Boys cross country team aims for state title


Sam Findley

Seniors Jarret Rockwell and Levi Farmer run through the Terre Haute cross country course. The team finished third in the competition, qualifying them for the state meet.

Micah Robertson, Sports Editor

The boys cross country team will travel to Terre Haute Saturday with the hopes of bringing home the school’s first state title for the sport. After a third place finish at semi-state, led by senior Ty Garrett’s fourth place individual finish, the team rolls into the state meet brimming with confidence.

With 24 teams and 40 individual runners competing, Saturday’s race will be considerably more crowded than typical regular season meets. Junior Gavin Rockwell and senior Griffin Hennessy feel the Trojans are prepared to handle the meet’s size and understand that the team’s experience will benefit them.

“We are not worried about the size of the race; semi-state was the same number of people and so was the Brown County race at the beginning of the season,” Rockwell said. “In addition we’ve run on much tighter and smaller courses, which will pay off when running at the wider course in Terre Haute. We also ran a larger race at the state course just a few weeks ago that had at least an extra hundred runners in addition to a lot more outstanding teams from around the Midwest. Point being we are actually excited for this race because we will have a little more room than we have had in the past. Overall we are more than prepared from experience alone, and we don’t need to change much.”

This will be the fourth time this season the team has raced in Terre Haute, giving them experience on the course.

“Our coaches have done a really good job of getting us in big races like Nike Twilight that give us a feel of what the state meet will be like,” Hennessy said. “Knowing how fast to go out and when to move up among hundreds of other runners will give us a big advantage against all the smaller schools that haven’t had a chance to run in a big race yet.”

Going into the meet, the Trojans need to make sure they are physically prepared for an all out battle. Junior Kyle Montgomery notes that practice this week has been laid back compared to what the team is used to in an attempt to ensure the runners are firing on all cylinders Saturday.

“The main thing we’re doing this week is making recovery a top priority,” Montgomery said. “Most meets we’re okay to run a little tired, but at state we have to be rested and ready to go. Our runs this week have been much easier than before.”

No. 1 Carmel, led by Kole Mathison, who placed fourth last year at the state meet, and No. 2 Zionsville finished ahead of the Trojans last weekend. Rockwell knows that in order to overcome such teams, the Trojans must stick to their plan and remain disciplined.

“We plan to beat them solely through strategy in how we race,” Rockwell said. “Our team is much more dense than Carmel, and Zionsville is a mere second away, so catching them shouldn’t be too difficult. In the past we have focused on our race in the beginning by going out fast and in the lead, but that seems to fail every time. To succeed this time, we will go out moderately and really make our moves in the mid to end section of the race, working the competition the whole race. Carmel has two great front runners just ahead of our guys, so our strategy is to just get our 3-5 guys just behind their three man and the race is ours.”

The Trojans have experimented with several different race strategies throughout the season, but in the semi-state meet, the team found great success in starting off slow and working their way through the pack. Senior Levi Farmer believes that same attack will prove effective again.

“The last couple of races we have been nailing down what race strategy we should be using,” Farmer said. “I think we really figured it out at semi-state where we got a really good place, and I know we’re just going to go out and execute that again.”