SPEEDWAY -- The North Clay cross country teams have hit the ground running for the 2009 season and have fared well in early season meets thus far.
The Knights competed in the State Preview Meet on Saturday on the LaVern Gibson Championship Course where the girls took third overall and the boys brought home a fourth-place.
South Knox took the boys' team award with four runners in the top-15 to score 46 points to edge Honey Creek (51) and Woodrow Wilson (79). Edgewood was fifth followed by Riverton Parke, Greencastle, Cloverdale and West Vigo.
North Clay eighth-grader Nic Yocom took first overall in the meet with a time of 10:19 and in the process, shaved nearly from his time on the same course last year when he placed second. Yocom's performance was especially eye opening after his margin of victory over second-place, Grant Vellinger of Home School Union. Yocom also has set some high goals for the 2009 season.
"He beat some good runners at the State Preview and won by about 40 seconds, but I think his main goal is to win conference and basically go undefeated this year," coach Chris Walker said of Yocom. "The rest of the guys have run very well and are a very competitive team."
All four competitors are eighth-graders for the Knights and will be counted on to bring their talents to Northview next season as numbers have been a bit lower than usual at the high school level.
"It's definitely crucial (for North Clay to work hard) because the high school team barely has full teams this year. I'm not sure how many seniors they have over there, but just having runners like Nic (Yocom), Ian (Heffner), Brendan (Morris) and Travis (Beil) to help replace runners like Connor Strain (is important) because I think he's the only senior," Walker said. "I'd like to see the numbers (at North Clay) bigger because it would be easier to compete with some of the bigger schools."
In the Open Meet, Christian Herron placed 20th in 14:23 with Brenne Pilman in 23rd to edge out teammate Dawson Nelson (14:43.4 to 14:43.8). Zach Gibbens was 26th with John Fisher in 44th.
In the girls race, Woodrow Wilson claimed the team title with 36 points to finish ahead of Honey Creek's 43 with North Clay scoring 104 to best Greencastle with 109. South Knox, Edgewood, Cloverdale and West Vigo rounded out the team scoring. Perry Meridian, Greenwood and Home School Union fielded incomplete teams.
Emily Conrad, a North Clay seventh-grader, finished fifth in the meet in a time of 12:50. Her classmate, Allie Dupin, was 14th in 13:34 with eighth-grade runners, Olivia Howald (14:47) and Leanna Knight in 34th (15:01). Kaysia Reberger was 36th in 15:05 with Brittany Fagg in 46th.
"We ran well at the state preview and finished fourth, but got beat by some really good teams," Walker said. "The girls were led (at the State Preview Meet) by Emily (Conrad), whose goal is to win the conference too and I believe she's the top returning girl and finished fifth at the state preview.
"We don't have a huge team with six girls and 12 boys, but most of them were showing up three days a week during the summer," Walker continued. "Really, the key is, it's hard to show up at the beginning of school and start racing a week after school starts. So really the key is to get them running and get them in pretty good shape before school. You just hope that they'll be dedicated enough to do that."
The Knights followed up Saturday's effort with another meet on the road at Speedway on Tuesday night as Yocom registered a course record that had stood since 2003. Yocom destroyed the previous mark by 46 seconds with his own time of 10:15 as North Clay won the meet with 16 team points followed by Greencastle (48) and Speedway (69).
Heffner (12:11), Beil (12:16) and Morris (12:16) completed a top-four sweep by the Knights as Trout finished in sixth in 12:23. Johnson was 12th, Evans was 13th, Pilman took 21st, Herron 22nd, Nelson 23rd and Fisher was 29th.
In the girls meet, Conrad was the winner in 13:15 and Dupin placed fourth in 13:47, but Greencastle edged the Knights 28-29 in the team scoring. Reberger finished seventh ahead of Howald with Knight in ninth and Fagg in 11th.
Before practice on Wednesday, Walker was quick to mention how much fun was involved with the sport and the support he has received.
