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  • Val T.

Valley’s Miller runs 19:35, joins teammate Bussard, Rochester’s Calloway as regional qualifiers

Wes is more: Steininger runs PR, heads group of 4 Zebra regional qualifiers; Valley’s Marquez also moves on


BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS

Sports Editor, RTC

Rochester cross-country runners who qualified for the regional from the Manchester sectional Saturday included, from left, Allyson Calloway, Grant Bailey, Lane Shank, Wes Steininger and Reece Johnson. The Rochester boys finished sixth out of 12 teams while the girls had an incomplete team.


Tippecanoe Valley regional cross-country qualifiers from the Manchester sectional Saturday included, from left, Christopher Marquez, Bailey Bussard and Chesnee Miller.


NORTH MANCHESTER — The IHSAA cross-country state tournament series reached its new frontier at soggy, damp Manchester for the sectional Saturday.

The course was the same as last year’s sectional, but there were 16 teams instead of 11. Reassigned to the Logansport sectional, Caston was not there, but six new schools were there, and they were impactful.

As for area teams, Tippecanoe Valley, led by star senior Chesnee Miller’s eighth-place finish, finished seventh out of nine complete teams in the girls race while Rochester, Argos and Culver had incomplete teams.

Miller and teammate Bailey Bussard qualified for the regional as did Rochester sophomore Allyson Calloway.

In the boys race, Rochester finished sixth and Valley 10th out of 12 complete teams. Argos and Culver had incomplete teams.

Rochester advanced four runners to the regional as individuals, and Wes Steininger (17:26) and Lane Shank (18:36) both set personal bests in doing so. Grant Bailey (18:11) and Reece Johnson (18:24) also advanced.

The lone Valley boy to earn a spot at the regional start line was Christopher Marquez, who ran a personal-best 18:41.

The top five teams and top 15 individuals on non-advancing teams progressed to the New Haven regional, which will be held at The Plex in Fort Wayne at 10:30 a.m. this Saturday.

Steininger was first, Bailey fourth, Johnson fifth, Shank eighth and Marquez ninth among individuals on non-advancing teams.

Rochester

“A PR (personal record) for him,” Rochester coach Alex Gudeman said of Steininger, whose previous best was a 17:28 at the 2022 sectional and whose time was 15 seconds faster than the Three Rivers Conference meet at Manchester two weeks earlier.. “Working hard all season. He got off to a little slow start, but we knew we’d be ready for a PR by the end of the season, and it all went according to plan today. I feel like it could have been a few seconds faster if conditions would have been a little nicer, but a PR’s a PR.”

Bailey was running for the first time since the New Prairie Invitational on Sept. 16. A leg muscle injury had sidelined him.

“I think his bruise in his calf is still bothering him,” Gudeman said. “He was cross-training a lot over (fall) break, and he said it felt really good then. He did a little bit of some running when he got back Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, and I think that aggravated it a little bit. So get back to cross-training a bit here. It is what it is. Made it to regional, so we’ll just go from there.”

Johnson’s time was 24 seconds slower than his time on the same course at the Three Rivers Conference meet two weeks earlier.

“He wasn’t going to keep improving the way he did,” Gudeman said. “Eventually, you’re going to plateau, and I just think it’s a shame it happened at the sectional, but the good news is he’s got another race next week to chase a sub-18 as long as the conditions are a little better.”

Shank, meanwhile, snipped 1:05 off his TRC time to set his new personal mark. The weather so impaired his vision that he took off his glasses and flipped them to a parent in the middle of the race.

“Lane got another PR today,” Gudeman said. “Real happy about that. It’s real nice for our seniors to run their best sectional in their last one. So I was real happy about that, and I’m sure they are too. He’s been working hard all season, and it finally paid off a little bit today.”

Freshman Leandro Javier was 67th in 20:58.

Calloway, a sophomore, missed the TRC race due to an Achilles injury. Her time Saturday was five seconds faster than her 2022 sectional time at Manchester, and she qualified for regionals for the second straight year by finishing seventh among individuals on non-advancing teams. Indicative of the stronger and larger 2023 sectional field, she went from 18th place last year to 28th place this year.

“She got in about the position that she needed to be in,” Gudeman said. “She was in about the low 30s after the mile and finished in the high 20s, so she didn’t really move around a whole lot. I think she’ll tell you she would have liked to run a little better today, but I can’t be upset with her time and her place today. She did what she needed to do and advanced to regional. Hope for better times next week.”

Other Rochester girls runners included Kadence Bradley, who was 54th in 23:42, and Brooklyn Chandler, who was a few steps back in 56th place in 23:49. Chandler’s time was a personal best.

Tippecanoe Valley

Marquez maintained a consistent six-minute mile pace and finished in 39th place overall and ninth among individuals on non-advancing teams. He had broken 19 minutes just once prior to Saturday and broke his personal best by 16 seconds.

