Times Sports Editor
SEELEYVILLE -- There were few surprises as the dust settled following the Terre Haute North Cross Country Sectional held at the LaVern Gibson Course on Tuesday evening.
The third-ranked Terre Haute North boys came in as a heavy favorite and backed that up by repeating as the sectional champion by placing six runners in the top-10 overall to score just 19 points.
John Mascari followed up his individual championship last year into another win this year in impressive fashion. The senior Patriot blew away the competition by finishing in 15:46, winning by 31 seconds over his teammate, Tyeson Mundy.
Terre Haute South was a distant second with 49 points followed by West Vigo, Northview and Clay City in the top-five. Each of those teams will advance to the Brown County Regional on Saturday morning.
The Patriot girls brought the state's No. 7 ranking into the meet and also far outdistanced the competition on a fast, dry course. North placed all seven of their runners in the top-10 overall led by sophomore Chanli Mundy, who won in a time of 18:58 to follow up her title last year. Braves' freshman, Nikki Thiede was the runner-up, 34 seconds behind Mundy.
Northview placed third in the girls' team race with 113 points followed by Shakamak and Sullivan in the top-five.
The Knights' Alyssa Conrad had the top finish of any Clay County runner, placing 10th in a time of 22:02.
"Alyssa (Conrad) got in there in the top-15 to advance individually," Tucker added regarding his junior No. 1 runner. "When the results came out we finished third and I'm real pleased with that. It's where I thought we'd end up finishing."
The Knights were third as a team last year and the effort of the Knights' Donna Martin and Kylie McKee, each running in their first postseason meet were key to the regional qualifying run according to Tucker.
"On Saturday, we're going to have to be a little closer as a group," Tucker said. "I got Donna (Martin) up with Nicole (Nelson) where we've been trying to get her all season," Tucker said.
Nelson was second for the Knights with a time of 23:22, which was 19th overall. Martin was close behind in 22nd followed by McKee in 29th in 24:42.
"(Martin) was 13 seconds behind Nicole and she'll have to be right there with Nicole on Saturday," Tucker said. "Kylie (McKee) and Leeanna (Knight) will need to get a little closer to Donna and Nicole for us to really compete (in the regional)."
Knight, a freshman, was 33rd in 25:12 with Maeghan Pilman in 34th-place (25:20) and Eileen Stinnett placing 45th in 27:07.
The Clay City girls placed ninth as a team and were led by junior Ashley Sumner, who ran to a 35th-place finish in 26:19. The youthful Eels, featuring no seniors, three freshmen and two sophomores, got a 47th from Phoebe Farmer (27:40), a 50th-place from Kayla Sinders (28:09) and a 54th from Krista Sinders in 29:07. Alex Wolfe was 55th and Michaella Hogan placed 61st.
In the boys' race, the finish looked very familiar as the team results amongst the top-three schools was the same with the Eels and Knights switching places amongst the top-five this year.
Northview's Nic Yocom, another talented Clay County freshman, was the top finisher with his 16th-place with a time of 17:47.
The Knights' coach, Chad Smith, was happy to have Yocom available after he missed much of the season due to a stress fracture.
"We ran really well as a team I thought," Smith said. "It's probably our best meet as a whole group, this whole year. Nic (Yocom) is back up there with us and I was happy with how we ran."
With Yocom up front, Tanner Brown was 24th in18:40, freshman Ian Heffner was 26th in 18:53 and Ryan South was 28th in 19:03. Pat Durcholz was just nine seconds behind in 31st with another freshman, Travis Beil, placing 32nd with a time of 19:16. Kyle Yocom was 44th in 20:25.
Smith is hoping that the Knights will narrow the gap between their runners in preparation for Saturday's regional at Brown County.
"It helps a ton having a No. 1 runner up there, but you know, our kids are pretty well packed," Smith said. "If you look at our times, one through five is about 1:35 apart. We just need them to be about 35 seconds faster and we'll be trying to compete with West Vigo. Their No. 1 (Andrew Kump) kills us. Their No. 1 and No. 2 are pretty tough. We compete with West Vigo after No. 1 and No. 2 so hopefully we can maybe get Nic (Yocom) and Tanner (Brown) up there and split those guys up on Saturday."
