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  • Val T.

All-RTC girls cross-country: State qualifier Seward is RTC Runner of Year


Sports Editor, RTC

At the season-opening Zebra Invitational cross-country meet, Rochester senior Zoe Seward did not win.

RTC Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year Zoe Seward

Was something wrong? As it turned out, there was nothing wrong. Seward was just fine, and a corollary to what you are about to read is our heartbreak for Araceli Ochoa, the person who did win the Zebra Invitational but whose senior season was basically limited to that one race; there is always at least one runner every year who would be in line for a great year if they could only stay healthy, and that runner was Ochoa this year.

As for Seward, she was only to get faster and faster, and by the end of the year, she was our only area state qualifier. Her track record, her sacrifice and her willingness to stick through three coaches in three years paid off, and she is our RTC Runner of the Year.

Violet Montgomery Chesnee Miller

Seward was one of several standout individuals in an area in which no area teams qualified for a regional.

We would like to thank all of our area coaches for their insights and opinions this season. Sharing their knowledge helps us out.

Having said that, this list is ours and ours alone, and it’s based on times with an emphasis on conference and postseason meets at the end of the year and many Saturday mornings observing on the course. So we take full responsibility for these picks.


First team

  • Zoe Seward (Rochester) (Runner of the Year) – To put Seward’s year in perspective, she finished 35 seconds behind Maconaquah’s Abby Jordan at the Three Rivers Conference meet at Tippecanoe Valley. Two weeks later, she finished 35 seconds ahead of Jordan at the Culver Academy regional. And if you thought that was a fluke, she beat Jordan by 50 seconds at the New Prairie semistate the following week. She kept getting stronger through a grueling season while others slowed down.

  • Chesnee Miller (Tippecanoe Valley) – Miller’s consistency was her calling card: She ran a 20:32 at sectional, a 20:26 at regional and a 20:33 in a crowded field at semistate in conditions that were borderline insufferable.

  • Violet Montgomery (Pioneer) – Montgomery had another strong year, highlighted by winning the Hoosier North title in 19:44 on the typically fast Winamac Town Park course. She also qualified for semistate as an individual again.

  • Lexi Gibson (Argos) – The freshman qualified for regional as an individual and missed going to semistate by 16 seconds. She ran 22:03 at regional, and if she can chip off another 20 seconds or so, a trip to New Prairie next October is certainly possible.

  • Allyson Calloway (Rochester) – Gibson was the fastest freshman in the area, but Calloway was not far off. She was consistently between 22:00 and 22:30 all year and was a regional qualifier.

  • Paula Collado (Pioneer) – The Spaniard ran 22:04 at Winamac Town Park in making the all-conference team. Usually, one expects a significant slowdown at the Logansport sectional, but Collado Fernandez ran 22:07 and followed it up with a 22:24 at semistate. Let’s hope she comes out for track in the spring: Her stride length seems more well-suited to that sport.

  • Savannah Lyon (Argos) – If Gibson seemed like more of a natural, Lyon, a sophomore, seemed to be the Argos runner who continued to get faster as the season went on. She is not far off Gibson and Calloway.

  • Bailey Bussard (Tippecanoe Valley) – Bussard’s season highlight was a 22:28 at the Manchester sectional, and her ability to keep her time under 23 minutes was a real step forward from her freshman to her sophomore year.

Honorable mention

  • Ava Stackhouse (Argos)

  • Alexa Lowe (Caston)

  • Mackenzi Roudebush (Caston)

  • McKenna Lowe (Tippecanoe Valley)

  • Rose Peterson (Culver)

  • Ava Minix (Tippecanoe Valley)

  • Camila Hernandez-Rios (Caston)

  • Talia Holder (Tippecanoe Valley)

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