The winds were
blowing strongly enough at Saturday's New Prairie Sectional that it seemed
like one big gust could pick up little Bailey Ranta and carry away the
Chesterton sophomore cross country runner like she was Dorothy in the Wizard
of Oz, minus the sparkly shoes.
"You just have to
work with it and do the best you can," Ranta said. "It's going to be like
this for State. You just have to stay calm and keep moving toward the finish
Running in the lead
trio, Ranta did her best to not take the brunt of the breeze, letting
Valparaiso's Ava Gilliana and Wheeler's Hailey Orosz take the front. She and
Gilliana separated over the last mile with the Vikings senior ultimately
winning in 18 minutes, 46.3 seconds. Ranta crossed in 18:54.8.
"I just had to keep
a positive attitude, listen to my coaches, my teammates and my family,"
Ranta said. "They kept telling me, you can do this, you've got this. I just
want to do better next time and try to catch her."
Lindsay Moskalick gave her front runners high marks while noting potential
room for improvement.
"When there's three
of you in front, there's no point in the three of you leading the race, tuck
in behind and take some wind off someone," Moskalick said. "Bailey pushed
through and did what she needed to do. She ran smart. Of course, we'd like
to see her closer to Ava, but she still has time to close that gap. Second
place for a sophomore, it looks pretty good for her."
The Trojans were
team runners-up behind Valpo, 54-68. Portage (75), Wheeler (111) and LaPorte
(130) also advanced to the Chesterton Regional.
"I think if the
girls had stuck to the plan we had, we could've won," Moskalick said. "But
we've got next week and the following week. We've been talking all season
about how important it's going to be to get out from the gun. I think
hopefully this was the lesson our four, five, six, seven need to get out
(fast). The race got away from them and they had to spend the rest of the
race trying to catch everyone."
Ranta was backed by
Ashley Craycraft, who took fourth in 19:37.5.
"I've got to remind
myself Ashley's a sprinter," Moskalick said. "She's learning. She was out
most of the summer with an ankle issue, but she's getting stronger each
week, coming through as a solid No. 2, which is what we need in these bigger
Bree Gentry was
15th for Chesterton in 20:25.9 with Peyton Westphal (24th, 20:52.3) and
Kaitlynn Leady (25th, 20:55.3) completing the scoring. Frances Clancy placed
31st (21:21.3) and Kaitlyn Van Kley 33rd (21:24.5).
"Each race, you
learn something," Moskalick said. "You've got to get in position from the
beginning. Each race, there are going to be more and more girls who are not
going to come back to you, more numbers in between. If we can do that, I'm
fully confident we will advance to the state meet."
host the IHSAA Regional Saturday at Sunset Hill with Rensselaer, Morgan
Township, Kankakee Valley, Kouts and North Judson comprising the rest of the
AT NEW PRAIRIE
1. Valparaiso, 54;
2. Chesterton, 68; 3. Portage, 75; 4. Wheeler, 113; 5. LaPorte, 130; 6. New
Prairie, 130; 7. Boone Grove, 164; 8. South Central, 206; 9. Lake Station,
1. Ava Gilliana
(Valparaiso), 18:46.3; 2. Bailey Ranta (Chesterton), 18:54.8; 3. Hailey
Orosz (Wheeler), 19:23.9; 4. Ashley Craycraft (Chesterton), 19:37.5; 5.
Aubree Foreman (Valparaiso), 19:41.1.
finishers: 15. Bree Gentry, 20:25.9; 23. Peyton Westphal, 20:52.3; 24.
Kaitlynn Leady, 20:55.4; 31. Frances Clancy, 21:21.3; 33. Kaitlyn Van Kley,