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  • Val T.

Calloway wins individual title, helps lead Lady Zs to Valley Invite title

RHS boys take 4th, Caston 6th, Valley 10th


Sports Editor, RTC

Nothing is ever as easy as it looks in cross-country, even for Madilyn Calloway.

Calloway had her sophomore track season taken away from her during the spring because of the coronavirus outbreak. As it turned out, she wouldn’t have been able to run anyway due to a broken toe.

But Calloway is back healthy and in form, and she showed it at the Tippecanoe Valley Invitational Saturday, winning the individual title in 19:36 and leading RHS to the team title.

RHS had 52 points. Runner-up West Noble had 59. Among other area schools, Tippecanoe Valley was sixth in the 11-team field with 156 points, and Caston was seventh with 188.

In the boys race, Manchester won with 88 points, four fewer than runner-up West Noble. RHS was fourth out of 14 teams with 136, Caston was sixth with 163, and Valley was 10th with 219.

West Noble’s Grant Flora won the individual race, topping a field of 119 runners by running a 16:42.

Caston’s Micah Colvin was the top area finisher, taking third in 17:18.

Junior Peyton Hiatt was the RHS frontrunner, taking fourth in 17:35. Valley’s Matthew Howes was seventh in 18:09.

RHS got their second and third runners, Dylan Steininger and Chris Rohr, respectively, past the finish line before Manchester got their second. But Manchester got their second, third, fourth and fifth runners across the line before RHS got their fourth.

The race could be considered an early preview of the Three Rivers Conference meet, which Valley will host Oct. 3.

Calloway Sets Pace


Calloway, who was third at the Manchester Invitational one week earlier, jumped out to a lead and cruised to the win in 19:36. Teammate Araceli Ochoa was second in 20:31. Zoe Seward (13th place, 22:21), Maddie Heinzmann (17th place, 22:47) and Kendyll Bradley (19th place, 22:59) also finished in the top 20. Elena Bode was 23rd in 23:45.

As decorated a runner as she is – she finished second at last year’s Culver Academy sectional and regional and third at last year’s New Prairie semistate and made the state finals – Calloway said it felt unusual to run with that much distance between her and the rest of the field. During the first two years of her cross-country career, Mallory Hiatt was often running with her, if not ahead of her. Both Hiatt and Calloway made state last year.

“I think I was about four to five seconds slower than last week, which is OK,” Calloway said. “It was

harder to push myself today. I’ve never been by myself like that before. Because that was kind of cool but also strange because it’s never happened before.

“This year’s definitely weird not having Mallory, and also I’ve never been in the front before leading. I’ve never been totally by myself and no one within 30 seconds of me. So that was different. But other than that, I felt OK. It was kind of windy today, but it wasn’t too bad.”

Calloway said she has no idea how she broke her toe. She said she was finally able to start running again in May. Her personal best is 18:51 at last year’s semistate.

“It’s only the second meet,” Calloway said. “We got pushed back because of school being pushed back. So I’m hoping it will get better the next few meets.”

Calloway was put in a position where she had to set the pace. She will run again at this Saturday’s New Prairie semistate where the Wheeler duo of Hailey Orosz and Emma Hellwege figure to be top competition and where setting the pace doesn’t figure to be an issue.

“She had

n’t ran since March, so she was a little rusty last week,” RHS coach Scott Stalbaum said. “This week, I think she looked really smooth and good. It’s nice to have some of the upfront (girls) like Lexi Allen from Culver Academy that was there last week. It would be nice to have her in this race today. So I kind of wish we had the Valley Invite last week and the Manchester Invite this week, but that’s just the way the schedule worked out. I’m excited to see what she’s going to do next week at New Prairie.”

Ochoa also stood out. Stalbaum credits her strong summer work ethic.

“She’s looking really, really, really good,” Stalbaum said. “I would say she probably hit an average of 45 miles a week all summer. She ran way more this summer than she ran last summer. She looks really good. I don’t know exactly what her limit is, but she reminds me a lot of just how much better Calloway got between her freshman and sophomore years. Calloway was good her freshman year, but then she got really good her sophomore year, and Araceli seems to have made a similar improvement.”

Stalbaum: Zebra boys’ strength is in top three

In the boys race, Hiatt met Stalbaum’s goal of finishing in the top five.

“You give


Peyton a goal, and he usually hits it,” Stalbaum said. “I thought he executed really well today.”

