Until he heard his team's name announced, Brian Carden wouldn't allow
himself to exhale.
Everything pointed to the Chesterton girls cross country team advancing to
the state finals from Saturday's New Prairie Semistate, but the Trojan coach
has experienced too much misfortune to assume anything before it's official.
This is the program that's missed qualifying by one place. This is the
program that's lost a berth following a timing chip mixup.
"We've been burned here a few times," Carden said. "We checked, double
checked, numbers, everything. There weren't any issues. This is the senior
group that was burned by the chip thing. Since that time, it was their goal
to get back here to have a chance to run at state. Losing's not fun. But you
take all your experiences, take something from each disappointment, each
accomplishment, and learn from it."
After all its past drama, Chesterton actually made it out with only a little
suspense this time, finishing fourth with 172 points. The Trojans came in
five points behind third-place Valparaiso, which qualified among local
teams, along with Portage (sixth, 184). West Lafayette ran away with the
title, scoring 38. Eastern (Greentown) was runner-up at 93.
"It wasn't necessarily our most stellar day, but we still ran good," Carden
said. "We don't worry about times. Cross country's not really about times.
It's about racing and placing, keeping your eyes on people. Making the state
meet has been our goal all year. We're satsified."
Chesterton didn't come in early, but when they did, they came in often, its
top six separated by just 26 places (28th through 54th) and about 34
"We've been trying to move up a little bit and they just kept moving up,"
Carden said. "Hannah (Hoffmann), Haley (Cushway), Sam (Giordano), Leah
(Sink), they all ran solid. Sam was our ninth, 10th girl last year and Rosie
(Biehl) had never run in her life. She probably had the best race of her
career, as short as it's been, and our six was right there again."
Hoffman placed 28th (20:04.3), with Sink (32nd, 20:13.6) and Cushway (36th,
20:16.3) following in short order. Giordano (45th, 20:30.2) and Biehl (48th,
20:32) also scored. Melanie Buckmaster (54th, 20:38.7) and Kassidy Scott
(92nd, 21:26.6) also ran for the Trojans.
"We did some things that were a little tricky with training, focusing on
this week with a goal of moving on, getting to the state meet," Carden said.
Warsaw's Ashley Erba won impressively in a meet- and course-record time of
17:06.9 that was reported to be the fastest 5K run ever by an Indiana high
school girl. The mark, however, didn't last long as McCutcheon's Anna Rohrer
topped it about an hour later at the New Haven Semistate.
The state finals race is at noon Saturday at the Lavern Gibson Championship
Course in Terre Haute.
"This season kind of came in like a lion and is going out like a lamb,"
Carden said. "We had some rough spots with the chemistry of the team, but we
started to gel when we needed to. Thatís why we're here."
(Top 6 teams and
15 individuals qualify for Saturday's state finals in Terre Haute)
1. West Lafayette, 38; 2. Eastern (Greentown), 93; 3. Valparaiso, 167; 4.
Chesterton, 172; 5. Warsaw, 180; 6. Portage, 184; 7. LaPorte, 194; 8.
Rochester, 238; 9. New Prairie, 256; 10. Lake Central, 267; 11. Crown Point,
286; 12. West Lafayette Harrison, 319; 13. Hobart, 341; 14. Hebron, 367; 15.
Culver Academy, 382; 16. Munster, 391; 17. Twin Lakes, 396; 18. Seeger, 407;
19. Plymouth, 424; 20. Frankfort, 572.
1. Ashley Erba (War) 17:06.9 (meet and course record), 2. Bobbie Burgess (WL)
17:38, 3. Bethany Neeley (E) 18:18.3, 4, Elena Lancioni (LP) 18:36.5, 5.
Madeline Lilly (TL) 18:51.1, 6. Anna Bearss (R) 18:51.3, 7. Grace Lachmund (WL)
18:59.2, 8. Taylor Austin (Griffith) 19:00, 9. Lauren Johnson (WL) 19:05,
10. Sarah Ray (War) 19:05.1, 11. Kristen Johnson (WL) 19:08.3, 12. Cailey
Daluga (WL) 19:11.3, 13. Rachel Thompson (NP) 19:15.4, 14. Brittany Neeley
(E) 19:17.3, 15. Delaney Barber (WL) 19:18.9, 16. Kyra Ball (Po) 19:21.5,
17. Olivia Johnson (Ha) 19:23.9, 18. Anna Meyer (R) 19:38.4, 10. Sarah
Wagner (E) 19:39.6, 20. Mindy Whidden (Ho) 19:42.6.
Chesterton finishers: 28. Hannah Hoffman, 20:04.3; 32. Leah Sink, 20:13.6;
36. Haley Cushway, 20:16.3; 45. Sam Giordano, 20:30.2; 48. Rosie Biehl,
20:32; 54. Melanie Buckmaster, 20:38.7; 92. Kassidy Scott, 21:26.6.