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Valley well represented in IHSAA State Cross Country Finals

Sunday, October 28, 2007

(Photo)
Northview's Kylee Thacker placed 37th in the IHSAA State Cross Country Finals on Saturday.
By CAREY FOX

Times Sports Editor

SEELEYVILLE " As Northview's Kylee Thacker crossed the finish line at the 2007 IHSAA State Cross Country Championship, she was mud spattered, leg weary and spent, but per usual, a smile wasn't very far from her face.

In fact, there rarely is a time when a smile isn't soon to be seen on the junior's face.

She had plenty to grin about on Saturday with a 37th place finish, the top placing of any Wabash Valley girl.

Not surprisingly, Culver Academy's Alex Banfich, capped her high school career with a third consecutive state championship with a time of 18:21. The Westfield girls' team edged past Lake Central 81 to 114 to score their third straight title as well.

Times were a bit slower in this, the first year the girls' race was run at the five-kilometer distance after previously being run at four-kilometers in the past.

Thacker ran a 19:46, a bit slower than her goal of reaching her best time on the LaVern Gibson Course, but in less than ideal conditions after rains throughout the week left the course more than a little soggy.

(Photo)
Shakamak's Anthony Witt catches his breath following a third place finish at the state cross country finals.
"The course is pretty soft," said coach Ryand Tucker. "It's not what we're used to seeing. Today was a strength race," said the first-year Northview coach.

"I was pretty happy with how I ran, the crowd was great," said Thacker. "My ears were ringing quite a bit because of the cheering, but that's what makes it fun, when you have people cheering you on."

She also acknowledged the fact that the conditions were a tad, shall we say squishy, but that she had some fun with it.

"There was pretty much mud everywhere," said the Northview junior. "My feet were sinking in, but it was probably the best calf workout I've every had," she joked. "But the mud is always fun. It's always good when you have an excuse to play in it."

You could also make a pretty good argument that while Thacker might have considered the 3.1 mile race a ‘fun time in the mud,' she did a considerable amount of work against the state's top competition.

"This is only her second year running," said Tucker of Thacker's relative inexperience in the sport. "Last year she would just take off and run all out, but this season she's more patient and has run smarter."

There's plenty to look forward to next season according to Tucker, who feels that the Knights could have a full team at LaVern Gibson to tackle the state finals.

(Photo)
Culver Academy's Alex Banfich crosses the line for her third consecutive state championship.
"This has really been a coach's dream (reaching the finals)," he said. "We've got a solid core coming back and hopefully we can get some more girls to realize how great this is. We're looking forward to next season."

For Thacker, ever the humble competitor, she spoke glowingly of her competition following the race.

"It's hard to believe it's over already," she said. "These girls are amazing out here, it's really an honor to run with them."

In Jasonville, there's plenty to celebrate as well with senior Anthony Witt running to a third place finish and teammate Drew Gambill placing 32nd.

Witt, ran up front from the beginning, running as high as second in the meet before taking third in the state behind LaPorte's Michael Fout and James Martin of Ft. Wayne Carroll.

The Florida State-bound Fout, began to separate himself from Witt and Martin around the 2,000 meter mark and won the event in 15:31. Carroll's outstanding freshman, Martin, was just able to hold off Witt with his time of 15:56 to 15:58.

Fishers was the team winner, scoring 102 points to hold off LaPorte's 112 with Carmel, Northridge and Franklin rounding out the top-five.

"It was a great finish," commented Witt following his podium finish. "I wish I could have pulled up there in that last bit, but (Martin) had a good kick. A third place, I really couldn't ask for much more."

Gambill, who admitted his goal was to finish ahead of the 44th place that Witt took in the 2006 meet, was equally happy with his performance in less than ideal course conditions.

(Photo)
LaPorte's Michael Fout won the 2007 IHSAA State Cross Country Championship at LaVern Gibson's course.
"It was a fast pace today, I knew that I had to stay close to the kids that I was ranked with because I knew I could pass some at the end," said Gambill before jokingly adding, "I just wanted to finish ahead of where Anthony did last year so I'd make him mad."

There wasn't much to be mad about for either runner, but each admitted that the conditions made things tricky.

"It was a rough race," admitted Gambill. "(The mud) sucks you right in and there wasn't any real good footholds."

Witt agreed with the lack of footing, but it's hard to argue with a third place run against the state's best.

"I never dreamed in a million years, that I'd be third in the state," said Witt who plans on running in college, but hasn't yet chosen a destination. "The community has been great in supporting the team this year. We've been mostly known as a basketball and baseball town, but I'm hoping that we can bring back cross country."

Witt might have a career as an ambassador of the sport as he spoke glowingly of his teammate and other runners in the Wabash Valley.

"Drew's had an amazing year. I mean he beat my finish already and he's just a sophomore," Witt exclaimed. "He's going to have an outstanding career (at Shakamak), and to have Zach (Mayhew) from Terre Haute (North) finish in seventh, that's great for this area."

