By KEVIN HARRIS
> SOUTHERN INDIANA —
The 2012 season was a historic campaign for the Borden boys’ cross country team.
For the first time in program history, the Braves captured a sectional championship. Borden tallied 58 points by having its top five runners finish in the top 18 to win the coveted crown at Crawford County.
This season, the Braves return four of their top five runners, giving them a chance to repeat as sectional champions.
Borden coach Liz Carmony says one important piece of the championship puzzle must develop — a No. 5 runner. The loss of standout runner Brian Eurton to graduation has opened an opportunity for one of the younger Braves’ runners to step up.
“Our team’s success is going to be largely determined by the improvement of our fifth runner. This is detrimental to our success,” Carmony said. “There is no secret that our success is based on our fifth runner. With that said, we will see how our five to 10 boys improve and hope that we will have a chance at another sectional title.”
The Braves have several candidates in the running to fill that No. 5 hole. Those candidates include seniors Brian McGee and David Vansant, juniors Andy Stonecipher and David Wright and sophomore Will Little.
One of those runners will join a solid group of four runners in seniors Nathen Magallanes and George Tipker, junior Gavin Tipker and sophomore Julien Magallanes.
“I have stressed to our team the need to stay focused, train smart and develop a competitive top five,” Carmony said. “To be honest, my expectations for our team are not the same as last year’s because of my doubts concerning the contribution of our fifth runner.”
Borden will face a difficult schedule to prepare for the postseason. The Braves will run in several formidable invitationals at Martinsville, North Harrison, Bedford North Lawrence and Brown County. Carmony expects Lanesville to be Borden’s toughest foe in the Southern Athletic Conference. She also says Floyd Central and North Harrison will be difficult to beat at sectional.
OTHER BOYS’ TEAMS
After having only two runners in 2012, the Pirates have increased their numbers enough to have a complete team this year.
Three Charlestown runners will battle for the No. 1 spot in senior Tyler Peterson, sophomore Eric Harris and freshman Seth Parker. Senior Brett Brooks returns for the Pirates. Charlestown also welcomes junior newcomer Jake Flaget.
“I am extremely excited this year, going from only two runners last year to fielding a complete team this year. I have hopes of adding a couple more runners before the season starts,” Pirates’ coach Jerry Doyle said. “My seniors have worked very hard this summer, and both are running at a higher level than they were this time last year.”
Coach David Gardner continues to rebuild the Generals’ program. He currently has five runners, with four being newcomers. Gardner hopes to add a couple of more runners before the season begins. He says Clarksville’s toughest regular-season meet will be the Eagle Classic at Brown County.
Coach Tim Korte welcomes back several runners from last season’s squad. Grant Reynolds and Reese Tarr are the lone two seniors for the Highlanders. The junior class consists of Luke Uhl, Alec Heitz, Grant Vellenger and Chad Lawrence. Sophomore Michael White also returns.
Korte says the two toughest meets on a challenging regular-season slate are the Eagle Classic and the Trinity Invitational. Korte thinks Seymour is the best team in the Hoosier Hills Conference and Borden is the favorite to win the Crawford County Sectional and Crawford County Regional.
Junior Jacob Hedrick is the Hornets’ best returning runner, and coach Brad Nifong thinks he has a chance to qualify for regional.
Nifong says the Hornets’ schedule is tough as they will be tested several times by SAC rival Borden on their slate.
“I kind of look at them as a measuring stick for our improvement,” Nifong said. “We hope to finish no worse than second in the SAC. We would like to improve on our fifth-place team finish in the sectional [from a year ago].”
The Red Devils are expected to go through some growing pains as they have a young and inexperienced roster.
Caleb Boutell has the most varsity experience as he was Jeff’s No. 6 or 7 runner in most meets last season. Sophomore Luke Cope also returns to the Red Devils. As for the rest of the Jeff roster, it consists of junior varsity runners from a year ago and newcomers.
“This season is a mystery to me. I have never been in this situation of not knowing much about my team, but I like it,” Jeff coach Mark Felix said. “We will be a work in progress with a lot of new kids, little experience and very tough competition.”
Coach Paul Hamilton says this season’s team is one of his youngest in his 20-year coaching career, but he says he has got a lot of good, young talent.
