By CAREY FOX
Times Sports Editor
BEDFORD -- A field of 152 female runners toed the line for Saturday‚Äôs Bedford North Lawrence Semistate. That group included seven Northview Knights who had their eyes set on qualifying for the state finals in Terre Haute.
The Knights were predicted for a 10 to 12th-place finish in the 20-team field with just the top six squads advancing to the finals along with the top-15 individuals not on a qualifying team.
Northview put together perhaps its best race of the season in its final one by taking an eighth place finish with 237 points.
Bloomington North put all five of its scoring runners in the top-20 to win the event with 52 points, beating out Bloomington South (80) and New Albany (150). Madison, Terre Haute North and Heritage Hills were the remaining qualifying teams.
‚ÄúThe girls ran the best they could,‚ÄĚ commented coach Ryand Tucker. ‚ÄúThey did what they could and they have nothing to be ashamed of after their effort today.‚ÄĚ
With such a large number of girls in the race and a narrow opening straightaway, the start of the race was not for the weak hearted.
‚ÄúThe start of the race was really hard,‚ÄĚ commented junior Allie True. ‚ÄúA lot of girls got trampled.‚ÄĚ
One of those girls was Terre Haute North‚Äôs Amy Hamilton who got tripped up and fell to the ground amidst the field during the opening 200 meters. She was able to recover and go on to finish in 11th overall.
While none of Northview‚Äôs runners fell in the crowded start, they admitted that it was physical.
‚ÄúThis is a pretty hard course,‚ÄĚ said Northview‚Äôs lone senior, Jennifer Jeffers. ‚ÄúI got pushed around a lot (at the start), but you just have to shove back.‚ÄĚ
True agreed about the start of the race.
‚ÄúThere were some elbows in there, the start was a little too narrow and it got packed pretty tight,‚ÄĚ she said.
The Knights got out strong amongst a top field that included the state‚Äôs No. 7, No. 8 and No. 22 teams.
Thacker got out with the lead pack and broke free from traffic while her teammates stayed tight early and then began to pick off those in front of them.
‚ÄúAbout halfway back there was a large group,‚ÄĚ said Tucker of the middle cluster of runners in the field. ‚ÄúI told the girls that I wanted them to get past some of them and they got all of them. It‚Äôs nice to know that they can do that for us.‚ÄĚ
All season, the Knights have been able to interchange many of their runners when perhaps one had an off day, another athlete would step up with a big effort to boost the team.
On Saturday, True and Casandra Barnett burst forth to place 49th and 52nd just one second apart and supported each other throughout Bedford‚Äôs rolling and hilly course.
‚ÄúI feel like we ran with nothing to lose,‚ÄĚ said True following the race. ‚ÄúI was ecstatic with how we ran today.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúWe were trying to get past the middle of the pack and I think this is one of the better races I‚Äôve ran,‚ÄĚ said Jeffers of her final cross country race.
Oeding separated herself from the remainder of the competition over the final kilometer of the race, winning by 17 seconds with Hirt as the runnerup.
Northview‚Äôs Marissa Bryan came through with a great run to place 93rd overall in 21:55 behind Jeffers‚Äô 86th place in 21:47. Corey Laue raced to a 114th place in 22:44 with Krystle Miller finishing in 126th in 22:58.
‚ÄúWe‚Äôve really got a lineup that we can flip around and it‚Äôs great to have girls that we can do that with,‚ÄĚ said Tucker of his team‚Äôs versatility. ‚ÄúI knew it would be close today. We were projected to finish 12th and we got eighth so you can‚Äôt argue with that.‚ÄĚ
For Jeffers, who finishes her cross country career at the semistate, the run was emotional, but gratifying.
‚ÄúI‚Äôm sad and I‚Äôm trying not to cry right now, but I‚Äôm glad I made it through my senior season without any injuries. I‚Äôm glad I got to run in the semistate,‚ÄĚ said the senior.
Thacker will move on to run in the state finals at the LaVern Gibson Course on Saturday and according to Tucker, still has some room for improvement.‚Äô
‚ÄúShe‚Äôs still not 100 percent,‚ÄĚ said the Knights‚Äô first-year head coach of Thacker‚Äôs health. ‚ÄúAnother week will do her well.‚ÄĚ
The boys‚Äô race was won by Shakamak‚Äôs Austin Witt who added a semistate title to the one‚Äôs he won at the sectional and regional.
