Regional Champs: The Chesterton girls
cross country team won the IHSAA New Prairie Regional title on Saturday.
Pictured are, front row (l to r), Hannah Hoffman, Haley Cushway, Sam
Giordano, Melanie Buckmaster, Rosie Biehl, Leah Sink and Kaylee Slont. Back
row (l to r) are Asst. Coach Sommer Watts-Forgey, Head Coach Brian Carden,
Kassidy Scott, Katie Haggerty, Erin Socha, Josie Tolin, Paige Nielsen and
The last time Valparaiso's girls cross country team didn't win the New
Prairie Regional, the title went to Chesterton in 2005.
Seven years later, it happened again.
The Trojans ended the Vikings' regional run at six years Saturday, capturing
the championship, 50-68.
"It feels good. It's nice to be there," Chesterton coach Brian Carden said.
"We know Valpo was a little banged up with (Ellie) Joll not running, but
we'll take it. A regional win is a regional win. That's the way I look at
it. We know that as long as we can run close to Valpo, we've got a good shot
Hannah Hoffmann (sixth, 19:35.7) led the way for Chesterton with Haley
Cushway next in 10th (19:42.8).
"I'll say it again, our seniors keep stepping up," Carden said.
Thanks to the trio of Leah Sink (13th, 19:54.2), Melanie Buckmaster (14th,
19:58) and Sam Giordano (17th, 19:58.9), Chesterton bested Valpo by putting
its top five ahead of the Vikings' fourth.
"The girls were so pumped up afterwards," Carden said. "We ran well as a
team. We finished well. We had the pack working, which is what we try to
instill in them. If someone's down, someone else is there to pick up the
slack. That's what we're trying to do as we keep moving on. Sam just missed
all-regional (top 15) by one place or we would've had five. She wanted that.
She's been our most improved runner by far. From Hannah, Haley to Mel, our
little freshman Leah, they all ran solid."
Chesterton also raced Rosie Biehl (23rd, 20:21.5) and Kaylee Slont (36th,
20:59.5), who filled in for Kassidy Scott.
"We want to try to give everyone a chance to run and Kassidy was a little
banged up," Carden said. "We told her, let's rest, get in a little workout
and get you back in the mix next (race)."
The post-race wasn't without a little drama as Carden found out that the
girls were actually wearing the boys bib numbers. The switch didn't have any
bearing on times or places, so it was not an issue.
"My blood pressure was going up here," Carden said.
The Trojans will return to New Prairie on Saturday looking to end their
string of semistate disappointments.
"We hope this is a good springboard," Carden said. "If we can do what we did
again next (race), we'll be going to a place (state) we haven't been in five
years. That's what we're shooting for."
AT NEW PRAIRIE
(Top 5 teams and
15 individials advance to Saturday's New Prairie Semistate)
1. Chesterton, 50; 2. Valparaiso, 68; 3. LaPorte, 89; 4. New Prairie, 91; 5.
Portage, 94; 6. Kankakee Valley, 143; 7. West Central, 200; 8. Rensselaer,
225; 9. North Judson, 245; 10. LaCrosse, 291.
1. Elena Lancioni (LP), 18:37.1; 2. Kyleigh Werner (SC), 18:52; 3. Rachel
Thompson (NP), 19:07.2; 4. Alison Mundell (V), 19:26.7; 5. Kelly O'Shea (W),
19:30.3; 6. Hannah Hoffmann ©, 19:35.7; 7. Michelle Kent (KV), 19:36.3; 8.
Aurora Bonner (V), 19:39.3; 10. Mickayla Wenzel (WC), 19:41.1; 11. Kyra Ball
(P), 19:42.8; 12. Mary McBride (NP), 19:43.6; 13. Leah Sink ©, 19:54.2; 14.
Melanie Buckmaster ©, 19:58; 15. Michaela Gazdich (V), 19:58.1; 16. Paige
Pizer (P), 19:58.5; 17. Sam Giordano ©, 19:58.9; 18. Kelsey Tyler (NP),
20:12.4; 19. Kailee Schoof (LP), 20:14; 20. Syndye Nossbusch (V), 20:14.
Other Chesterton finishers: 23. Rosie Biehl, 20:21.5; 36. Kaylee Slont,