Sophomore Matt Sogge is expected to be the Bulldogs’ top runner. The rest of New Albany’s top four runners are senior Theron Gust and juniors Andrew Bostock and Tre Lynch.
More than half of New Albany’s roster are freshmen. Headlining that group are Tim Baumgart, Asher Wheat and James Haller. Hamilton thinks Seymour, Bedford North Lawrence and Floyd Central are the top teams in the HHC, while the Highlanders, Borden and North Harrison will battle for the Crawford County Sectional title.
“The outlook for our season appears promising,” Hamilton said. “We’ve had a great summer of attendance. The guys have learned the importance of dedication. With young runners, you see improvement by leaps and bounds. We are hoping to see their improvement sky-rocket from now through October.”
Three key runners return for the Mustangs in senior Devin Herron and juniors James Clemons and Matthew Mosley. Freshman Bailey Hecker is expected to be a major contributor for New Wash.
Coach Jonathan May is looking for a new leader after the graduation of Adan Diaz.
“With the loss of Adan Diaz, we will be looking for someone to not only push themselves, but the rest of their teammates each day in practice,” May said. “Our guys need to learn to have more mental and physical toughness in order to fight through the ups and downs of a race.”
With several runners returning, the Pioneers have set a goal of qualifying for the semistate. Providence has three seniors in Lincoln Ottersbach, Alex Grove and Spencer Mitchell, a junior in Nathan Shumate and a sophomore in Collin Rankin. The addition of three freshmen in Luke Schoering, Reid Masterson and Evan Rogers should give the Pioneers some depth.
“The boys should be good,” coach Chuck Crowley said. “The top eight runners really worked hard over the summer.”
Providence will be involved in some tough regular-season invitationals at Martinsville, Guerin Catholic and Crawford County. Crowley expects Borden and North Harrison to be the teams to beat at the Crawford County Sectional.
Despite having no seniors this season, the Dragons are expected to be competitive thanks to some experienced runners. Those veterans include juniors Morgan Davidson, Tanner Coots and Tyler Priddy and sophomore
Silver Creek welcomes seven newcomers, as coach Darrell Kingery expects freshmen Cameron Stephens, Matthew Bottorf and Boone Barton to contribute right away. Kingery says Madison is the favorite to win the Southwestern Sectional and he thinks North Harrison is the best team in the Mid-Southern Conference.
“Hopefully, we will be able to develop this group into a very competitive team,” Kingery said. “Our goals are to try to repeat as sectional champions, win conference and get as far as we can in the state tournament. I think this group is looking forward to the challenge of being a good cross country team.”
The Braves have their top two runners from last year’s SAC championship team back in senior Abby Ellis and sophomore Brooklyn Agnew, but Carmony welcomes three newcomers with little experience.
Carmony expects every meet to be a challenge for her runners.
“I would love to repeat as conference champs and advance to regionals like last year. But it is too early to tell with so many new runners,” Carmony said. “We do have our top two back from last year, but I’m unsure about what is to come with the rest of the team. We do only have five girls, but we were able to do good things last year with only five runners.”
The Pirates’ top runner returns in junior Whitney Andrews, who has qualified for regional the past two seasons. Returning to the fray with Andrews are seniors Lauren Crowe and Mary Hoff and junior Alysha Flaget.
Three newcomers join the Pirates in juniors Kaitlynn Henning and Keeley Couch and freshman Molly Summer.
“We are looking for a very competitive season not only individually, but I am also looking to be competitive as a team. Last year, we were one girl short of fielding a complete team,” Doyle said.
Like the Generals’ boys’ program, Gardner is trying to rebuild the Clarksville girls’ program. After not having a team last year, Gardner is looking to have three runners come out for the squad this season.
The Highlanders have several returnees and should be a contender to repeat as sectional and regional champions at Crawford County. Among the returning runners are seniors Jamie Bierman and Zoe Doebbler, juniors
Gabrielle Rodriguez, Cassie Nale and Haley Meyer and sophomores Lydia Kotowski, Kassidy Manning and Madison Barney.
