As they announce
the standings at the New Prairie Semistate, the teams are counted down in
reverse order, starting with 20th place.
Schools sitting on
the bubble hold hands in a circle, their palms sweating, heart rates rising
and mouth’s drying as the number gets down inside the final 10, inching
toward the six spots that qualify for the cross country state finals in
When the name of
the seventh-place finisher is read aloud, one team's spirits sink while
others rejoice, knowing they made it.
itself on the sad side of that scenario Saturday, standing on the outside
looking in with 202 points, 13 behind sixth-place Lowell.
"Going into it, we
knew about 11 teams were going for six positions," Trojans coach Lindsay
Moskalick said. "Semistate is all about who shows up that day, when it
matters most. The team that finished third (Harrison), no one was really
expecting them. They came up and good for them. That's how the post-season
second to Valparaiso among Duneland Conference teams most of the season,
Chesterton found itself behind runner-Valparaiso (115), Portage (fourth,
171) and Lake Central (fifth, 185). West Lafayette was fifth with 99.
"Overall, I thought
we looked good," Mokalick said. "We had some spots we could have improved
upon. That's racing. It takes seven people to make it work and if one has an
off day, the other six have to step up. Unfortunately, it wasn't our day. A
couple girls were off. When a meet is that close, it's enough to put you on
the other side."
Bailey Ranta (11th,
19:11.6) earned an individual state berth. Ashley Craycraft (22nd, 19:31.5),
one of four seniors in the lineup, just missed joining Ranta, crossing 2.9
seconds back of the last qualifying spot.
"I thought today
was a good day for her," Moskalick said of Ranta. "I've told her all season
long I thought there was more in her. It comes down to her confidence in
herself and her believing she can do this. It's something she has to
continue to work on and hopefully it shows up at state and we'll go from
The falloff from
there for the Trojans was too much to overcome with Bree Gentry 62nd
(20:37.1) and Kaitlynn Leady 78th (20:44.2). Libby Boster finished 91st
(20:57.2) and Peyton Westphal 114th (21:29.5).
James led the field in 17:53.4, followed by Valpo's Ava Gilliana (18:38).
AT NEW PRAIRIE
1. West Lafayette
93, 2. Valparaiso 115, 3. Harrison (West Lafayette) 162, 4. Portage 171, 5.
Lake Central 185, 6. Lowell 189, 7. Chesterton 202, 8. Warsaw 212, 9. Crown
Point 240, 10. Rochester 263, 11. Culver Academy 271, 12. Wheeler 343, 13.
Benton Central 350, 14. Rensselaer 371, 15. Highland 381, 16. Munster 398,
17. Seeger 398, 18. Maconaquah 433, 19. McCutcheon 444, 20. Manchester 455.
1. Karina James (L)
17:53.4, 2. Ava Gilliana (V) 18:38, 2. Madilyn Calloway (Ro) 18:51.6, 4.
(Wh) 19:01.5, 5.
Mallory Hiatt (Ro) 19:03.5, 6. Haley Mansfield (WL) 19:04.9, 7. Hannah Roth
8. Caroline Jordan
(WL) 19:08, 9. Jaelyn Burgos (CP) 19:09.2, 10. Jennifer Romero (S) 19:09.5.
finishers: 11. Bailey Ranta 19:11.6, 22. Ashley Craycraft 19:31.5, 62. Bree
Gentry 20:32, 71. Kaitlyn VanKley 20:37.1, 78. Kaitlynn Leady 20:44.2, 91.
Libby Boster 20:57.2, 114. Peyton Westphal 21:29.5.