Times Sports Editor
The Brown County Cross Country Regional will have a bit of a different feel this year as the top-five boys and girls' teams from the Terre Haute North and Brown County Sectionals will be vying for a semi-state berth a week later on the very same course.
Last year it was ranked Terre Haute North squads capturing both team titles as Patriot senior John Mascari broke the course record on the way to winning the individual championship. Bloomington South senior Nicole Lucas ran a strong race in winning the girls' title ahead of Terre Haute North's Chanli Mundy by 17 seconds.
This go round will feature a dominating Bloomington South boys' team that comes into the regional on a familiar course ranked third overall in the state. The Panthers placed all five of their scoring runners in the top-10 during this week's sectional with senior Carl Smith edging out Mooresville junior Michael Passmore by four seconds in 16:02.
A pair of Bloomington sophomores will be contesting Vigo County's top female runners this weekend as North's Kate Raphael won the Brown County Sectional in 18:53 followed closely by South's Alex Warzyniak in 18:54. However, the duo will have their hands full with the Patriots' Mundy, who hopes to score her first regional title after winning the sectional at LaVern Gibson with a time of 19:18. Mundy won the Eagle Classic on the course earlier this season with a time of 17:57 as Warzyniak was third in 18:20.
Terre Haute South should return Nikki Thiede, who sat out the sectional race, but should be a full go for Saturday. She also competed in the Eagle Classic and placed fifth in 18:22.
Northview and Clay City's boys are in the mix once more and are looking to improve on their results from last season. The Knights placed ninth and the Eels came home 10th.
Yocom was 27th in a tough field of competitors at the Eagle Classic on Sept. 10 and he finished with a solid time of 16:48. Ian Heffner ran a strong race in the meet as well, racing to a time of 17:57. The Knights' sophomore was 21st in the sectional ahead of freshman Travis Beil in 26th. Northview should also return Collin Richards, who missed the sectional due to illness. The Knights' team should be rounded out by Josh Johnson, who ran an 18:53 at Brown County and Ryan South, who finished in 19:30.
Clay City is led by Jake Tiefel, who raced to an 11th-place finish in the sectional and was 45th in 17:50 at last year's regional. The Eels' Blake Cochran got his feet wet at Craig Park last year as a freshman that finished in 18:46 and he is coming off a 22nd-place run at LaVern Gibson in the sectional. Wayne Tharp also competed in last year's regional for the Eels and crossed the finish line in 18:25 in a solid run. He could be a key to the Eels' team finish along with freshman Parker Ames, who placed 30th in the sectional. Senior Ben Denker ran well at the regional last year with a time of 17:49 and a repeat performance could propel the Eels up the team standings. Sophomore Michael Brooks ran stride-for-stride with Denker and Tharp in the sectional, finishing in 19:28. They'll be joined by freshman Evan Sumner, who will get his first regional experience along with Ames and Brooks.
Northview's girls' team will also be in competition after placing ninth last season.
Alyssa Conrad returns for her last regional run as a senior this year and she placed 27th last year in 21:01. Her sister, Emily Conrad, a freshman, gets her first crack at Eagle Park in the postseason after she placed 77th in 22:14 at the Eagle Classic. Junior Hannah Zadeii will see her first regional action along with freshman Allie Dupin, who returned from some shin problems to place 30th in the sectional. Junior Eileen Stinnett competed in the regional last year and returns following a 31st-place in the sectional. Freshman Josey Stakeman will be in the fray as well as she placed 38th in the sectional with sophomore Olivia Howald placing 57th.
Competition begins at Eagle Park at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday morning.