Clay City boys' coach Keith Jones is just hoping to have his team back to 100-percent for the weekend as a couple of his runners were dealing with flu-like symptoms during the day.
"That's just one of those things that happens," Clay City coach Keith Jones said in reference to the flu bug hitting members of his team. "They still came out and competed, but that's just something that happens. You can't control that. It affected us, but they competed and that's all you can ask for."
Qualifying for the regional at all was a testament to the team-wide effort by the Eels as one of the Eels' usual front runners, Austin Sinders, fought through his illness, but finished back in 47th with a time of 20:34. Ben Denker was also at less than full strength, but placed 23rd overall in 18:37. Jake Tiefel came through in his first postseason meet to finish 19th in 19:06 with Wayne Tharp taking 30th in 19:10. Freshman Blake Cochran was 33rd in 19:20 followed by Jesse Vansickle in 34th with a time of 19:21 and Michael Brooks placed 45th in 20:26.
"It's tough enough running healthy," Jones said. "They came out and gutted it out. We've got a few days to try and get better."
The Brown County Regional will get underway on Saturday at 10:30 a.m. with the top-15 individuals and the top-five teams moving on to the semi-state.
Terre Haute North Cross Country Sectional
At LaVern Gibson Course
Boys teams results
Top-five advance to regional
T.H. North 19, T.H. South 49, West Vigo 101, Northview 125, Clay City 139, North Central 158, Riverton Parke 221, South Vermillion 225, Shakamak 240, Sullivan 240
1. John Mascari (THN) 15:46, 2. Tyeson Mundy (THN) 16:17, 3. Taylor Head (THS) 16:24, 4. Milton Brinza (THN) 16:38, 5. Brian Depasse (THN) 16:46, 6. Andrew Kump (WV) 16:53, 7. Dylan Bertsch (THN) 16:58, 8. Logan Hambrock (THS) 17:03, 9. Justin Clapp (THN) 17:12, 10. Nathan Kump (WV) 17:16
Other Northview: 16. Nic Yocom, 17:47, 24. Tanner Brown, 18:40, 26. Ian Heffner, 18:53, 28. Ryan South, 19:03, 31. Pat Durcholz, 19:12, 32. Travis Beil, 19:16, Kyle Yocom, 20:25
Other Clay City: 19. Jake Tiefel, 18:06, 23. Ben Denker, 18:37, 30. Wayne Tharp, 19:10, 33. Blake Cochran, 19:20, 34. Jesse Vansickle, 19:21, 45. Michael Brooks, 20:26, 47. Austin Sinders, 20:34
Girls teams results
T.H. North 19. T.H. South 49, Northview 113, Shakamak 132, Sullivan 156, South Vermillion 159, West Vigo 163, Riverton Parke 204, Clay City 241, North Central 282
1. Chanli Mundy (THN) 18:58, 2. Nikki Thiede (THS) 19:32, 3. Jessi Conley (THN) 19:52, 4. Anne Mullican (THN) 20:15, 5. Mallory Sanders (THN) 20:23, 6. TaPring Goatee (THN) 20:53, 7. Katherine Loebker (THN) 21:01, 8. Brandi Roshel (THN) 21:12, 9. Sam Holmes (THS) 21:56, 10. Alyssa Conrad (Nv) 22:02
Other Northview: 19. Nicole Nelson, 23:22, 22. Donna Martin, 23:35, 29. Kylie McKee, 24:42, 33. Leeanna Knight, 25:12, 34. Maeghan Pilman, 25:20, 45. Eileen Stinnett, 27:07
Other Clay City: 35. Ashley Sumner, 26:19, 47. Phoebe Farmer, 27:40, 50. Kayla Sinders, 28:09, 54. Krista Sinders, 29:07, 55. Alex Wolfe, 29:12, 61. Michaella Hogan, 33:45