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  • Val T.

She knows the ‘way’ to Terre Haute: Rochester’s Calloway reaches 3rd straight state finals

Rochester Girls team takes 8th, Rochester boys finish 17th; Wegner runs 17:29, Dague runs 17:34


Sports Editor, RTC

NEW CARLISLE –- Rochester senior Madilyn Calloway acknowledges the nerves when she is about to run a cross-country race.

She feels nervous before a race. She feels nervous during a race.

But after a long offseason where she was sidelined with a stress fracture and where her running was on an anti-gravity treadmill and nowhere near the dirt and grass of a cross-country course, Calloway said she has decided to enjoy running and her surroundings more than ever.

No more tunnel vision.

At the New Prairie semistate Saturday, she enjoyed the moment as she crossed the finish line in a season-best 19:34 to earn her third consecutive trip to the IHSAA state finals.

The state finals are set for 1 p.m. this Saturday at the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross-Country Course in Terre Haute.

Because of the injury, it was just Calloway’s fifth race of the season.

The bigger dream of taking a team to state didn’t come true. Rochester finished eighth in the 20-team field with 256 points. The eighth-place finish ties the Lady Zs’ best ever performance at the semistate. The 2012 team that featured individual state qualifier Anna Bearss and Anna Meyer also placed eighth.

“I like this group of girls,” Rochester coach Eric Linn said. “They’re a great group. They put in the work. I’m going to miss the seniors next year, but hopefully, we can bring back a lot of them from this team and see what we can do.”

Calloway was 10th overall in the field of 176 runners and fourth among individuals on non-advancing teams.

The top six teams and top 10 individuals on non-advancing teams qualified for state.

Meanwhile, the Rochester boys finished 17th with 406 points to end their season. Peyton Hiatt was the fastest Zebra, taking 53rd place in a field of 179 runners in 17:27.

Valparaiso won the boys team title with 90 points. Chesterton (121), LaPorte (128), Morgan Township (149), Warsaw (165) and Crown Point (176) also advanced to state.

Meanwhile, Chesterton won the girls team title with 50 points. Warsaw (134), Valparaiso (141), LaPorte (157), West Lafayette (200) and Harrison (West Lafayette) (205) also will head to state.

LaPorte senior Cole Raymond was the individual boys champion in 15:46. Lowell’s Karina James was the individual girls champion in 17:55.

Every boy who ran 16:44 or faster and every girl who ran 19:47 or faster advanced to state.


Calloway’s personal best was 18:51 at the 2019 semistate, but she had not run faster than 20:07 this year.

She also had not beaten Maconaquah’s Abby Jordan, the TRC champ, at any point in her previous four races.

She said she used runners like Jordan and Culver Academy’s Celeste Gram as something of a measuring stick. She said the second mile was painful, but she battled through the fatigue and stayed in front of Jordan and crossed in a four-runner scramble with LaPorte’s Lila Gillisse, Harrison’s Emma Beimfohr and Chesterton’s Ciara Bonner.

“We had Abby Jordan being one of the last ones in,” Linn said. “We were like, hey, you ran against her at regional, you ran against her at TRC. We wanted to get her at regional honestly. And then come in today, and everything just clicked right. And I know she was behind her with 1K to go, and she just picked it up and caught everyone and blasted that last K, and that’s what I liked to see.”

Linn agreed that Calloway appreciated running more as a senior.

“Anytime you’re out with an injury like that, you kind of see everyone else doing stuff, and you’re just like, ‘I wish I could do that,’” Linn said. “And then you kind of come back, and like, oh, this is so much fun. I’m glad I can do this again.”

Calloway’s teammate Zoe Seward also pulled off a season best when she crossed in 20:01. A junior, Seward finished in 27th place overall and 15th among individuals on non-advancing teams. She missed going to state herself by 14 seconds.

“I would have loved to take two,” Linn said. “I think that’s where the hill got her a little bit more than it got Calloway. I know she was a little bit farther in the pack than I wanted. She had that good group of girls right in front of her and couldn’t quite get them.”