On Saturday, Witt dominated the competition, winning over Bloomington North‚Äôs Michael Hoffmann by 20 seconds. Witt‚Äôs winning time was 15:34.
Hoffmann‚Äôs Cougars got a measure of revenge over Terre Haute North after the Patriots won the team title at the Brown County Regional.
Bloomington North won the semistate title with a score of 127 ahead of surprising Seymour in second, Floyd Central in third and the Patriots in fourth. Bloomington South and Perry Central were the final team qualifiers.
Top-Six teams advance (Top-15 individuals)
Girls Team Results
1. Bloomington North 52, 2. Bloomington South 80, 3. New Albany 150, 4. Madison 162, 5. T.H. North 179, 6. Heritage Hills 198, 7. Edgewood 215, 8. Northview 237, 9. Gibson Southern 244, 10. Evansville North 258, 11. Crawford County 270, 12. Forest Park 306, 13. Tell City 319, 14. Evansville Reitz 325, 15. Pike Central 412, 16. Brownstown 442, 17. Evansville Central 447, 18. Salem 477, 19. Seymour 482, 20. Bedford North Lawrence 499
1. Lacey Oeding (Jasper) 18:44, 2. Molly Hirt (Bloom N.) 19:01, 3. Lacey Orth (Ev. North) 19:09, 4. Kylee Thacker (Nview) 19:10, 5. Chelsea Stephan (Madison) 19:11, 6. Kassie Kovert (Brownstown) 19:30, 7. Ann Zerfas (Bloom North) 19:32, 8. Carissa Martin (New Albany) 19:34, 9. Maggie Wagner (Bloom North) 19:34, 10. Hannah Fox (Signature) 19:35, 11. Amy Hamilton (T.H. North) 19:37, 12. Brittany Broyer (Martinsville) 19:38, 13. Lauren Schaftlein (Crawford County) 19:41, 14. Brooke Bierhaus (Bloom South) 19:43, 15. Tabitha Titzer (Gib Southern) 19:44, 16. Kristy Twitchell (T.H. South) 19:46, 17. Kristen Hart (Madison) 18. Tricia Oxford (Her. Hills) 19:55, 19. Corinne Innes (Bloom South) 20:01, 20. Nicole Lucas (Bloom South) 20:05.
Other Northview: 49. Allie True, 21:03, 52, Casandra Barnett, 21:06, 86. Jennifer Jeffers, 21:47, 93. Marissa Bryan, 21:55, 114. Corey Laue, 22:44, 126. Krystle Miller 22:58
Boys Team results
1. Bloomington North 127, 2. Seymour 134, 3. Floyd Central 143, 4. T.H. North 151, 5. Bloomington South 165, 6. Perry Central 198, 7. Silver Creek 206, 8. New Albany 211, 9. Tell City 221, 10. Barr-Reeve 236, 11. Bedford North Lawrence 254, 12. Evansville North 290, 13. T.H. South 313, 14. Edgewood 330, 15. Northeast Dubois 338, 16. Castle 367, 17. Brownstown 428, 18. Jennings County 431, 19. Evansville Memorial 457, 20. Mount Vernon 516.
1. Anthony Witt (SH) 15:34, 2. Michael Hoffmann (Bloom North) 15:54, 3. Zach Mayhew (T.H. North) 15:58, 4. Tim Schoch (Bloom North) 16:01, 5. Tyler Bryne (N.Harrison) 16:03, 6. Dustin Betz (NE Dubois) 16:04, 7. Brendan Chwalek (Silver Creek) 16:05, 8. Alex Fenn (Tell City) 16:07, 9. Mark Crossman (Brownstown) 16:11, 10. Zack McAdams (Seymour) 16:14, 11. Owen Gogarty (Ev. Memorial) 16:17, 12. Drew Gambill (Shakamak) 16:17, 13. Andrew Buzzelli (Bloom North) 16:18, 14. Daniel Coats (Jeffersonville) 16:26, 15. Michael Callison (N.Daviess) 16:28, 16. Cody Stein (Her. Hills) 16:30, 17. Brandon Query (T.H. North) 16:34, 18. Jason Holcomb (New Albany) 16:36, 19. Joe Holahan (Bloom South) 16:36, 20. Alex Jones (Silver Creek) 16:39.