"We try and make it fun and a lot of our parents do a good job of really making it fun for the kids," Walker said. "We have a lot of good parents who help me out a lot. After the State Preview Meet we had a cookout and we'll probably have another one after the Eagle Classic (on Saturday). I think the parents are having fun too and I know I'm having fun."
Boys team results
North Clay 16, Greencastle 48, Speedway 69
1. Nic Yocom (NC) 10:15*, 2. Ian Heffner (NC) 12:11, 3. Travis Beil (NC) 12:16, 4. Brendan Morris (NC) 12:16.
North Clay results: 6. Cameron Trout, 12:23, 12. Josua Johnson, 13:3, 13. Gaidj Evans, 13:27, 21. Brennen Pilman, 14:26, 22. Christian Herron, 15:07, 23. Dawson Nelson, 15:12, 29. John Fisher, 18:30
Girls team results
Greencastle 28, North Clay 29, Speedway Inc.
North Clay results: 1. Emily Conrad, 13:15, 4. Allie Dupin, 13:47, 7. Kaysia Reberger, 14:46, 8. Olivia Howald, 15:03, 9. Leeanna Knight, 15:11, 11. Brittany Fagg, 15:57
At Patriot Invitational
LaVern Gibson Course
Junior High results
Boys' team results
South Knox 46, Honey Creek 51, Woodrow Wilson 79, North Clay 84, Edgewood 127, Riverton Parke 188, Greencastle 196, Cloverdale 200, West Vigo 239, Home School Union Inc.
Boys varsity top-15 results
1. Nic Yocom (NC) 10:19, 2. Grant Vellinger (HSU) 10:59, 3. Andrew Staggs (SK) 11:01, 4. Spencer Danielson (HC) 11:03, 5. Ian Heffner (NC) 11:05, 6. Garrett Lamb (SK) 11:07, 7. Jack Harbaugh (HC) 11:08, 8. Riley Stohler (RP) 11:12, 9. Colton Houchin (SK) 11:13, 10. Peter Davis (WW) 11:13, 11. Matt Barley (HC) 11:32, 12. Brice Snowden (HC) 11:38, 13. Michael Miemi (Ew) 11:42, 14. Jaden Page (SK) 11:46, 15. John Sponsler (WW) 12:01
North Clay results: 17. Travis Beil, 12:03, 31. Brendan Morris, 12:48, 34. Cameron Trout, 12:57, 37. Josua Johnson, 13:07, 51. Gaidj Evans, 14:22.
Boys Open Meet
North Clay results: 20. Christian Herron, 14:23, 23. Brennen Pilman, 14:43, 24. Dawson Nelson, 14:43, 26. Zach Gibbens, 14:48, 44. John Fisher, 18:45
Girls team results
Woodrow Wilson 36, Honey Creek 43, North Clay 104, Greencastle 109, South Knox 110, Edgewood 125, Cloverdale 193, West Vigo 235, Greenwood Inc., Home School Union Inc.
Girls varsity top-15 results
1. Shannon Murphy (PM) 12:04, 2. Mallory Sanders (WW) 12:26, 3. Shelby Brown (GW) 12:33, 4. Lauren Perrelle (WW) 12:47, 5. Emily Conrad (NC) 12:50, 6. Audrey Sweetland (HSU) 12:53, 7. Olivia Kissinger (WW) 13:09, 8. Rachel Senseman (HC) 13:12, 9. Katlyn Stanley (SK) 13:25, 10. Katherine Senseman (HC) 13:26, 11. Maddie Kerr (HC) 13:29, 12. Caitlin Inj (HC) 13:32, 13. Beth Nethery (Ew) 13:33, 14. Allie Dupin (NC) 13:34, 15. Libby Brush (Gc) 13:37
North Clay results: 29. Olivia Howald, 14:47, 34. Leanna Knight, 15:01, 36. Kaysia Reberger, 15:05, 46. Brittany Fagg, 16:51