Other Rochester runners included freshman Lucy Rangel, who set a personal best of 21:12 and finished 81st; junior Araceli Ochoa, who was 106th in a season-best 21:31; junior Kendyll Bradley, who chopped 25 seconds off her regional time and finished in 123rd in 21:50; senior Elena Bode, who finished 142nd in a season-best 22:27 in her final prep race; and Maddie Heinzmann, who crossed in a season-best 22:38 and finished 150th.

“Her strategy a little bit was take it easy at the start, and then once you hit the (Agony) Hill, let’s just see what you’ve got left,” Linn said of Rangel. “Because that Hill kills a lot of people. She’s only a freshman, so pacing a little bit and then see if we can’t get her a little faster after that.”

Among other area runners, Winamac sophomore Maggie Smith finished 45th in 20:31 while freshman Kadence Hoover took 87th in 21:15.

“They both ran well,” Winamac coach Adam Bennett said. “That was a good time for both of those girls. … Being a freshman, Kadence … it’s a new experience for her on this course. It’s just the second time she’s raced it. She had a good day and has some experience under her belt. She’ll be back next year.”

Pioneer’s Violet Montgomery finished in 49th place in 20:37. A sophomore, her time was a 22-second improvement from her 2020 semistate time. She also improved by 32 places in the standings from last year’s semistate.

Pioneer coach Dakota Williams said Montgomery prepared for the semistate like a “normal” week – a “long day” on Monday followed by tapering down to give her fresher legs just prior to the race.

“She ran really well,” Pioneer coach Dakota Williams said. “Good weather. She had good practices all week long. So it’s a really good time for her this week.”

Chesnee Miller, the Tippecanoe Valley sophomore who is the first girls semistate qualifier from her school since the girls race expanded to 5K in 2007, was caught in a massive pack and survived the jostling to place 91st in 21:19.


While Raymond set a strong pace and emerged from the opening stampede, Hiatt settled into a pack behind the lead group. Chris Rohr was a step behind Hiatt, and Dylan Steininger was a step behind Rohr through the first mile.

Rohr and Steininger were close enough to maintain sight of each other through two miles.

Eventually, the crowd raged towards the finish line – 73 runners crossed between 17:13 and 18:00.

Hiatt’s time was a 38-second improvement from the muddy soup at Culver Academy regional one week earlier. Fellow senior Dylan Steininger was 87th in 17:46, junior Chris Rohr was 99th in 17:52, sophomore Wes Steininger was 123rd in a personal best 18:10, freshman Adrian Ochoa was 163rd in a personal best 18:57, freshman Reece Johnson was 174th in 19:50, and sophomore Lane Shank was 179th in 20:17.

“Boys was more like go for PRs,” Linn said of the strategy. “Here’s the time I want you to try to hit. With them, I wasn’t as worried as much about place this week just because I had a hard time seeing anyone getting out. Time-wise, I knew they would have to be 16:40 or faster to even have a chance to make it out. So just trying to be realistic with their goals.”

Wes Steininger and Ochoa setting personal bests were among the highlights. Along with Rohr, Johnson and Shank, they represent the future of Zebra cross-country.

“The freshmen and sophomores all got PRs, I’m pretty sure, or close to PRs,” Linn said. “And for all of them, it was just you guys don’t have any pressure on you, go out and run as fast as you can and see what you can do. I know Reece and Lane, they were close to back of the pack the entire time, but the fact that they were still able to push it and still get close to PRs or at PRs was testament to how well they can fight through running by yourself.”

Among other area boys, Winamac junior Kolbey Wegner was 63rd in 17:31. The time was Wegner’s best ever time on the New Prairie course and a 40-second improvement from his regional time at Culver Academy. He was able to get that time despite showing off a spike mark just above his knee from all the close contact among runners.

“Definitely go hard,” Wegner said when asked about his strategy in the first mile. “Because there was going to be a stretch for me to try to make it to state, and coaches wanted me to try and stick with Maconaquah (Isaiah Wittenberg) and try to stay with him, so that’s what I tried to do, but at this race, it’s so packed that he was able to squeeze between people and weave around them and then I tried to do that and people tried to block me off. So it was a little tough. … Last year and this year were the only times I’ve ever been spiked.”

Caston’s Austin Dague was engulfed in the aforementioned mob and placed 101st in 17:54.

