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Columbus North boys, girls expect to contend at state level in cross country
August 22, 2013Columbus North High School
The Columbus North cross country teams have been among the state's elite the past several years. Look for that trend to continue in 2013.
The CN girls, coming off a third-place state-meet finish last season, are potentially even stronger this season with a group paced by standout senior Mackenzie Caldwell. The school record-holder at 5,000 meters, Caldwell headlines a group that includes four others who ran at state in 2012 in sophomore Sierra Lax, sophomore Nina Bouthier, junior Morgan Neal and sophomore Allison Coffey.
Other returnees such as seniors Aly Bowman, Olivia Kelley and Morgen Dunleavy, juniors Rosemary Yonushonis, Bente Bouthier, Olivia Malone and Miah Kincer and sophomore Avrie Allen are vying to join the top group. So, too, is freshman Rachel Brougher.
"Mackenzie is a national-caliber runner who cares about her team before herself and leads by a positive example every single day," Bull Dogs coach Rick Weinheimer said. "Sierra is a competitive spirit who can be an all-state caliber runner while Nina is dependable in our program from every distance from 800 meters to 5,000 meters.
"Allison is the kind of worker and positive influence that every great team needs, while Avrie has demonstrated as much improvement in the past year as anyone on the team and perhaps (as much as)anyone in the state. Rachel is unusual as a freshman in that she has taken no time to adjust to high school running and will contribute to the varsity right away."
The Bull Dog boys feature four athletes -- seniors Kaden Eaton and Andy Carr plus juniors Seth Williams and Chase Ballard -- from a squad that placed sixth in the 2012 state meet.
"Kaden is a highly competitive runner who is never deterred by setbacks, while Andy is cerebral, a leader who is always looking to improve himself and the team," Weinheimer said. "Seth appears ready to blossom into an all-state caliber runner. Chase is perhaps our most improved runner over the last year who has logged thousands of miles toward his improvement.
A plethora of others figure in the mix. They include seniors Michael Keller, Chris Von Hoene, Sam Ford, Andrew Baldwin and Sam Starnes; juniors Ben Porter, Kyle Newland, Daniel Padilla, Joe Wright and Nick Green; sophomores Ben Rankin and Braden Hammond; and freshman Elijah Brooks.
As teams, Weinheimer said the boys revolve around superior senior and junior leadership while the girls have a strong pack in addition to a star in Caldwell.
"The boys have set goals that focus on being a really difficult team to beat from August through December," the coach said. "My goal for them is that they learn the skills and processes necessary to achieve excellence in all areas of their lives.
"The girls are focused on making the most of each day and on doing the little things necessary to make themselves not only competitive across the state but also nationally."
Columbus North opens its season at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday (Aug. 27) when it hosts Martinsville in a dual meet at CeraLand Park. It follows with the Franklin Invitational at 9 a.m. Saturday (Aug. 31).
The annual dual meet with Columbus East will be Sept. 10 at Clifty Creek, and other key events include the FlashRock Invitational on Sept. 21 and the Culver Invitational on Sept. 28. The Conference Indiana meet will be Oct. 9 at Brown County, and the state meet series begins with the Brown County Sectional on Oct. 15.
The Brown County Regional is Oct. 19. The Brown County Semistate is Oct. 26. The IHSAA state meet is Nov. 2 at the LaVerne Gibson Cross Country Course in Terre Haute.