With Fall firmly in place across the Wabash Valley, the high school postseason gets firmly under way this week as Northview's soccer teams head into sectionals this week along with the cross-country teams from Clay City and Northview.
Tonight will feature the opening of the Terre Haute North Soccer Sectional with the Knights taking the field versus the Terre Haute South Braves at approximately 7 p.m. following the 5 p.m. game between the host Patriots and West Vigo.
The Knights coming off a 7-0 home win last week in their final regular season game will attempt to defeat a South squad that already claims a win over Northview this year. On Sept. 9 the Braves defeated Northview 10-0.
On the bright side however is the fact that the Knights have finally had a chance to get healthy for the first time all season and that was evident in their offensive explosion in their final regular season game.
For the cross-country teams in Clay City and at Northview their is good reason for optimism as each school has had outstanding dual meet and Invitational seasons heading into the sectional at the Laverne Gibson Course on Tuesday evening.
Each school has title hopes with Northview's girls team one of several prohibitive favorites for the team championship along with top runner Emily Pugh chasing the individual title. While Clay City's boys team is strong, their top runner, Andy Huggler, will certainly challenge for an individual title.
Northview's boys team has top-three ability along with the Eels who lost dual meets to the Knights and Terre Haute North, who is another favorite for the team championships.
In the girls' battle, the Knights have to be considered one of probably three teams who have the edge over a 12 team field.
The host Patriots along with Terre Haute South will be tough to beat but the Knights will challenge the Vigo County powers with a deep and experienced top six runners.
The Braves defeated the Patriots in a dual meet 26-30 back on Oct. 1 as the Braves' Meagan Scheidler won a fantastic individual battle with sophomore North runner, Kayla Alexander.
Those two will certainly contend for the individual sectional championship with Northview's Pugh not to be overlooked.
Northview teammate, Mary Pugh, was second in last year's sectional to Scheidler as Alexander took third.
The Knight's team hopes lie with an experienced group that includes Shandra Kirby who was sixth in last year's sectional along with Nikki Royer who was ninth and Kim Deakins who placed 21st. Emilee Lutes returns this year after finishing 34th and Brit Hoffman adds more depth in her first year of cross-country.
The Knights finished third as a team last year without Emily Pugh at the top of their lineup which adds considerable strength to the Northview lineup.
The Eels will be led into the fray by Alisha Drake who has become one of the most improved runners in the area this year. She ran a third place time versus the Patriot's strong squad earlier this year and is joined by Lacey Rood who was 26th last season. Elizabeth Effner, Chelsea Riggs, Cameron Gerber and Brittany Rood will put the Eels in position to chase a regional berth.
The boys race will be wide open as Clay City's Huggler will be a favorite for the individual title along with North's Josh Bedford and South's John Lambertus. Josh Timm and Justin Scherb will lead the Knights into action. Matt DuPre of Sullivan will also be a front runner.
For the Eels squad will be led by Huggler with Jared Schlak returning after a 16th place finish in last year's sectional and David Schroer joining Kyle Tiefel, Camrand Tucker and Dustin Souder as scoring leaders for Clay City.
Along with Timm and Scherb, the Knights have excellent depth as Matt Brand, Jarrod Reece and Cam King have ran well all year. Freshman Hunter Reberger will make his postseason varsity debut for the Knights with Ryan Thompson and possibly Kyle Colson.
With no overwhelming favorites to win either race the Terre Haute North Cross-Country Sectional will surely be a fantastic event.