BY GREG FLINT
LAFAYETTE, Ind. —
Every runner and every team at the West Lafayette Harrison cross-country regional had a goal in mind when they stepped on the course at the Tippecanoe Amphitheater, but not all of them reached their target.
For the runners from the Wabash River Conference, the meet was a success as everyone came away with a positive feeling.
The Seeger girls’ team had a goal of finishing third, pushing Harrison for second and, in doing so, advanced to the New Prairie semi-state next Saturday.
It was mission accomplished for the Patriots who were led by top-15 finishes from Cara Fowler (9th) and Becca Haussin (15th).
Fowler appeared to be running hurt at the Benton Central last Tuesday, but seemed at full strength at the Regional.
“I maybe went out too hard and swung my arms too much at Sectional,” said Fowler. “It gave me a pain in the side, but it was gone by today and I felt like myself again.”
Running a time of 19 minutes, 42 seconds, Fowler said she reached a personal goal as she broke the school record by one second.
“It’s not just me,” she said about her good time, “but I think we all ran PR’s today.”
According to Seeger head coach Miles Stuckey, the team cut what he called “an amazing amount” off their team time as they dropped their total by over three minutes in averaging 21:01.40.
While that time was good enough to reach semi-state, Stuckey said that it is about a minute per girl too high to be likely to qualify for state.
“We’d like to get there next year,” he said, “although we’ll have to work really hard to do it. For us, this year, especially with a hard semi-state, it’s probably out of reach.”
The Fountain Central girls’ team also had a goal and that was to beat Benton Central in the team standings.
“We lost to them by one point at the sectional and two points during the season,” said Mustang head coach Clint Burney. “So we really wanted to beat them today.”
Once again, it was mission accomplished as the team handily defeated the Bison 203 to 242.
“It was an awesome performance for the team,” said Burney. “My girls’ all ran PR’s. Morgan Grubb improved 15 seconds and Rachel Johnson cut 20 so it was great.”
No boys’ teams from the WRC reached the Harrison regional, but there were three runners who qualified as individuals and they, too, did well.
Jon Flanary ran his final race in a North Vermillion uniform, as he will be graduating in December. He ran an 18:18, saying he enjoyed running on the winding, hilly amphitheater course.
Kenny Little of Attica was running in his first regional and it also was his first time even to see the regional course.
“It was a lot different,” he said. “The go out a lot faster than any race I’ve seen, but that was okay because it pulled me along. I ran a personal best so I’m happy.”
Little cut 16 seconds off his sectional time, but that was topped by Conner Million of Seeger — who dropped 20.
Million was the top area finisher for the boys, as he took 37th. He looked strong at the finish as he raced against this level of competition for the first time.
It is a rare regional when all the area runners walk away happy, but on this Saturday, they all did.