A trio of Montgomery County cross country runners will be vying for their first appearances at the state meet.
Southmont’s Faith Allen and Crawfordsville’s Hunter Hutchison will compete Saturday at the Shelbyville semi-state, while North Montgomery’s Elijah McCartney will run at the New Prairie semi-state meet.
Allen placed sixth at the Brownsburg regional. The sophomore experienced semi-state last season as a freshman, and is eager to continue that success in her young career. Advancing to the state meet would be the next step in that process.
“My time last year at semi-state was a little slower than what I ran most of that season,” Allen said. “It starts with being able to run a quicker time. It’d mean a lot for me to be able to make it to the state meet. I feel like it’d be really gratifying to get there.”
Coach Shelly Allen would love to see Faith make it to the state level not just because she is her coach, but also as a parent.
“This would be everything that she has worked toward since she started running,” Shelly Allen said. “To see her get to compete at the state level would be awesome. She puts in a ton of work and I’d loved watching her succeed because of it.”
Allen’s personal best is 19:02, which is two seconds from tying the all-time Southmont record. Allen knows to advance to state she’ll have to break that 19-minute mark.
Hutchison is a senior who is looking to cap off his career with a state meet appearance. Like Allen, this will be Hutchison’s second appearance at semi-state, but his first since his freshman season when the Athenians qualified as a team.
“It’s going to be a different experience not having my team there in the race with me,” Hutchison said. “The good thing is that I do have a lot more experience than my first time around and I know what I’m doing now. I think that will impact it more and have a better benefit.”
Coach Megan Craig has seen Hutchison rise through the ranks of the Athenian cross country team.
“I think it was crucial for him as a freshman to be there with the team,” she said. “When he’s looked at being back there for so long now, you come in with a great mindset. He’s been free-spirited all season long and I hope he’ll keep that up on Saturday.”
Hutchison called the chance to get to compete against the best runners in the state “crazy.”
Hutchison believes he will need to run a 16:25 in order to advance, which isn’t too far off for him.
“Watching him grow throughout his time in elementary school and up until now, to get to state for him would be a great accomplishment for him,” Craig said. “It will be difficult, but the success he’s had as a senior this year is something to be very proud of.”
Like Hutchison McCartney will look to cap off his career with an appearance at the state meet. He placed 21st at Harrison with a time of 17:32.
Fountain Central’s Logan Pietrzak was the last area runner to compete at the state meet in 2018.