Hiatt said he was pleased with a 17:35 after a challenging week of practice.

“We had two workouts this week, a shorter speed and a longer speed, so we’re kind of switching it

up a little bit so we get more speed in because we missed a lot of the beginning of the season,” Hiatt explained. “We had a lot of self-training, so we’re trying to make up some work. And so we pushed a little harder this week knowing that it was less competition here at Valley. So we’re trying to get ready for the bigger races – New Prairie, conference. Sectional is a big focus this year.”

Dylan Steininger and Rohr figure to join Hiatt as an experienced top three.

“Our strength is in our top three,” Stalbaum said. “We need our top three towards the front of the race every time. So the big goals on the boys team today were to get three in the top 10 and place well against the Caston and Manchester top three. I felt we did a pretty good job of doing that. … Those three ran great. Their times were good. They were better than last week. Their places were great. They were right there on our goal spots. Everything went well with the boys in the top three.”

Hiatt said the team worked together all summer to get ready for the season. Then, the three-week shutdown started. He calls Dylan Steininger and Rohr “absolute beasts” based on their work before the shutdown.

“I have 100 percent faith in them coming into the 17s, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was next week or the following week,” Hiatt said. “They’ve dropped minutes off their time. They trained so hard over the summer. We trained in a group all summer, and they have not given up at all. I have never seen that much improvement. … Those two are becoming really good runners.”

Strasser is frontrunner for Caston girls

Sophomore Delaney Strasser ran a 22:28 and finished 15th overall to lead the Caston girls. Strasser narrowly missed qualifying for semistate as an individual last year as a freshman.

“I think for the season her time is looking really good,” Caston coach Blair Zimmerman said. “She and I were actually talking today about how we feel we need to work on training as we head towards the second half of the season and work towards the postseason and just what we need to do to start improving and knocking time off.”

Stevanna Young ran a 24:24, and Mackenzi Roudebush ran a 24:47 and finished 30th and 31st, respectively. MaKayla Lee was 56th in 26:45, Bryn Brumett was 72nd in 28:19, and Brynn Buczkowski was 86th in 33:32.

“She’s really been working to stay up with our lead pack in our team, and I just saw the effort today paying off across the board how hard the kids worked in those last two weeks at practice,” Zimmerman said of Young and her teammates.

Colvin takes 3rd in boys meet

Colvin has knocked off approximately 40 seconds off his time from the Cass County Meet, which he won back on Aug. 29.

“We’ve had some opportunity to get some hill work in, and obviously on a course like that, coming from a home course like Caston, that was critical,” Zimmerman said. “So I think all things considered, he was pleased with his time. He was trying to stay up with the one and two runners (Flora and Manchester’s Carter Bedke), and he was up with them at the mile, and he ran out of gas. He was pushing hard at the end.”

Byrum, Colvin, Dague

Dague and Byrum, who teamed with Colvin to go 1-2-3 at the Cass County Meet, form a strong top three. Dague was eighth in 18:14, and Byrum was 17th in 18:45. Marshall Finke ran a 20:53 and was 62nd, Eric Reidenbach ran a 22:59 and was 94th, and Alex Craig ran a 24:01 and was 107th.

“The guys, they strung out a little bit there in that last mile,” Zimmerman said. “Ordinarily, obviously, I’d like to see them in a little tighter pack than that. But we’re seeing improvement, and that’s what our goal is: Always see improvement.”

Valley frosh Miller takes 4th

Less than a month into her prep striding career, Valley freshman Chesnee Miller is appearing to be perhaps the fastest Lady Viking runner in the 5K era of girls cross-country.

She ran a 21:18 on her home course, finishing behind only the RHS duo of Calloway and Ochoa and Manchester’s Josie Briner.

“She had a good start and held on well,” Valley coach Mike Inglehearn said. “We’re working with them on trying to slow up on the start to get a better finish, and they looked a little fresher at the end of the day.”

Inglehearn said Miller has exceeded expectations as she transitions from the 3K distance at the junior high level to the 5K distance at high school.

“A lot quicker than what I thought it was going to be,” Inglehearn said. “She was 22:24 in the first meet, and I was expecting something closer to the mid-23s. She’s just gotten better and more confident as it goes.”

Ella Myers was 27th in 24:15, Talia Holder was 33rd in 24:52, Maria Henderson was 38th in 25:24, and Ava Craig was 65th in 27:36 to round out the Valley lineup.

Howes dealing with shin splints

Battling shin splints, Howes still managed a top-seven finish.

