With the old rules in effect, no girls and only four boys would have advanced with only Kenny Little’s fifth place being good enough for area runners.
This year, Little is joined by teammates CJ Day and Andrew Mason as well as Clayton Corey of Fountain Central in reaching the regional.
Girls who advanced thanks to the change in rules were Carley Stoll, Jessica DeSutter, Ashley Brindle and Shay Day of Attica along with Sierra Grube and Gretchen Vicars of North Vermillion.
One person who likes the new rule is Fountain Central coach Clint Burney.
“This gives us something to work for,” he said. “I’ve got Morgan [Grubb] and Hannah Gayler who might get to semi-state but also Bailey Hoffa who only needs to drop 45 seconds to maybe make it.”
He continued, “As a coach, it gives me something to aim it, not just saying ‘Well, this is your last race.’”
North Vermillion coach Lorie Turchi said that with one exception, nobody on her team did anything spectacular.
“Most of my kids ran about as I expected,” she said, “Except for Kenzi Lamb, a freshman, who cut two-and-a-half minutes off her best time.”
Personal bests were common on the night with several runners saying the cool weather made it ideal running.
Little explained, “It was nice and cool and with a flat course, I was able to go out harder than I did [at the Wabash River Conference meet last week] and I think that helped me.”
His efforts were appreciated by Conner Million, whose fourth place finish was tops for area boys.
“I kept watching Kenny,” he said. “He kept getting closer and closer, but I felt good and kept ahead. I’m really happy with how I finished.”
All those who advanced will be running on Saturday at the Tippecanoe Amphitheater in West Lafayette with a start time of 10 a.m. Eastern.
Greg Flint is a freelance writer/photographer for the Commercial-News. He can be reached at email@example.com