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State Finals Preview: Cross Country State Finals this Saturday

October 31, 2013


One of the most colorful of all IHSAA state championship events on the  calendar takes place this Saturday as runners from across the state will  converge on the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course in Terre Haute  to determine this year’s state champions. The boys race begins at 1 pm ET with  the girls race to follow at 1:45 pm ET.

Twenty-four full teams and 40 more individuals who qualified without  their squad (208 runners in each race) will compete in each race over the 5,000  meter course known as one of the finest in the nation.

The boys team title could be a showdown between the top two teams in  the latest coaches poll – No. 1 Carmel and No. 2 Columbus North. The two  schools own 17 state championships between them and shared the last five in a  row with the Greyhounds ending the Bull Dogs three-year run a year ago.

Six of last year’s top 20 finishers are back for another shot at the  tape including Zachery Panning of Fort Wayne Concordia, last year’s state runner-up  and local favorite Jackson Bertoli of Terre Haute South, last year’s fourth  place finisher. Besides those two, other semi-state winners last weekend were  Ellis Coon of Warsaw and David Dalton of Greenwood.

On the girls side, defending state champion Anna Rohrer of Mishawaka  is not participating in this year’s tournament after being sidelined earlier  this season with a broken bone in her foot just days after recording the  fastest 5,000 meter time in state history (16:52.24) back in August. Her  absence leaves the door open for someone else to etch their name into the  history books.

Some of the prime contenders include semi-state winners Mackenzie  Caldwell of Columbus North, who finished fourth last year, Elena Lancioni of  LaPorte, Kelcy Welch of Carmel or Maddie Woods of Penn. Or it could be one of the  other seven returnees from last year’s top 20 finishers.

Like their boys team, Carmel’s top-ranked girls are the three-time  defending state champion. The Greyhounds will be seeking their fifth title in  six years and would become the first school since Floyd Central (1989-92) to  win four consecutive. The school’s girls golf team already earned the state  title on Oct. 5.

A live webstream of Saturday’s races will be available courtesy of  Terre Haute North High School and local CBS affiliate Channel 10 beginning at  12 pm

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