WEST LAFAYETTE – Saturday’s Harrison Regional ended up being a banner event for the Frankfort boys’ and girls’ cross country teams.
For the first time in school history, both teams advance to the semistate together after the boys’ team placed fourth and the girls fifth. The top five teams in each regional move on to the semistate.
For the Frankfort girls’, it’ll be their first trip to the semistate since 2009 and the third in school history. The boys’ last made the semistate in 2008.
“We knew it was going to be between us, Harrison and Twin Lakes,” said Frankfort head coach Tim Galati of the boys’ contest. “We knew Twin Lakes was the only team that was going to be close to us at all. It’s kind of hard to tell because they were at different course than we were (for the sectional). We knew if we ran like we did on Tuesday we should have no trouble making it out. As long as we ran confidently, we should’ve got the result we wanted.”
Rossville sophomore Solomon Heffernan qualified for the semistate as an individual, placing 10th (16 minutes, 45 seconds) while also setting a personal record.
The Frankfort boys’ team was paced by the blazing run of sophomore Cody Bray, who shattered his PR by nearly 30 seconds in placing sixth with a time of 16:28. Bray said running with West Lafayette’s No. 2 runner, Jake Cohen, for the first two miles helped him with his time.
“I felt a little frustrated (Tuesday) at the sectional. I thought I had more in me and today I just came out and gave it my all,” Bray said. “I made sure I had a lot of sleep last night and I came into today feeling really fresh. I thought something big was going to happen.
“I just wanted to make sure I came out fast. From there, I just ran on my own. I had other kids surrounding me but I was in a zone today.”
For Frankfort, it’s been four years since the team not only qualified for regional, but semistate as well. It’s a big moment for Bray and his teammate, junior Eddie Morales, who finished 12th (16:55).
“It’s big for the team,” Bray said. “Everybody works hard and it’s really showing. We thought for sure (we’d advance). Our coach had a mock meet and it showed us 40 points ahead of the sixth-place team. That just gave us a lot of confidence. We came in and ran PRs.”
Galati said six of the seven Frankfort runners tallied PRs.
“(Bray’s) been running more than everybody on the team,” Galati said. “He is starting to taper down and that helps but I think he’s also a competitor when it comes time to run in big races just like he did last year when he moved on to semistate as an individual. He’s ran extremely well and worked hard to be able to do this today.”
Rounding out the Frankfort runners, Jesse Ricker was 28th (17:31), Angle Conde 35th (17:47), Tyler Douglass 55th (18:41), Sam Regalado 56th (18:43) and Abraham Weinberg 57th (18:52).
The Frankfort girls’ were able to place fifth with 161 points as their top runner, freshman Elizabeth Warwick, finished 25th. Hot Dogs runners 2-5 all finished between 34th and 49th to help the team advance as Kaylee Arthur placed 34th (21:57), Alyssa Shirar 35th (22:00), Cassidy Dubree 47th (22:37) and Hannah Calvert 49th (22:45) to round out the scoring. Catherine Haynes was 62nd (23:29) and Adriana Olivas 69th (25:05).
“Like I’ve said all year, we never finished in the same order but that’s a sign of a good team that we have success no matter where everybody finishes,” Galati said. “We ran well enough to move on and that’s the important thing. It’s going to be a great experience for both groups.”
It hasn’t been an easy season for Heffernan. He missed the first half of the season with a stress fracture in his leg, and then on Saturday was battling stomach cramps.
“It was weird because I had stomach cramps and it went away,” Heffernan said. “It was off and on for the first two miles and then it went away.”
Heffernan moved up from 15th to 10th in that final mile to fully secure his spot in the semistate.
“I didn’t feel great but I just had so many people here cheering me on,” he said. “Without them, I wouldn’t have been able to do what I did. In the third mile, I felt like crap but I just went.
I wanted to get to 16:36 but I’m happy with this. I’m happy about making it to semistate.”
Rossville freshman Lauren Bright finished 16th (20:21), one spot shy of advancing as an individual. Seeger’s Rebecca Haussin passed Bright in the final 15 meters, putting Bright out of the top 15.
Clinton Central junior Leilah Miller finished 20th (20:56), as did Rossville senior Austin Stewart in the boys’ race (17:16).
West Lafayette won the boys’ title with 37 points. McCutcheon was second (43), Lafayette Jeff third (87), Frankfort fourth (115) and Twin Lakes fifth (122). West Lafayette freshman Cooper Williams followed up his sectional win with a regional title, finishing in 16:03.
West Lafayette won the girls’ title with 19 points. Harrison was second (77), Seeger third (95), Twin Lakes fourth (105) and Frankfort fifth (161). The Hot Dogs finished comfortably ahead of sixth-place McCutcheon (176). West Lafayette’s Bobbie Burgess won the individual title with a time of 17:45.
Morales and Heffman to run next week
Frankfort junior Eddie Morales and Rossville sophomore Solomon Heffernan (back) will both run at next week’s New Prairie semistate.