When it comes to producing collegiate athletes, Clay County has done itself proud when you look at the cross country and track ranks around a number of Indiana colleges.
The cooling Fall weather means that harriers around the state are hitting their stride and quite a few runners call Clay County home.
Just down United States 40 at Indiana State, Northview High School graduates, Kylee Thacker, Shelby Sands and Conor Strain are running with the Sycamores.
The ISU cross country teams are two of the best in the Midwest and they competed at the Indiana Intercollegiates on Sept. 17 at Purdue University. The meet brings together both big and small colleges from the state of Indiana and pits them against each other.
The Indiana State men placed third behind Indiana and Purdue with Butler and IUPUI in the top-five.
"It was a good showing but we are tired," John McNichols, Indiana State men's cross country coach said. "We had some separation between our top two groups and if we could have broken up the Purdue group we could have had a chance to win the event."
Strain and Shakamak High School graduate, Drew Gambill, ran in the Men's Open 8K race and Strain placed 41st in 29:29.60 with Gambill taking 22nd in 28:12.10.
The IU women were the winners with a dominating 26-point effort followed by Butler, Purdue and ISU followed by IPFW in fifth-place.
Thacker was the fourth Sycamore runner to cross the finish line as she placed 38th in the 5K race with a time of 19:07.80.
"This was a very good performance for us," John Gartland, Indiana State women's cross country coach, said. "I am really pleased with the effort of all the runners."
Sands, a freshman with the Sycamores, placed 38th in the open race with a time of 22:36.
The Indiana State teams will be back in action on Friday when they compete against some of the nation's best cross country teams at the Notre Dame Invitational.
The Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College cross country team is in action as well and took part in the Otterbein (Ohio) Invitational last weekend and placed ninth out of 19 teams.
Northview graduate and Pomeroys' sophomore, Cassandra Barnett, placed 78th in 21:06.8.
The week before, on Sept. 17, SMWC competed at Notre Dame in the 2010 National Catholic Cross Country Invitational against some tough competition. The Pomeroys finished 27th in the 35-team invite that featured plenty of Division I talent from around the nation.
Barnett placed 215th overall in the meet with a time of 22:16.
Allie True, also a Northview graduate, is a member of the Pomeroys, but hasn't competed yet this season due to injury.
The Pomeroys will compete Saturday at the Greater Louisville Open at 9:30 a.m.
In southern Indiana, John Latta is early into his junior season with the University of Southern Indiana cross country team and recently opened the season with a 29th-place finish at the Appalachian State Mountaineer Opener on Sept. 17.
Latta completed the four-mile course in 21:26 as the Screaming Eagles tied for second-place with No. 7 ranked Queens University.
Ohio State was the winning team.
The USI men's team, now ranked No. 7 in the nation, will compete against many of the top teams in the country this weekend at the Great Louisville Classic, which is the site of the 2010 NCAA Division II National Championships.
Eight to the top-12 teams in Div. II are scheduled to compete in the men's race and eight of the top-25 women's squads are slated to compete as well.
The Taylor University cross country teams were another of the state's cross country programs that competed at Purdue at the Indiana Intercollegiates on Sept. 17.
The team was led to a 10th-place finish out of 15 in the small school standings as former Clay City Eel, senior Adam Schroer, placed 28th overall in 27:23.
Taylor will compete next on Saturday at Marion, Ind. in the IWU Wildcat Invitational.
While cross country runners make up the biggest portion of local athletes competing in college, several other competitors are making a name for themselves in other sports.
Rose-Hulman freshman, Lauren Reberger, who graduated from Northview High School in the spring, was a member of the Engineers' first conference championship in women's tennis last weekend.
The Engineers defeated Franklin in a dramatic, 5-4, match and scored an 8-1 win against Hanover.
Reberger teamed with Terre Haute North graduate, Paige Cook, for an 8-1 victory as the freshman duo defeated the Grizzlies.
In the nightcap against Hanover, Reberger and Cook won an 8-2 match against Rachel Edwards and Jennifer Hurst.
Overall this season, Reberger has gone 5-3 in doubles play.
The Engineers finished unbeaten, 8-0 in HCAC play and are now 9-1 overall as they head into tournament play in the HCAC Tourney in Indianapolis on Oct. 9-10.
The 2010 Fall men's golf season is underway for Rend Lake College and Northview grad, Kade Baker.
The Warriors competed in the Jim Redgate Invitational at Briarwood Golf Course last weekend and Rend Lake placed fifth in the field with a score of 904.
Baker tied for 42nd overall after starting out with a 77 in the first round. He followed that up with scores of 83 and 79 in the final two rounds.
Previously, Rend Lake placed second to Vincennes University in a two-round tourney on Sept. 13. Baker shot rounds of 74 and 88 for a 162 as the Warriors finished five strokes back of the winning Trailblazers at Country Oaks Golf Course.
Up next for the Warriors is the Illinois State Junior College Championship that will take place at Panther Creek Country Club on Sunday and Monday afternoons.