WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Some things at the regional cross-county meet at the Tippecanoe Amphitheater came as no surprise. Other things came as quite a pleasant surprise.
As expected, West Lafayette swept the team titles with their girls dominating by putting five in the top seven places while their boys took the top four places and an 11th to capture the crowns.
Also as expected, the Seeger girls’ team advanced to the semi-state with a third-place finish.
“We’d hoped to get some revenge against Twin Lakes,” said Patriot head coach Miles Stuckey of the team that edged his squad for the sectional title, “But we couldn’t do it today. We did, however, beat Harrison for third after they beat us here last year.”
Stuckey said he was proud of his runners, saying that Cara Fowler who took ninth “always runs well” but that “our two through five runners really did well today.”
He also said the Conner Million had a personal best in the boys’ race “and getting him to semi-state is huge for us. I can’t remember when Seeger last had a boy get that far.”
Fountain Central took eighth in the girls’ team standings with Morgan Grubb advancing to semi-state as an individual.
Clint Burney said he was very pleased for Grubb but also wanted to mention the performance of Hannah Gayler.
“It was sloppy out there and a lot of kids didn’t come close to their best times,” he said, “But Hannah ran a season and career best out there today. She didn’t quite get out, but I’m really proud of the way she ran today.”
Burney said he took advantage of the new qualifying rules that let him give his team an additional week of practice.
“We had some short runs, but they ran hills because we wanted to be prepared for the hills on this course,” he explained.
Attica saw Kenny Little advance to the semi-state on the boys’ side. The junior said it was a rough course to run thanks to the overnight rain.
“It was very sloppy,” he said. “We had people slipping and falling at every turn, but I felt good out there.”
Little said he had a goal of reaching semi-state and according to his coach, he did so by breaking the school cross-country record for the fourth time this year.
Perhaps the most exciting thing for Attica was the finish of Carly Stoll. The sophomore is in her first year of running cross-county and she advanced to semi-state by finishing 33rd.
She broke into tears when her name was called as one of the ten who advance as individuals and they broke out again when she was hugged by her teammates.
“I wanted to do this, of course, but I didn’t really expect it,” she said about advancing. “I told myself I was just going to go out and run and have no regrets.”
Stoll is also a player on the Rambler volleyball team, but she said that was not a problem as far as conditioning was concerned.
“I had a good base from running this summer and I was able to run enough this fall to keep it up,” she said. “I think cross-country shows that if you put your mind into it, you can accomplish a lot. It’s taught me that this year.”
Greg Flint is a freelance writer/photographer for the Commercial-News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org