By Mike Deak
Cross country held its semi-state round of the IHSAA state tournament series on Saturday, with northern sites at New Haven (Huntington) and New Prairie. Warsaw’s two teams and a pair of local individuals took part at New Prairie while NorthWood’s boys and a pair of individuals ran at Huntington.
Tigers Trekking To State
It’s been over a half a decade since Warsaw ran its boys team at the state finals, but that will happen in 2020 after the Tigers finished second in the team standings. Jacob Kissling’s 16:26 for seventh overall started the team off, then had the troops come in starting with Sam Lechlitner at 16:37, Tanner Stiver at 16:40 and Harrison Phipps at 16:42. Garrett Hall’s 17:22 became the fifth score, which put Warsaw at 118 and runner-up to Chesterton’s 92 points.
Crown Point, Lake Central, Western and Munster added their team names to the state finals list.
Lucas Guerra of Highland was the individual champion of the boys race with a time of 15:26.
Matthew Howes of Tippecanoe Valley ran his final circuit of the season, completing the 5,000 meters at 17:39.
The Tiger girls also punched their ticket for the LaVern Gibson course next weekend with a fourth-place score of 162. Wini Barnett was the top Tiger with a 15th-place time of 19:45. The next four for Warsaw all came in 47 seconds apart, beginning with Ava Knight at 20:05, followed by Regan Brouwer at 20:08, Adree Beckham at 20:21 and Erika Bugg at 20:52.
Chesterton joined the boys as semi-state champions, taking the girls ledger with 110 points. Valpo, Lake Central, Culver Academy and Wheeler also send teams to the state finals.
Karina James of Lowell was the individual champion with a smoking time of 18:08.
Triton’s Jocelynn Faulkner opened her high school career with a semi-state berth and ran a 21:00 in her final freshman showcase.
Burden Stays Alive
Kaitlin Burden of NorthWood earned one more week of excellence, running a sterling 19:38 to finish 24th overall in the girls race at Huntington University as part of the New Haven Semi-state. Burden ran without her NorthWood teammates, but placed fourth among those not on an advancing team, grabbing one of the coveted popsicle sticks for Terre Haute.
Fort Wayne Carroll’s march to a state title continued at Huntington, crushing the field with a 46, well ahead of highly-ranked Hamilton Southeastern’s runner-up 74. Fort Wayne Concordia, Fishers, Penn and Homestead also move on to next week. Carroll’s Zoe Duffus claimed honors in the girls race with a 17:52.
Burden’s program mates on the boys team had their team hands full, and saw their season end. The Panthers were led by Brady Hunsberger’s 16:39, and were chased by Grady Stevenson at 17:06, Sam Schlatter at 17:32, Owen Allen at 17:42 and Eric Hostetler at 17:46. NorthWood wound up 13th overall with 368 points, tying with Huntington North.
At the top of the team list was Hamilton Southeastern at 109 and Fort Wayne Concordia and Fishers at 124. Fort Wayne Carroll, Goshen and Penn also qualified for the state finals.
Izaiah Steury of Angola sped to the semi-state championship at 15:25.
Wawasee’s Karlson Hand took his best shot at advancing as an individual, but came up short after running a 17:31, landing outside the top 100.