By JIM PETERS
How close was
Saturday’s Duneland Athletic Conference girls cross country meet?
Less than a tenth
of a second determined the outcome at Kesling Park.
in a tie for first place with Valparaiso, both scoring 58 points, but
claimed the title by virtue of a better sixth runner score. If Ciara Bonner
had not edged Lake Central’s Rachel Narjes for ninth, both clocking 19:42.3,
Liz Hibshman’s 23rd-place finish wouldn’t have been such a big deal.
“We’ve been telling
the girls all seven count,” Chesterton coach Lindsay Moskalick said. “It was
almost like we were fighting the whole time for places. Alyssa (Dunlap)
broke the Lake Central pack, which we were talking about with her. Liz
coming through as our No. 6 really sealed the deal. She was a JV girl last
year. She did what we’ve been telling her she’s capable of all season long.”
As a result, the
Trojans won their first DAC championship since 1998, when their coach was a
freshman on the team.
“I researched it
and found out,” Moskalick said. “There was a year we finished second at
state and Valpo won, so we didn’t win (DAC). I was telling the girls, let’s
Bailey Ranta made
her own history, breaking Shelby Bullock’s Chesterton record of 18:06 by
clocking in at 18:04.3. The Trojans junior raised her arms and shrieked as
she reached the finish line, knowing she’d beaten the time Bullock, now at
Purdue, ran in 2017.
“I looked at the
time and I had to sprint,” Ranta said. “I actually did it, it was just so
emotional. It surprised me. It was just so great. Shelby was a senior when I
was a freshman. She was someone I really looked up to.”
Politza pushed a hard early pace, forcing Ranta to adjust her strategy, but
she got things in order soon enough, eventually winning by 39 seconds.
“At the start, I
kind of lost it,” Ranta said. “I had to quickly change my mindset that I can
win this. I knew she was going to take off, so I couldn’t let her get that
far ahead. I just had to stay with her. I really tried to break her at the
1K. I didn’t look back from there. I just kept pushing it, pushing it. She
didn’t come with me, so I just kept going.”
done with a little less drama, but liked how her team responded to the
“Those low three
numbers are going to help you in a meet like today,” she said of Valpo’s
2-3-7 finish. “I think it’s good for (Ranta), healthy competition. Bailey
needs that. That’s running. As each meet keeps building, it’s going to be
adding more competition to help push her. Kaylie took off pretty quick and I
don’t think Bailey necessarily responded until about 1K. She just raced
In addition to
Politza, Valpo had Cheyanne Clark take third and Grace Thomas seventh, but
Chesterton put seven in before its fifth.
“We really closed
the gap (with Chesterton),” Valpo coach John Arredondo said. “When you’re
that close, it sucks. Generally, you’d rather have lost by 20 points than by
a tiebreaker. It’s like losing on a last-second shot in basketball. We
always preach to the girls that every point counts, but it’s the best we’ve
run all year. I hope it’s setting the stage for us to continue. We tend to
get better in the post-season and I hope that is the trend.”
AT KESLING PARK
1. Chesterton, 58;
2. Valparaiso, 58; 3. Lake Central, 70; 4. Crown Point, 92; 5. LaPorte, 118;
6. Portage, 124; 7. Merrillville, NTS.
1 Bailey Ranta ©,
18:04.3; 2. Kaylie Politza (V), 18:43.7; 3. Cheyanne Stock (V), 19:12.9; 4.
Ella Bensz (LP), 19:13.5; 5. Jaelyn Burgos (CP), 19:21.6; 6. Morgan
McCulloch (P), 19:32.7; 7. Grace Thomas (V), 19:36.4; 8. Natalie Kransky
(LC), 19:39.5; 9. Ciara Bonner ©, 19:42.3; 10. Rachel Narjes (LC), 19:42.3.
finishers: 11. Bree Gentry, 19:43.1; 18. Catherine White, 20:05.5; 19.
Alyssa Dunlap, 20:05.8; 23. Liz Hibshman, 20:27.5; 27. McKenna Handley,
1. Lake Central,
30; 2. Chesterton, 48; 3. Valparaiso, 49; 4. Crown Point, 93; 5. LaPorte,
132; 6. Portage, 198; 7. Merrillville, 220; 8. Michigan City, NTS.
1. Emily Thomas
(LC), 20:23.7; 2. Nicole Vollrath (LC), 20:34.4; 3. Angela Coulopolous (V),
20:35.1; 4. Isabelle Martisek (LC), 20:43.9; 5. Abby Artherhults (V),
finishers: 6. Frances Clancy, 20:49.6; 9. Addison Leady, 21:02.5; 10.
Madison Trumbo, 21:04.4; 11. Nalani Malackowski, 21:13.3; 12. Ali Sierazy,
21:15.1; 13. Grace Carpenter, 21:18.4; 20. Bella Smith, 21:47.5; 29. Olivia
Kozak, 22:17.5; 35. Sydney Szabo, 22:22.9; 49. Emma Brown, 22:50.6; 54.
Kaielyn Van Kley, 23:07.6; 56. Mal Morrison, 23:12.3; 58. Rachel Cohen,
23:15.5; 61. Coryn Rodriguez, 23;29.5; 62. Kara Haynes, 23:32.3; 66. Justyne
Phillips, 23:54.6; 67. Maddie Burns, 23:56.1; 76. Alissa Capehart, 24:21.9;
82. Madison Wunderlin, 24:48.1; 85. Sophie Arthur, 24:56.6; 88. Payton
Shideler, 25:18.9; 93. Jordan Huneryager, 25:56.6; 106. Chloe Wisniewski,