NEW CARLISLE -- For
the second year in a row, coach Tim Ray and the Chesterton boys cross
country sat nervously in the New Prairie gymnasium balcony waiting for the
announcement of the semistate race results.
For the second year
in a row, the announcement brought a sigh of relief and an exclamation of
“Four, five years
ago, we were out of it,"Ę Ray said of the anxiety. “This is better than
knowing we’re not in it.”
As it turned out,
the only drama was the official word of the scores as the Trojans finished
comfortably ahead of Morgan Township (240) with 194 points for the sixth and
final state finals berth.
"We’ve been on the
other side of those things,” Ray said. “I’m happy for our guys. By the same
token, we see Morgan every week at Sunset (Hills County Park). They’re a
good team. They may have had a bad day. All we can control is what we do. I
thought it could be anywhere from sixth to eighth. We knew we were in the
hunt. At the end of the day, as long as you do the best you can do, that’s
all you can hope for.”
behind the Cherokees in the Regional, but were ahead of them at all five
scoring positions in the semistate.
“We knew we just
had to run a solid race, not anything spectacular,” Ray said.
It started, as
usual, with Jakob Kintzele, who was runner-up to Lowell’s Alec Fleming in 15
minutes, 31.2 seconds.
“We told the rest
of them, having a low stick going into the race should give you confidence,”
Ray said. “It takes pressure off of you.”
Kintzele led early
on before Fleming took over on the back half.
“I wouldn’t say I’m
surprised with the result,” Kintzele said. “Once again, I had a faster time
on the course so I can’t be unhappy with that. Maybe it wasn’t as good as I
expected. Ideally, we would have gotten out a little faster. I had to lead
and there was a big gap. He kept pulling away and I kept responding until I
couldn’t anymore. Regardless, (state) will be a really good race for me and
hopefully for him, too.”
(34th, 16:34.4), Andrew Smenyak (49th, 16:50.5) and Matthew Van Kley (54th,
16:55.3) followed for the Trojans O’Connor’s time was a personal best by 20
seconds. Kenny Erow (94th, 17:27.5) completed Chesterton’s scoring. Kyler
Haynes (149th, 18:21.3) and Dylan Draves (152nd, 18:27.5) rounded out the
“Our normal No. 2 (Smenyak)
has been battling a lack of self confidence,” Ray said. “He battled it. He
hadn’t before. We took a little more conservative approach and we squeaked
by. Our three, four have been so solid all year. Kenny also ran pretty well.
He was up there watching last year.”
Lowell repeated as
team champion with a score of 80, followed by Valparaiso (91), West
Lafayette (126), Crown Point (140), McCutcheon (172) and the Trojans. All
qualify for Saturday’s state finals meet at the Lavern Gibson Championship
Course in Terre Haute. The boys race is at noon Region time.