Coach Carl Hook says several returnees and newcomers will be batting for spots on the varsity roster. He expects his team to battle with New Albany and Seymour for the HHC crown. As for the sectional, he looks for the Bulldogs to be the Highlanders’ strongest competition.
“If we can keep everybody healthy, we have a chance to be pretty good,” Hook said. “The girls have worked hard this summer and are excited about racing.”
Senior Sadie Spears comes back to the Hornets after winning the Southwestern Sectional title and qualifying for semistate last season.
Junior Megan O’Lone also returns following her regional berth in 2012 and Nifong expects big things from freshman Cia Greene.
One of Henryville’s goals is to win the SAC title. But the Hornets will most likely have to get past defending conference champion Borden to achieve that feat.
“I expect Spears and Greene to get to the [IHSAA] state meet as individuals. We want to win conference as a team,” Nifong said.
Tom Kendall returns to Jeff to coach the Red Devils and will have some experienced runners to work with. Jeff will be led by seniors Ashley Friedrich, Maddie Gavin, Heather Nichols and Cat Patton. Also coming back for the Devils are junior Hamilton Dickey and sophomore Kayla DeArk.
Jeff newcomers include senior Hanna Scott, sophomore Candea Smith and freshman Josie Noel. The Red Devils will be busy at the start of the season with five meets in 10 days. Kendall says Floyd Central and New Albany are the teams to beat in the HHC.
“I’m looking forward to this season,” Kendall said. “The team is working hard, and they are looking forward to competing and improving with each meet.”
Hamilton expects to get solid leadership from his returning seniors in Temple Ricke, Rachel Bowden and Corinn Mundy. The Bulldogs have two talented juniors in Rose Kaforski and Rachel Geveden.
Hamilton also is looking for solid seasons from sophomores Kailey Martin and Emma Bauer and freshman Nicole Lods.
Hamilton thinks the North Harrison Invitational and the Eagle Classic at Brown County will help prepare his team for the postseason. He says the toughest competition in the HHC is Floyd Central, Seymour and Madison, and expects the Highlanders and North Harrison to be among the contenders for the Crawford County Sectional crown.
“I am expecting more consistency race to race this season,” Hamilton said. “These girls know how to compete and what it takes to succeed. They are chomping at the bit for the season to get going.”
Seniors Courtney Morgan and Tori Wiggam and junior Kelsey Rhoten are the Mustangs’ top returning runners. Other returnees include seniors Brooke Abbott and Isabella Glover and juniors Emily Holloway and Breanne Ward.
Coach Tabitha Sexton says freshman Olivia Graebe is a runner to keep an eye on after a successful middle school career.
“The girls have been training well throughout the summer, and we will be ready to compete in our first meet on Aug. 29 at Charlestown State Park,” Sexton said.
The Pioneers will try to qualify for regional for the fifth consecutive season, but it will not be easy after the graduation of three key seniors.
Coming back for Providence are senior Ginny McCauley and juniors Allie Lowery and Sammie Stiner. The Pioneers have two newcomers in Vanessa and Stefany Covarrubias.
“The girls’ team is a lot smaller,” Crowley said. “We’re hoping for some more new runners. The girls’ streak of making it to the regional may be in jeopardy.”
Every runner from the Dragons’ 2012 team that won the MSC and Southwestern Sectional returns, led by veteran senior Brittany Sharp. Juniors Jessica Backherms, Mackenzie Crouch and Maggie Shields are among Silver Creek’s
top four runners.
Other returnees are juniors Paris Brock, Miranda Coats and Jacklyn Helton and sophomore Emory Lewis.
Kingery says the Dragons will have to contend with Salem if they are to repeat as MSC champions. He thinks Madison will be tough to beat at sectional.
“Our goal is to improve on last year’s ninth-place semistate finish and get to the state meet in Terre Haute,” said Kingery, who welcomes five newcomers. “Obviously, our expectations are very high if we can keep everyone healthy.”Kingery also pointed out that Brock, Coats, Helton and Lewis have worked hard over the summer to close the gap between No. 4 and 5 runners.
NOTE: Information on the boys’ and girls’ cross country teams at both Christian Academy and Eastern and the Rock Creek Academy boys’ cross country team could not be obtained. Coaches from those teams did not respond to emails and phone messages requesting for this information.