Cross Country Semi-State Preview

State finals on the minds of many area runners

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A total of seven area cross country runners will all by vying for a spot in the IHSAA State Finals on Saturday.

Ryan Miller, Sophia Melevage and Elyse Widmer from Crawfordsville all qualified out of the Ben Davis Regional last Saturday and will race at Blue River Park in Shelbyville this Saturday. This will be the first time any of the three runners has advanced this far into the season. With this being beind a first for all three Athenian runners, coach Megan Craig is wanting them to enjoy the experience more than anything.

“The atmosphere at practice has been very relaxed this week,” Craig said. “We will talk more about race strategy closer to Saturday, but right now I want the athletes to have an opportunity to enjoy the accomplishment of making it to the semi state race. Racing can be very mentally fatiguing, ensuring that they have had time to mentally and physically recover is essential. We want to make sure that they are mentally prepared for Saturday but without putting any pressure on them.”

Miller placed 15th individually at the regional, while Melevage earned a 16th place finish and Widmer a 41st place finish. With nothing being guarenteed at this point in the season, the goal of the Athenians is to race as well as they can and with multiple teammates there Craig believes that  also will help with the overall nerves of the race.

“Ultimately, we want the athletes to end the season with a personal record,” she said. “There are times that the course or conditions do not allow for that to happen, so we just hope that the race is good and they are happy with the results as the season comes to a close. Having multiple runners at the race is very beneficial. You want the atmosphere to be as similar to the season as possible. Having their teammates there with them, helps keep their nerves at bay.”

Southmont’s Faith Allen will join the trio of Athenians at Shelbyville after placing 10th last weekend. Semistate is nothing new for Allen who will be competing there for the thrid time. The goal this season is simple, finally break through.

“After just missing out last season, it became a reality to me that I can make to state,” Allen said. “It’s more than just going out for a run this time. I know that I’ll have to run hard to get out. I know my high school career is coming to a close so I have to kick it into high gear if I’m going to make a lasting impression.”

“This would meet a goal that she has had for the last few years,” Southmont coach Shelley Allen said. “She’s put in the work to get there.”

North Montgomery will be represented by senior Elijah McCartney who placed 13th overall at the Harrison Regional.

McCartney will race at the New Prairie Semi-State and will look to end his senior season with an appearance at the state final.

“This has been the result of many years of hard work for him,” North Motngomery coach Cassi Hicks said. “To qualify for the state finals would be a validation for him. He’s the type of runner who goes into races with confidence.”

Fountain Central also will have two runnners at the New Prairie Semi-State. Brailey Hoagland placed 10th in the girls race, while Hayden Kler qualified with a 22nd place finish.

The top 10 individuals from non-advancing teams will qualify for next weekends state finals at Terre Haute.

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