“He gets out in the first mile good, the second mile’s good, and we’re struggling to finish that third mile,” Inglehearn said. “Still quality runs by any means, but if he’s wanting to advance farther than what he has in the past … we’ve got a hurdle we’ve got to get over yet.”

Other Valley runners included Chase Miller, who was 33rd in 19:45; Brady Rodgers, who was 54th in 20:43; Evan Myers, who was 69th in 21:11; Jace Holloway, who was 73rd in 21:17; and Grayson Sriver, who was 116th in 27:16.

“They’re running pretty close together,” Inglehearn said of Miller and Rodgers. “I think they’ve both got a little more to give. We’ve just got to find it. But they’re pushing each other well at practice.”

Argos and Culver

Both Argos and Culver sent incomplete boys teams. Senior Jack McIntire led Argos with an 18:57, which was good for 22nd place. Zak Heiman was 60th in 20:51, and Caleb Rakoczy was 119th in 30:37.

Culver’s Aleks Stacy was 86th in 22:22.

New Valley layout

The Valley course was reworked slightly due to a new softball press box. Runners turned in off Indiana 19 and ran a tighter curve on the practice football field behind the tennis courts rather than running a long straightaway along Indiana 19.

“We plan on going back to the regular (course) next year,” Inglehearn said. “We had to change it because of the new press box and all this fresh grass. They were trying to keep us off all the new grass. … The kids seem to like it. I think it’s too tight within the first half-mile of the race. I want to get it back to the original.”

TIPPECANOE VALLEY INVITATIONAL GIRLS RESULTS (POINTS IN PARENTHESES): Rochester 52, West Noble 59, Manchester 112, John Glenn 129, Bremen 133, Valley 156, Caston 188, Northfield 189, Whitko 224, Lakeland 230, Jimtown 235

Incomplete teams: Triton, LaVille, Lakeland Christian, Columbia City

Rochester results (52 points, champions)

1. Madilyn Calloway - 19:36 (1), 2. Araceli Ochoa - 20:31 (2), 13. Zoe Seward - 22:21 (13), 17. Maddison Heinzmann - 22:47 (17), 19. Kendyll Bradley - 22:59 (19), 23. Elena Bode - 23:45

Valley results (156 points, sixth place)

4. Chesnee Miller - 21:18 (4), 27. Ella Myers - 24:15 (26), 33. Talia Holder - 24:52 (32), 38. Maria Henderson - 25:24 (37), 65. Ava Craig - 27:36 (57)

Caston results (188 points, seventh place)

15. Delaney Strasser - 22:28 (15), 30. Stevanna Young - 24:24 (29), 31. Mackenzie Roudebush - 24:47 (30), 56. MaKayla Lee - 26:45 (50), 72. Bryn Brumett - 28:19 (64), 86. Brynn Buczkowski - 33:32

TIPPECANOE VALLEY INVITATIONAL BOYS RESULTS (POINTS IN PARENTHESES): Manchester 88, West Noble 92, Bremen 106, Rochester 136, Lakeland 141, Caston 163, Jimtown 188, John Glenn 212, Northfield 212, Valley 219, Columbia City 225, Triton 291, LaVille 314, Whitko 340

Incomplete teams: Argos, Culver, Lakeland Christian

Rochester results (136 points, fourth place)

4. Peyton Hiatt - 17:35 (4), 9. Dylan Steininger - 18:15 (9), 11. Chris Rohr - 18:32 (11), 42. Wesley Steininger - 20:08 (41), 79. Lane Shank - 21:51 (71), 111. Peyton Brooks - 25:41

Caston results (163 points, sixth place)

3. Micah Colvin - 17:18 (3), 8. Austin Dague - 18:14 (8), 17. Edison Byrum - 18:45 (17), 62. Marshall Finke - 20:53 (57), 94. Eric Reidenbach - 22:59 (78), 107. Alex Craig - 24:01

Valley results (219 points, 10th place)

7. Matthew Howes - 18:09 (7), 33. Chase Miller - 19:45 (32), 54. Brady Rodgers - 20:43 (51), 69. Evan Myers - 21:11 (63), 73. Jace Holloway - 21:17 (66), 116. Grayson Sriver - 27:16

Argos results

22. Jack McIntire - 18:57, 60. Zak Heiman - 20:51, 119. Caleb Rakoczy - 30:37

Culver results

86. Aleks Stacy - 22:22

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