By GREG MENGELT
NEW ALBANY —
The season couldn’t have started much better for Floyd Central.
The Highlander boys and girls both dominated the New Albany High School Bulldog Classic on Saturday at the Prosser School of Technology.
Floyd Central’s girls, who are coming off sectional and regional championships in 2012, had the top three finishers, five of the top six and all seven Highlanders placed in the top nine.
“I was very happy with the Floyd girls today, especially all the new girls who ran their first high school race,” Floyd Central girls’ coach Carl Hook said. “All the girls worked very hard all summer and were excited about our first race of the season.”
Reigning News and Tribune Runner of the Year Lydia Kotowski took the win in the girls’ race for Floyd Central in a time of 20:02, pulling away from teammate Kassidy Manning for a 23-second cushion. Madison Barney was third in 20:52.
“We were for sure hoping for [the win],” Kotowski said. “It was good to see everyone finishing so strong.”
Kotowski said if the opening meet was any indication, it could be a special year for the Highlanders.
“I think we feel really hopeful,” she said. “I think we have a good chance to go to state. Anything can happen. It takes hard work.”
The sophomore had to personally overcome some respiration troubles to earn Saturday’s victory.
“I’ve had some breathing problems over the summer, but that didn’t pose too big of an issue today, so that was really good,” she said.
Manning, a classmate of Kotowski who has struggled with injuries, was glued to Kotowski for much of the race.
“It was good to see her running so well,” Kotowski said. “We’ve run and swam together since fifth grade. We try to push each other.”
New Albany finished a clear second, 34 points behind the rival Highlanders but 34 clear of third-place Charlestown. Junior Rose Kaforski broke up the Floyd contingency at the front with her fourth-place finish.
“She kind of stuck with [the Floyd runners] and that’s what we wanted her to do,” New Albany coach Paul Hamilton explained. “We’ll keep on making adjustments, but that was a great start for her.”
New Albany’s Temple Ricke was fifth, just ahead of Bulldog teammates Corinn Mundy and Nicole Lods.
“It was a much better start this year than last year,” Hamilton said. “We had some good runs out there. I knew they were excited about getting started and it looked like they had some fun out there today.”
Charlestown junior Whitney Andrews passed Floyd senior Jamie Bierman down the stretch to come in seventh in 21:40 for the third-place Pirates.
“I definitely wanted to stay in the 21s and I achieved that,” Andrews said. “My goal always to finish strong and I did that today. I passed one of the girls at the end, so I was glad of that.”
Cat Patton’s 14th-place finish paced Jeffersonville, which was fourth overall, just three points behind Charlestown.
Floyd didn’t dominate quite as much in the boys’ race. Floyd Central’s Luke Uhl won the race and Highlanders followed in places fourth through 10th. It was the first time the junior won a cross country meet individually. He trailed teammate Michael White, who led most of the way, and Providence’s Lincoln Ottersbach for most of the race, but passed both with about one kilometer remaining. He pulled away down the final stretch and beat Ottersbach to the line by three seconds in 17:07.
“I knew it was about time to make my move and it was time to start catching people from him there on in,” Uhl recalled. “I was motivated to take the No. 1 spot.
“I think it’s going to be a very successful [year] coming off a good track season. I’m looking forward to building on this.”
Ottersbach said he was out-kicked because he expended too much energy cheering on the Pioneer football team late Friday.
“I was at the big game, probably jumping around more than I should,” he explained. “I’m going to be fine for the season. I’ll win a couple of meets. I know I can. I know I’ll be able to run 16:30 by the end of the year.”
New Albany also took second in the boys’ race. The Bulldogs’ Matt Sogge passed White late in the race to finish third, five spots ahead of freshman teammate Tim Baumgart. Fellow Bulldog freshman Peyton Martin finished 11th.
Caleb Boutell led fourth-place Jeffersonville with a 14th-place finish in 19:30, while sophomore Eric Harris’ 12th-place finish was best for sixth-place Charlestown.
NEW ALBANY BULLDOG CLASSIC
Team scores: Floyd Central 17, New Albany 51, Charlestown 85, Jeffersonville 88, Providence Inc., Corydon Central inc.
Top 10: 1. Lydia Kotowski (F) 20:02, 2. Kassidy Manning (F) 20:25, 3. Madison Barney (F) 20:52, 4. Rose Kafarski (N) 21:01, 5. Gabrielle Rodriguez (F) 21:19, 6. Melanie Combs (F) 21:33, 7. Whitney Andrews (Ch), 8. Jamie Bierman (F) 21:42, 9. Zoe Doebbler (F) 22:13, 10. Temple Ricke (N) 22:23.
Floyd Central: 1. Kotowski, 2. Manning, 3. Barney, 5. Rodriguez, 6. Combs, 8. Bierman, 9. Doebbler.
New Albany: 4. Kaforski, 10. Ricke, 11. Corinn Mundy 22:41, 12. Nicole Lods 22:56, 15. Kaily Martin 23:29, 21. Rachel Bowden 24:32.
Charlestown: 7. Andrews, 16. Alysha Flaget 24:05, 20. Lauren Crowe 24:27, 24. Mary Hoff 25:05, 29. Kaitlynn Henning 27:30, 32. Molly Sumner 37:58.
Jeffersonville: 14. Cat Patton 23:23, 18. Josie Noel 24:18, 19. Candea Smith 24:26, 22. Madison Gavin 24:50, Heather Nichols 26:01, 26. Ashley Friederich 26:11, 30. Megan Haas 28:06.
Team scores: Floyd Central 23, New Albany 58, Providence 76, Corydon Central 89, Jeffersonville 120, Charlestown 134.
Top 10: 1. Luke Uhl (F) 17:07, 2. Lincoln Ottersbach (P) 17:10, 3. Matt Sogge (N) 17:20, 4. Michael White (F) 17:24, 5. Chad Lawrence (F)17:34, 6. Reese Tarr (F) 18:05, 7. Grant Vellinger (F) 18:10, 8. Jacob Pitts (CC) 18:26, 9. Tim Baumgart (N) 18:47, 10. Dylan Bachman (CC) 19:17.
Floyd Central. 1 Uhl, 4. White, 5. Lawrence, 6. Tarr, 7. Vellinger, 20. Nathan Manias 20:11.
New Albany: 3. Sogge, 9. Baumgart, 11. Peyton Martin 19:25, 17. James Haller 19:44, 18. Andrew Bostock 19:53, 21. Asher Wheat 20:19, 24. Theron Gust 20:42.
Providence: 2. Ottersbach, 13. Collin Rankin 19:28, 15. Luke Schoering 19:41, 19. Reid Masterson 19:54, 11. Nathan Shumate 21:12.
Jeffersonville: 14. Caleb Boutell 19:30, 16. Thibault Gillis 19:42, 29. Luke Cope 21:21, 30 . James McKinney 21:25, 31. Jack Ferraro 21:32, 32. Joseph King 21:58, 35. Andrey Kolbin 22:33.
Charlestown: 12. Eric Harris 19:27, 25. Tyler Peterson 20:51, 28. Seth Parker 21:19, 33. Brett Brooks 22:14, 36. Jake Flaget 27:09.