A windy morning
turned Saturday’s New Prairie Cross Country Sectional into a tactical race
where being in the lead wasn’t necessarily the best strategy.
“The first two
miles were really slow,” Chesterton’s Shelby Bullock said. “There was so
much wind, nobody wanted to go out. I really had to work the last mile.”
Trojan junior made her move and when she did, it was decisive. Bullock and
Valapraiso’s Ava Gilliana pulled away to a two-person race over the last
mile and Bullock took control late to win in 18 minutes, 44.9 seconds.
surprised myself this season,” Bullock said. “It gives me so much more
confidence. I know I’m capable of staying with them. I just keep focusing on
my kick at the end. I knew coming into the race I had to keep them in my
grasp and give it my all the last mile.
“Ava was a real
motivator the last 800 (meters). We were by ourselves, so we were pushing
each other, motivating each other. We were on tired legs. This was actually
our hardest week of training. I just felt really good.”
Bullock keyed a
strong showing for Chesterton, which took third with 52 points, one behind
LaPorte. Valparaiso repeated as team champion at 39.
Chesterton coach Maggie Wolgamot said. “(Shelby) looked really strong. The
first mile was so slow. I knew she’d have to kill the pace the whole way.
You can’t wait ‘til the end. Whoever’s with you is with you.”
A team that’s run
well as a group but has lacked a front runner for a long time continues to
pack up and now it has that low number leading the way.
“The team’s really
excited,” Bullock said. “We know what we’re capable of as a team. We’ve come
so far. Everyone’s improving. We’re all gaining so much confidence.”
Kara Krol followed
Bullock in eighth at 19:56.6. Freshman Nalani Malackowski was 11th
(20:12.9), classmate Taylor Edwards 15th (20:29.1) and Elizabeth Canright
The Trojans had
their whole lineup in the top 25 with Rachel Hoffmann 21st (21:04.5) and
Rebecca White 25th (21:27.6).
“It was a tough
week of training,” Wolgamot said. “You never know when they’re tired how
they’re going to perform. We’ve got a race tactic we’re trying to perfect
for the rest of the postseason, just mental outlooks, check points during
the race. Kara ran really strong. She had a well-timed first mile. They
cling to one another in practice, so we try to keep five close in the race.
Every time they see a (teammate), we want to keep that contact.”
optimistic the Trojans will continue to trend positively in Saturday’s
return to New Prairie for the Regional.
“They put in the
mileage over the summer, but we’re really trying to train smarter, not
necessarily harder,” Wolgamot said. “It’s a whole process. It’s working