At LaVern Gibson Course

IHSAA State Cross Country Meet

Boys Team Results

1.Fishers 102, 2. LaPorte 112, 3. Carmel 142, 4. Northridge 151, 5. Franklin Community, 6. Ft. Wayne Carroll 212, 7. McCutcheon 232, 8. Ft. Wayne Northrop 266, 9. Munster 275, 10. Columbus North 287, 11. Franklin Central 321, 12. Noblesville 336, 13. Huntington North 360, 14. Chesterton 373, 15. Bloomington North 373, 16. Terre Haute North 380, 17. Floyd Central 387, 18. Michigan City 407, 19. Seymour 410, 20. Dekalb 437, 21. Lake Central 452, 22. Bloomington South 453, 23. Penn 504, 24. Perry Central 602

Top-25 Individuals

1.Michael Fout (LaPorte) 15:31, 2. James Martin (Carroll) 15:56, 3. Anthony Witt (Shakamak) 15:58, 4. Zach Gates (Ham SE) 16:02, 5. Drew Shields (Fishers) 16:04, 6. Andy Bayer (Leo) 16:05, 7. Zach Mayew (T.H. North) 16:12, 8. Michael Hoffmann (Bloom North) 16:14, 9. Dylan Sorensen (Zionsville) 16:15, 10. Craig Padgett (Mishawaka) 16:15, 11. Sean Wilson (Franklin) 16:16, 12. Ben Bizun (Pike) 16:16, 13. Scott Lasiter (Franklin) 16:17, 14. David Eichenberger (Plainfield) 16:17, 15. Andrew Albert (Northridge) 16:18, 16. Tito Medrano (Laf Jefferson) 16:18, 17. Cale Allen (Fishers) 16:20, 18. Logan Resenberg (Carmel) 16:21, 19. David Osborn (Chesterton) 16:21, 20. Mark Crossman (Brownstown Central) 16:22, 21. Tyler Byrne (N.Harrison) 16:23, 22. Derek Daluga (West Lafayette) 16:25, 23. Andrew Buzzelli (Bloom North) 16:27, 24. Nathan Morrow (Dekalb) 16:27, 25. Ladd Mercer (Northridge) 16:28

Shakamak: 32. Drew Gambill, 16:34

T.H. North: 59. Brandon Query, 17:04, 86. John Davis, 17:21, 96. John Mascari, 17:26, 135. Brian DePasse, 18:06, 143. Milton Brinza, 18:15, 160. Kevin DePasse, 18:47

Girls Team Results

1.Westfield 81, 2. Lake Central 114, 3. Ft. Wayne Carroll 119, 4. Carmel 146, 5. Bloomington North 205, 6. Bishop Chatard 210, 7. Columbus North 258, 8. West Lafayette 261, 9. Northridge 264, 10. Valparaiso 278, 11. Indianapolis Cathedral 300, 12. Center Grove 312, 13. Dekalb 320, 14. Munster 372, 15. Bloomington South 376, 16. West Noble 399, 17. Ft. Wayne Concordia 444, 18. Culver Academies 452, 19. Goshen 457, 20. Chesterton 506, 21. T.H. North 509, 22. New Albany 545, 23. Heritage Hills 558, 24. Madison 560

Top-25 Individuals

1.Alex Banfich (Culver) 18:21, 2. Megan Ranegar (Valpo) 18:38, 3. Lorna Whaley (Avon) 18:46, 4. Margaret Bingham (Westfield) 18:48, 5. Brianna Johnson (Carroll) 18:48.1, 6. Sarah Terashima ( Richmond) 18:53, 7. Lacey Oeding (Jasper) 18:54, 8. Kaitlyn Love (Westfield) 18:57, 9. Chelsea Blanchard (Carroll) 18:57, 10. Valerie Burns (Penn) 18:59, 11. Sarah Higgens (CGrove) 19:03, 12. Autumn Beachy (Dekalb) 19:06, 13. Rachel Zajac (Lake Central) 19:09, 14. Lacey Orth (Ev. North) 19:12, 15. Siri Retrum (Col North) 19:19, 16. Jordan Chester (Boone Grove) 19:20, 17. Molly Hirt (Bloom North) 19:20, 18. Sobolewski Carly (Chatard) 19:20, 19. Allison Hochstetler (Bethany Christian) 19:21, 20. Linsey Daluga (West Lafayette) 19:21, 21. Kaisa Goodman (West Lafayette) 19:22, 22. Alex Daugherty (Law. North) 19:23, 23. Waverly Neer (Westfield) 19:24, 24. Elissa Mason (Roncalli) 19:26, 25. Megan Plenus (Lake Central) 19:27

Northview: 37. Kylee Thacker

T.H. North: 65. Amy Hamilton, 20:31, 74. Lindy Jones, 20:36, 112. Tayler Jackson, 21:23, 122. Liz Marietta, 21:36, 136. Jordan Cresgy, 21:56, 141. Lyndsay Hoff, 22:04, 142. Katie Shew, 22: 06



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