By TR HARLAN
The postseason title run of the Chesterton boys cross country team continues
with just two legs left.
After winning the Sectional title on Tuesday, the Trojans picked up the New
Prairie Regional title Saturday with a solid performance led by Chester
Vanek. Chesterton will continue its postseason run with the New Prairie
Semistate next Saturday.
The Trojans totaled just 44 points, beating Duneland Athletic Conference
rivals LaPorte (53), Michigan City (81), Portage (117) and Valparaiso (138).
“As a team we really haven’t had a race where we ran that solid from top to
bottom,” Chesterton coach Tim Ray said. “And this is the time of the year
for that to happen.”
Vanek was the Trojans’ top performer with a third place finish overall that
did more than just lend a low number for Chesterton’s team title.
“I broke myself around the 2K mark,” Vanek said. “I’d been pulling the
Michigan City guys with me, but they finally fell off and it allowed my
teammates to get ahead of them.
“We knew we needed to get in between Michigan City’s team pack.”
Vanek trailed New Prairie’s Ryan Toth through the majority of the race, but
it was LaPorte’s Michael Fout, the individual winner, that had Vanek’s
“I went out to win,” Vanek said. “I had a feeling Fout would come from
behind. I wanted to try and get enough distance on him to hold him off.
“I was trying to stick with the New Prairie guy. I was surprised he had as
much left as he did at the end.”
Ray was impressed with his team’s, and Vanek’s, performance.
“Chester went out extremely hard,” Ray said. “We talked about some different
strategies in breaking up this pack or breaking up that pack.
We knew how good LaPorte and Michigan City were from the conference race.
You’re talking about some really good programs right there.”
Vanek’s breakthrough into an upper echelon runner has solidified an already
“I’ve been training really hard,” Vanek said. “We all have and I think
that’s finally catching up. I’d been tired through races from training
through them, now it’s paying off.”
Ray gives some of the credit to the program, but more of it to the kids.
“You’d like to say ‘yeah, everything’s going the way we planned it,’ but you
put in a system and they know what to expect,” Ray said. “This is our
seventh year now and they know going to the line at this point in the
season, they’re ready.
“You hope it works the way you want it to, but it’s up to the kids to go out
and perform. They did that today.”
The Trojans placed four runners in the top 10. David Osborn finished fifth
in 16:35, while Russell Wilk (9th, 16:50) and Dan Osborn (10th, 16:52)
“I think everyone just had a solid race,” Ray said. “It was a fast early
pace and our guys did a nice job of just hanging on. We really competed
It doesn’t get easier as the Trojans look for a state finals berth next
Saturday at New Prairie.
“We know we’re one of the teams in the hunt to advance next week,” Ray said.
“There will be a lot of teams here, including LaPorte and Michigan City,
that will make it a great race.”
Overall Team Standings
1. Chesterton, 44; 2. LaPorte, 53; 3. Michigan City, 81; 4. Portage, 117; 5.
Valparaiso, 138; 6. New Prairie, 138; 7. Glenn, 206; 8. Wheeler, 214; 9.
Top 15 Individual Finishers
1 – Michael Fout (L), 16:13; 2. Ryan Toth (NP), 16:19; 3. Chester Vanek (C),
16:24; 4. Kiel Lovekin (L), 16:26; 5. David Osborn (C), 16:35; 6. Matt
Miller (L), 16:38; 7. Robert Braddy (MC), 16:39; 8. Phillip Strader (MC),
16:45; 9. Russell Wilk (C), 16:50; 10. Dan Osborn (C), 16:52; 11. Jake
Carden (K), 16:52; 12. Alec Rosario (W), 16:54; 13. Austin O’Connor (G),
16:54; 14. Robert Loop (MC), 16:55; 15. Max Mulvihill (P), 17:05.
Other Chesterton finishers: 17. Tim Carmody, 17:09.