus North 136, Fishers 142, Carmel 157, Center Grove 164, Zionsville 263, Northridge 268, Noblesville 299, Goshen 301, Floyd Central 323, Northview 334, Bloomington South 344, LaPorte 350, Valparaiso 379, Franklin Central 395, Penn 428, Bloomington South 441, Carroll (Fort Wayne) 455, Crown Point 482, Chesterton 489, Morgan Township 500, Austin 526, Warsaw 552.

Boys’ Results (Top 25 All-State) – 1. Reese Kilbarger-Stumpf (CN) 15:22.6, 2. Isaiah Steury (Ang) 15:23.8, 3. Krishna Thirunavukkarasu (BJ) 15:26.3, 4. Kole Mathison (Crml) 15:37.2, 5. Abram Eckman (Jspr) 15:43.4, 6. Cole Raymond (Lprt) 15:49.2, 7. Charlie Schuman (Crml) 15:49.8, 8. Jack Moore (Nrthrg) 15:50.1, 9. Spenser Wolf (FP) 15:58.5, 10. Kai Connor (Wsfld) 15:59.4, 11. Noland Satterfield (HS) 16:00.8, 12. Drew Hogan (Gshn) 16:02.5, 13. Matthew Newell (CN) 16:03.2, 14. Austin Hall (CC) 16:04.2, 15. Griffin Hennessy (CtrGrv) 16:05.6, 16. Trevor Monroe (Cstl) 16:05.6, 17. Cole Johnston (Gshn) 16:10.2, 18. Collin Stevens (BJ) 16:10.6, 19. Robert Lohman (CrlFtWyn) 16:11.8, 20. Bennett Dubois (HS), 21. Matteo Rosio (BJ) 16:13.0, 22. Weston Naville (FC) 16:15.5, 23. Tate Meaux (Fshrs) 16:16.9, 24. Parker Mimbels (CtrGrv) 16:18.6, 25. Joe Mumaw (Nblsvl) 16:18.9.

Girls’ Scores – Columbus North 79, Carmel 92, Chesterton 221, Hamilton Southeastern 232, Noblesville 254, Homestead 255, Franklin Central 266, Westfield 267, Floyd Central 269, Carroll (Fort Wayne) 271, North Central 274, Penn 274, Valparaiso 317, Northview 331, Bloomington North 365, Northridge 401, Warsaw Community 413, Avon 426, LaPorte 426, Princeton Community 463, Jasper 475, Harrison (West Lafayette) 545, West Lafayette 602.

Girls’ Results (Top 25 All-State) – 1. Lily Cridge (IndBisCha) 17:32.7, 2. Nicki Southerland (Dlta) 18:03.6, 3. Sophia Kennedy (PT) 18:06.5, 4. Gretchen Farley (PT) 18:15.1, 5. Addison Knoblauch (Hmsd) 18:18.0, 6. Karina James (Lwll) 18:30.5, 7. Addison Wiley (HN) 18:40.2, 8. Lily Baker (CN) 18:42.5, 9. Lillian Zelasko (NP) 18:44.0, 10. Alivia Romaniuk (Crml) 18:45.1, 11. Julie Kiesler (CN) 18:53.4, 12. Bailey Ranta (Chstrtn) 18:56.3, 13. Kaylie Politza (Valpo) 19:018, 14. Lily Myers (BS) 19:02 8, 15. Jamie Klavon (Crml) 19:04.4, 16. Kendall Martin (BJ) 19:04.6, 17. Julie Smith (Pn) 19:09.0, 18. Jasmine Klopstad (Crml) 19:09.3, 19. Ellie Hall (FP) 19:19:09.5, 20. Kaitlyn Stewart (FC) 19:11.2, 21. Alexa Panning (FTWynCon01) 19:15.7, 22. Veronica Hargrave (Plnfd) 19:16.7, 23. Hadley Grdoff (BC) 19:19.5, 24. Brenna Sobecki (Lprt) 19:21.0, 25. Gnister Grant (Nrvw) 19:22.1.