Mt. Vernon, G-C pair advance to semistate

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Mt. Vernon’s Emma Gale runs at the IHSAA Rushville Cross Country Regional where she finished 10th Saturday.

Mike Brown | For The Daily Reporter

RUSHVILLE — Survive and advance.

It’s the postseason motto of all sports.

Mt. Vernon’s girls cross country team finished third at the Rushville Regional Saturday at Benjamin Rush Middle School, earning one of five team qualifying spots for Saturday’s Shelbyville Semistate.

Along with the entire Marauders team, two Greenfield-Central runners were part of the top 10 individuals – not on qualifying teams – that advanced to Saturday’s 10:30 a.m. race at Blue River Park.

Franklin Central had four of the top five finishers and won the race with 20 points. Roncalli was second with 77, followed by Mt. Vernon (85), Centerville (95) and New Castle (153).

The top three teams all came from the Mt. Vernon Sectional. Centerville and New Castle were representatives of the Connersville Sectional.

Greenfield-Central finished seventh as a team with 172. New Palestine was eighth with 200. New Castle edged Richmond (156) for the final qualifying position.

A week ago, at Mt. Vernon, the Marauders were runners-up to Franklin Central and finished ahead of Roncalli.

“Roncalli ran really well (Saturday), and so did we,” Mt. Vernon coach Brian Williams said. “When you do your best and you get beat by somebody you just say, ‘Ok, that’s the way it is.’ You can be disappointed about it, but not discouraged. We accomplished here what we came here to do, and that’s to run next week.”

The Marauders, normally led by freshman Hannah Hauser, were led Saturday by sophomore Emma Gale. She placed 10th overall with a 5K time of 20:16.6. Mindy Cornelius was 16th in 20:48.2. Hauser was 19th in 21:00.1.

Gale was the top county finisher. Franklin Central’s Savana Miller won the race in 19:19.2.

The top 20 runners earned all-regional honors.

Williams said Hauser was dealing with some congestion. He was proud of how she battled through a rough day.

“She didn’t do anything wrong,” Williams said. “She ran really well and has all year, sometimes this happens. The other girls all stepped up. If you would have told me that we would be within eight or nine points (of second place) with (Hauser) being our third runner I would have said. ‘No way.’ The other girls stepped up.

“As a team, I told them they had a really good day.”

The Mt. Vernon team will be joined in Shelbyville by Greenfield-Central’s Lexie Copeland and Reagan Crouch.

Copeland earned all-region honors by placing 18th in 20:59.4. Crouch got one of the final qualifying spots and was 22nd overall in 21:09.9.

“I thought, looking at the information leading up to this week, we had a pretty good shot getting two through if they ran well,” Greenfield-Central coach Scott Burton said. “Lexie was just off her PR, right at the 21-minute mark. She ran very well. Reagan ran a PR, and as I was counting, she was right at that (No. 10 advancing spot) of where, is she going to make it or is she not going to make it.”

Burton said Crouch picked off a lot of runners in the final few meters of the race to secure her invitation to Shelbyville.

“Right at 200 meters to go, you saw a determined finish start there,” Burton said. “She wasn’t going to not make it on a lack of effort. She was going to do everything she could. I think she said she passed seven or eight people on that last stretch to try to solidify the possibility of moving on to next week.”

Three area runners just missed out.

Beech Grove’s Aliegha Buendia Aguilar took the 10th individual spot by placing 28th in 21:18.7.

New Palestine’s Lexi Baynes was the 12th fastest of the non-qualifying teams, finishing in 21:34.0. She was 33rd. Her teammate, Courtney Study was right behind her in 34th, finishing in 21:42.8. Greenfield-Central’s Emmaline Capen was a couple more spots back in 37th at 21:54.9.

At the semistate, the top six teams and top 10 individuals, not on the qualifying teams, advance to the state finals in Terre Haute Oct. 29 at LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course.

The race at Shelbyville will include teams from the Ben Davis, Noblesville, Rushville and Franklin regionals.

Among that group are 10 teams ranked in the Indiana Association of Track and Cross Country Coaches Top 25 poll. They are; No. 2 Noblesville, No. 3 North Central, No. 5 Carmel, No. 7 Zionsville, No. 14 Franklin Central, No. 15 Bishop Chatard, No. 16 Guerin Catholic, No. 17 East Central, No. 20 Brownsburg and No. 23 Avon.