Chesterton Tribune

Chesterton runners make history with first boys cross country semistate win

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Steve Vrska

(David Canright photo)

Steve Vrska

(Ken Peterson photo)

John Pol

(David Canright photo)

John Pol

(Ken Peterson photo)

Mike Darnell cheered on by Megan Pierce (left) and Scott Freeland

(David Canright photo)

Lindsay Hattendorf

(Ken Peterson photo)

Cassie Peller

(David Canright photo)

Nicole Hartford

(David Canright photo)

Kelly Allison

(Ken Peterson photo)

Boys Team: Team members, pictured left to right are first row, Coach Tom Moeller, Doug Sindelar, Max Goldak, Dan Keller, Dan Styf, L.J. Pol, Mike Darnell and Steve Vrska. Second row, Bryan Nallenweg, Dylan Gernick, Scott Freeland, Bobby Campbell and Jordan Keller. Third row, Neal Ryan, Geoff Lambert, Matt Campbell, Adrian Solis, Adam Hunt and Coach Tim Ray. Fourth row, Nathan Reed, Chris Allison, Joe Henrys, Kevin Kearney, Kyle Huber, Coach Steve Kearney, Matt Mishler and Alex Cornwell. The team out ran 20 of the best teams in northern Indiana to advance to  the state meet Saturday in Bloomington.

(Tribune photo by Margaret L. Willis)

 

CHS Girls Cross Country team placed second in Saturday¹s semistate meet, with 58 points to Valparaiso¹s 42. Team members pictured here, left to right are Coach Tom Moeller, Katie Nadratowski, Lindsay Hattendorf, Nicole Hartford, Kelly Allison and Coach Jennifer Petersen. Second row, Megan Pierce, Mandi Loving, Emily Haas and Cassie Peller. Third row, Emma Klein, Jessie Kowalski, Rachel Fisher, Stephanie Nothelle and Coach Steve Kearney. Back row, Jenny Rietman, Lexi Yelton, Lynzi Lorenz, Jessica Racchia and Susan Swarner.

(Tribune photo by Margaret L. Willis)

 

By KEN PETERSON

NEW CARLISLE - As Chesterton cross country coach Steve Kearney stood in the middle of the New Prairie High School gymnasium Saturday afternoon, the smile on his face glowed as bright as the afternoon sun.

On an absolutely gorgeous day, the Chesterton boys and girls cross country teams made loud and clear statements not only to the semistate field, but to those who will be in Bloomington this Saturday for the IHSAA state cross country finals.

Led once again by an outstanding effort from senior Steve Vrska, the boys team took home the semistate title with 76 points. Lake Central was second with 137, Valparaiso and New Prairie each finished with 154 points, but the Vikings took third place on the sixth man tiebreaker and South Bend Riley took fifth with a 163, edging sixth place Portage by one point.

Riley’s win marks the first time since 1980 that a South Bend public school has advanced to the state finals. It is also the first time in recent memory that neither a Portage boys or girls team has made it to the state finals.

On the girls side, defending state champion Valparaiso won with 42 points while Chesterton was second with 58 points. West Lafayette was third with 116 points, New Prairie fourth with 130 points and South Bend St. Joseph fifth with 162 points.

“Basically, it was taking care of business and don’t get stupid and get through,” Kearney said. “I’m happier being in the top five than to be first or second. I think it’s a tribute to the kids that they did that.”

And it was Vrska who led the way on the boys side. Blistering the field at a 5:08 mile, Vrska won the race with a time of 15:57 while Jon Pol was 13th at 16:47. The real key to the Trojans success was the ability of their third through sixth place runners to step up with big efforts.

Mike Darnell finished 19th in 17:09, Doug Sindelar 22nd (17:04), Dan Styf 20th (17:15) and Max Goldak 32nd (17:17). Dan Kellar rounded out the team with a 49th place finish (17:33).

“Our fifth and sixth boys outsprinted all sorts of guys,” Kearney said. “Our fifth and sixth guys sealed the door. Our seventh man beat just about everybody’s fifth man. The guys believe in each other and the girls believe in each other and got the job done.”

On the girls side, Chesterton ran one of its best races of the season, only to be one-upped by a Valparaiso team that which ran a super race.

“The girls scored fewer points than the boys, but the Valparaiso girls had to set a meet record to beat us by 16 and that isn’t very much,” Kearney said. “We’ve had great racing with Valpo all season (since) we had a dual meet back in August. The girls know each other and they like racing against each other.”

Leading the way for Chesterton was Lindsay Hattendorf, who finished third in 14:47 while Cassie Peller was seventh in 15:04. Nicole Hartford was 10th in 15:24 and Kelly Allison 22nd in 16:01.

Kearney was really pleased with the showing turned in by his final three runners. Mandi Loving was 29th in 16:15, Sara Taylor 35th in 16:19 and Megan Pierce 40th in 16:27.

“I was really fired up by our number five through seven runners running today,” he said. “People running together and pushing each other up through the pack. It was really great.”

Kearney is excited about his team’s chances Saturday at the state finals.

“We’re going to be peaked for next week and we’re hoping to have a good race and have a lot of kids run well then, too,” Kearney said.

Among those in attendance at Saturday’s semistate was IHSAA Commissioner Blake Ress, who congratulated team members and individuals who advanced to the state finals.

 

 

 

Posted 10/22/2001