Burgess sets record as West Lafayette girls dominate - McCutcheon boys edge Red Devils for sectiona
October 10, 2012West Lafayette Jr.-Sr. High School
After impressing on the Tippecanoe Amphitheater cross country course on Tuesday, West Lafayette senior Bobbie Burgess continue to turn heads after the race.
“Look at her,” said an observer near the finish line. “She’s not even breathing hard.”
Burgess was all smiles while other competitors labored across the finish line. The Red Devil senior made it look easy while crushing her own course and meet records and leading West Lafayette to a repeat Harrison Sectional championship.
Burgess finished in 17:36, obliterating the 18:20 meet record she set last season and the 17:59 course record she set earlier this season. She was one of six Red Devils to run a personal-best time as West Lafayette swept the top seven spots for the second straight season.
“My legs are super-charged and ready to go for state and the meets in the next week coming up,” Burgess said. “This year was a big difference in my training, and I really stepped up the game. Apparently we all did, too, because we were flying.”
McCutcheon’s boys ended West Lafayette’s three-year run as team champion behind top-four finishes from Jacob Wickes and Mason McKinney. West Lafayette freshman Cooper Williams was the individual boys champion.
Other girls teams advancing included Harrison, Frankfort, Lafayette Jeff and McCutcheon. Lafayette Jeff, Frankfort and Harrison advanced in the boys race.
The top five teams and the top 15 individuals advanced to Saturday’s Harrison Regional, also at the Amphitheater.
Burgess beat classmate Cailey Daluga across the finish line by 50 seconds. Freshman sisters Lauren and Kristen Johnson, senior Grace Lachmund, sophomore Delaney Barber and junior Grace Denton completed the Red Devils’ top-seven sweep.
Harrison ran well, with Olivia Johnson and Sarah Childs leading five top-20 finishers. But the Raiders finished with 67 points, well behind West Lafayette’s perfect score of 15.
“We had a tough last week, and we’ve just been trying to build up for the state meet,” said Daluga, whose 18:26 would have been good enough to win the girls race in any year from 2007 to 2010. “We’ve had higher mileage lately, and we weren’t sure what was going to happen this week and how our races were going to turn out. Everybody just did amazing, so it was really exciting.”
Williams pulled away over the final kilometer of the 5K race to become the first freshman to win the boys sectional championship in recent memory. He knew that staying ahead of McCutcheon’s top runners would also help the Red Devils in the team standings.
Williams said he also benefited from running with more experienced teammates like sophomore Jake Cohen, who finished fifth.
“He gives me a lot of strategy going into it, which helps,” Williams said. “I get to pace off him at the beginning of the race, which helps, too.”
Yet the senior-led Mavericks ended West Lafayette’s reign as boys champion. Wickes (second), McKinney (fourth), Jacob Wethington (sixth), Spencer Storms (12th) and Justin Berryman (15th) combined for 39 points, holding off the Red Devils by 14.
“We knew it was going to be close and we had to work hard, but we didn’t lose hope,” Wickes said. “We were just looking forward to it; looking forward to the competition. We just went out there and ran our race and ran smart — did the best we could.”