The 2020 Lady Marauders Cross Country program has once again qualified for semi-state! With a fantastic effort and several rebound performances for the girls, the Marauders battled their way through the Rushville course and secured their 15th consecutive semi-state berth.
Franklin Central dominated the event, proving their doubters wrong and winning the regional title with a mere 24 points. The real race was for second. After their seemingly constant foe of New Palestine beat the Marauders by 31 points at sectional last week, the Marauders closed the gap considerably and brought the team score to within 8 points.
“Our goal going in was to really close that gap to New Pal,” said Coach Coy. “They are a great team that is very well-coached with an abundance of experience, but our girls knew that they should never have beaten us by a 31 point margin at Sectional. It was a point of pride for our girls to close that gap. It was hard to tell with all of the individuals (runners that don’t count in the team scoring), but it was really close within the last 2 kilometers. Going 1,3 really helped them out in the end.”
Sophomores Melinda Cornelius and Tori Jenson came through in a big way for the Marauders, with both securing personal best times on a course that rarely sees personal records.
“Tori and Mindy clearly wanted to compete this week. Those two, along with Esther, did a really nice job of working with one another through the middle portions of the race. They got out at a reasonable pace for the first K and then got down to business. Mindy had a stinkin’ 20 second PR on a course that is not really geared to her skillset. I can’t say enough about Tori as well. She had a fantastic week of practice and got out of her own head today to run better than she has all year. Really proud of those two.”
Allie Jenson also had an outstanding race to add to her freshman campaign. Leading the Marauders with a 13th place finish, she was eager to rebound from a lackluster performance in last week’s sectional.
Junior Lydia Carrell admittedly got out a bit too fast once again, but gutted it out for her teammates and was the second Marauder lady to cross the line, followed closely behind by Cornelius and T. Jenson. A few places back, Esther Small rounded out the scoring for the Marauders top 5 with a solid showing, especially in the middle kilometers.
Morgan Tharp and Alex Overshiner took on the role of displacers this week, and while both did not have their best race, they will have the opportunity next week to run at a Shelbyville course where each girl has already earned PRs this season.
“We switched up our order once again, and while some girls ran great, others were a bit stale. I have no doubt that some of the girls that didn’t run as well today will rebound next week. Tharp excels on the Shelbyville course and Esther and Overshiner both ran exceptionally well there a few weeks ago to earn PRs. All of the girls just do a really nice job of stepping up when a teammate is off. I’m really excited for next week. I’m confident we can get all 7 girls hitting on all cylinders, both physically and mentally.”
In addition to Franklin Central, New Palestine, and Mt. Vernon, the final two teams to advance to the Shelbyville Semi-state were Roncalli in 4th, and Centerville in 5th to upset Warren Central.
A big congratulations also goes to Greenfield Central’s Audrey Brinkruff and New Castle’s Sydney Matthews and Lydia Harvey who will represent the HHC as individual qualifiers next week.
The girls Shelbyville Semi-State race is slated to start at 10:30AM next Saturday, the 24th, at the Blue River Cross Country Venue.