Three weeks ago, Ryan Cutter was in the hospital, awaiting surgery for
appendicitis, his white cell count way out of whack.
A last-minute change in the diagnosis to a virus saved his cross country
season, which made the Chesterton senior appreciate the moment all the more
Saturday, when he finished fourth in the New Prairie Semistate.
"Obviously, it hit at an inopportune moment," Cutter said. "Starting off, I
didn't even know if I'd be back. It was nice just to be back with the guys.
We kind of just pushed along through sectionals and regionals. I'm starting
to feel fresh again and now I'm ready to go."
Cutter checked in at 15:52.5, seven seconds behind Valparaiso's Ahmad
Aljobeh. Logansport's Kyle Overway won in 15:30.6
"I'm definitely getting stronger week to week I'm feeling a lot better,"
Cutter said. "The runners here are awesome. I just tried to work my way up
the field and I started feeding off people."
The Trojans didn't defend their title but finished a solid second to
Valparaiso, 78-120. LaPorte (126) was third, just ahead of West Lafayette,
with Crown Point (196) and Munster (208) also getting a trip to Terre Haute
"You want to compete and do as well as you can, but my message to the boys
-- they weren't happy with their performance last week -- was, 'Would you go
out and enjoy it, please?'" coach Tim Ray said. "Sometimes we get so worried
about winning, about doing our best, we forget it's supposed to be fun. Go
out and enjoy it, and whatever happens, so be it. With the ups and downs,
this happening and that happening, they came together and started to
re-focus on what's important, getting back to the enjoyment of the sport,
and not being wrapped up in beating guys."
Cutter literally pulled fellow senior Andrew Morris along at one point,
grabbing him by the shirt and exhorting him on before they headed into the
"It probably wasn't the smartest thing to do, but I was trying to wake him
up," Cutter said. "We've been best friends, running together since sixth
grade, and I wanted to keep us together."
His efforts certainly didn't hurt. Morris finished 12th in 16:06.5.
"They came into the program together as mediocre kids," Ray said. "But they
worked at making themselves better every day. For them to get top 15 in the
semistate, it's a neat feather in their cap. They got there (state) and now
they can go out and enjoy their last race."
Tyler Rusboldt (37th, 16:48.9), Manny Orlich (43rd, 16:56.8) and Conner
Ennis (50th, 17:043.9) rounded out the Trojans' scoring with Austin
Palombizio 50th in 17:03.9. Joe Niepokoj (109th, 17:52,6) also ran.
"You look back at sectionals, regionals, we had one guy who wasn't up to
where he usually is," Ray said. "Everyody performed well. We knew coming
into the season Valpo was the team to beat and they're proving it now.
They're so talented and so deep."
Chesterton will run in the state meet Saturday in Terre Haute, extending an
area-best string that dates back to 2000.
"It's really been an up and down year," Cutter said. "We haven't run healthy
in six, seven weeks. For us to get out, it's a great accomplishment. I'm
thankful to be able to move on and run another week. It'll be a great
AT NEW CARLISLE
(Top 6 teams and
15 individuals qualify for the IHSAA State Finals Saturday in Terre Haute)
1. Valparaiso, 78; 2. Chesterton, 120; 3. LaPorte, 126; 4. West Lafayette,
131; 5. Crown Point, 196; 6. Munster, 208; 7. New Prairie, 213; 8. Portage,
215; 9. Andrean, 220; 10. Maconaquah, 288; 11. Lafayette Jefferson, 311; 12.
Hobart, 314; 13. Western (Kokomo), 319; 14. Culver Academy, 330; 15.
McCutcheon, 345; 16. Lowell, 350; 17. Northfield, 374; 18. Carroll (Flora),
401; 19. Logansport, 435; 20. West Lafayette Harrison, 490.
1. Kyle Overway (L), 15:30.6; 2. Morgan Welsh (MC), 15:43.2; 3. Ahmad
Aljobeh (V), 15:45.5; 4. Ryan Cutter (CH), 15:52.5; 5. Mitch Hubner (LP),
15:53.5; 6. Zane Cooperider (WL), 15:56.9; 7. Blake Lawson (NP), 15:59.6; 8.
Ari Coulopoulos (V), 16:00.2; 9. Javier Vasquez (Frankfort), 16:01.3; 10.
Jacob Bingham (MA), 16:01.4; 11. Anthony Best (P), 16:02.1; 12. Andrew
Morris (CH), 16:06.5; 13. Dylan Harrison (Merrillville), 16:07.3; 14. Jake
Baranowski (Highland), 16:07.5; 15. Blake Mills (CA), 16:07.6.
Other Chesterton finishers: 37. Tyler Rusboldt, 16:48.9; 43. Manny Orlich,
16:56.8; 48. Conner Ennis, 17:01.3; 50. Austin Palombizio, 17:03.9; 109. Joe