“Austin was grateful for the experience of racing to this level this season, and is already considering strategy for next season to continue improving,” Caston coach Blair Zimmerman said in a statement. “It's that determination that has seen him improve each season the way he has, and I, for one, can't wait to see what he's able to do in the future.”

New Prairie girls semistate results (points in parentheses; top six teams advance): Chesterton 50, Warsaw 134, Valparaiso 141, LaPorte 157, West Lafayette 200, Harrison (West Lafayette) 205, Lake Central 223, Rochester 256, Seeger 260, Culver Academy 282, Crown Point 283, Portage 308, Morgan Township 335, Illiana Christian 340, Hanover Central 360, Maconaquah 367, Highland 394, Western 399, Faith Christian 430, Benton Central 458

Rochester results (eighth place, 256 points)

10. Madilyn Calloway – 19:34 (7), 27. Zoe Seward – 20:01 (21), 81. Lucy Rangel – 21:12 (60), 106. Araceli Ochoa – 21:31 (78), 123. Kendyll Bradley – 21:50 (90), 142. Elena Bode – 22:27, 150. Maddie Heinzmann – 22:38

Winamac results

45. Maggie Smith – 20:31, 87. Kadence Hoover – 21:15

Pioneer result

49. Violet Montgomery – 20:38

Tippecanoe Valley result

91. Chesnee Miller – 21:19

Top 10 individuals on non-advancing teams: 1. Karina James (Lowell) – 17:55, 2. Lillian Zelasko (New Prairie) – 18:35, 3. Hannah Moore (Northwestern) – 19:18, 4. Madilyn Calloway (Rochester) – 19:34, 5. Abby Jordan (Maconaquah) – 19:39, 6. Celeste Gram (Culver Academy) – 19:40, 7. Jennifer Romero (Seeger) – 19:42, 8. Caitlyn Derwinski (Crown Point) – 19:46.3, 9. Avery Olthof (Illiana Christian) – 19:46.6, 10. Makenna Leicht (Lewis Cass) – 19:47

Individual champion: Karina James (Lowell) – 17:55

New Prairie boys semistate results (points in parentheses; top six teams advance): Valparaiso 90, Chesterton 121, LaPorte 128, Morgan Township 149, Warsaw 165, Crown Point 176, Munster 187, Lowell 195, West Lafayette 200, Lake Central 252, Illiana Christian 278, Portage 279, Culver Academy 331, Lafayette Jeff 360, Plymouth 371, Harrison (West Lafayette) 381, Rochester 406, McCutcheon 489, Frankfort 500, Northwestern 556

Rochester results (17th place, 406 points)

53. Peyton Hiatt – 17:27 (41), 87. Dylan Steininger – 17:46 (68), 99. Chris Rohr – 17:52 (78), 123. Wes Steininger – 18:10 (94), 163. Adrian Ochoa – 18:57 (125), 174. Reece Johnson – 19:50, 179. Lane Shank – 20:17

Winamac result

63. Kolbey Wegner – 17:31

Caston result

101. Austin Dague – 17:54

Top 10 individuals on non-advancing teams: 1. Jackson Bakker (Lowell) – 16:21, 2. Ryan York (Hanover Central) – 16:24.3, 3. Tristen Wuethrich (Rensselaer) – 16:24.4, 4. Samuel Tullis (Culver Academy) – 16:25, 5. Bryce Noble (Hanover Central) – 16:28, 6. Elijah Stenberg (West Lafayette) – 16:36, 7. Justin Hoffman (Kankakee Valley) – 16:36, 8. Henry Balagtas (West Lafayette) – 16:38, 9. Preston Padgett (Rossville) – 16:39, 10. Zachary Dunn (Merrillville) – 16:44

The Rochester girls and boys cross-country teams competed at the New Prairie semistate Saturday. The girls placed eighth, and the boys placed 17th out of 20 teams. Madilyn Calloway (front, fourth from left) advanced to state by running a 19:34 and finishing 10th overall.

Top: Pioneer's Top Winamac's Top: Rochester's

Violet Montgomery Kolbey Wegner Adrian Ochoa

Below: Tippecanoe Valley's Below: Rochester's Below Rochester's

Chesnee Miller Madilyn Calloway Elena Bode

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