Marquez scheduled his physical for IHSAA Moratorium Week in early July. At the physical, doctors did not like the way Marquez’s heart sounded, according to Valley coach Mike Inglehearn. Suddenly, Marquez took three weeks off any physical activity but overcame the setback after another doctor’s visit.

“I wasn’t expecting him to move in, but it’s exciting that he did,” Inglehearn said. “So he’s just now getting back. He had to go to the cardiologist. If he hadn’t had that scare, he would have been closer to 18 minutes this year.”

In the girls race, Miller was first and Bussard fifth.

Bussard’s time was a personal best by 22 seconds. She also was 41 seconds faster than she was on the same course at the 2022 sectional. Valley coach Mike Inglehearn said he wanted Miller, a senior and Valley’s school record holder at 19:02, to push her teammates in practice, and Bussard was one of the beneficiaries.

“So we did something this week,” Inglehearn explained. “It was probably a little hard for her and McKenna Lowe. I had Chesnee pace them at a seven-minute pace for two miles and then go back and just have a nice conversation pace. We did that on Tuesday and Wednesday and then just had regular long, slow distance practice on Thursday and Friday. And I think it just built her confidence. The ability was there; we just had to get her confidence there.”

The frontrunner continues to be Miller, whose times continue to be the best of her career. She settled into a strong pace through the first mile and beat her 2022 sectional time by 57 seconds. Last year, she finished 1:30 behind Culver Academy’s Celeste Gram. This year, she was seven seconds faster than last year.

Inglehearn said Miller was not comfortable in the cold weather.

“She doesn’t do well when it gets real cold,” Inglehearn said. “So I told her to next week bring gloves. Keep your hands warm. It’s amazing how much it keeps your body warm. … It was about where everybody had her seeded.”

Argos

BatOcher EnhkOrgil was the lone Argos boys runner, and he placed 66th in 20:57. Lexi Gibson was the lone Argos girls runner, and she placed 52nd in 23:35. She missed out on the regional by 22 seconds.

Culver

Adam Peterson, a sophomore and the lone Culver boys runner, finished 73rd in a field of 84 in 21:27. Willow Harrington was the lone Culver girl, and she took 71st place in 29:33.

Manchester cross-country sectional notes

  • Warsaw won the boys title with 36 points. Wabash (52), Columbia City (62), Culver Academy (97) and Manchester (168) also advanced to the regional. Manchester beat Rochester by 17 points for the final regional spot.

  • Warsaw also won the girls title with 49 points. Huntington North (73), Columbia City (88), Manchester (93) and Plymouth (105) also moved on.

  • The IHSAA reduced the number of sectionals statewide from 32 to 25 and jammed more schools into each sectional. Wabash, Columbia City and Huntington North were among the new schools added to the Manchester sectional.

Other format changes included reducing the number of regionals statewide from 16 to five and eliminating the semistate round.

  • Warsaw’s Jackson Gackenheimer and Josefina Rastrelli were the individual boys and girls champions, respectively. Gackenheimer ran a 15:54, and Rastrelli, an Indiana University recruit, ran an 18:09 and beat the rest of the field by 39 seconds.

MANCHESTER GIRLS SECTIONAL RESULTS (POINTS IN PARENTHESES): Warsaw 49, Huntington North 73, Columbia City 88, Manchester 93, Plymouth 105, Culver Academy 147, TIPPECANOE VALLEY 188, Wabash 213, Triton 218

Incomplete teams: ROCHESTER, ARGOS, CULVER, Lakeland Christian, North Miami, Northfield, Whitko

Valley results (188 points, seventh place)

8. Chesnee Miller – 19:35 (8), 25. Bailey Bussard – 21:47 (25), 50. McKenna Lowe – 23:20 (46), 58. Ava Minix – 24:30 (50), 73. Sienna Holder – 37:09 (59)

Rochester results

28. Allyson Calloway – 21:55, 54. Kadence Bradley – 23:42, 56. Brooklyn Chandler – 23:49

Argos results

52. Lexi Gibson – 23:35

Culver results

71. Savanna Harrington – 29:33

TOP 15 RUNNERS ON NON-ADVANCING TEAMS: 1. CHESNEE MILLER (VALLEY) – 19:35, 2. Celeste Gram (Culver Academy) – 19:42, 3. Charlotte Baxter (Culver Academy) – 21:31, 4. Jocelynn Faulkner (Triton) – 21:42, 5. BAILEY BUSSARD (VALLEY) – 21:47, 6. Calisen Kugler (Wabash) – 21:53, 7. ALLYSON CALLOWAY (ROCHESTER) – 21:55, 8. Madeline Moore (Northfield) – 22:01, 9. Rory Heckaman (Triton) – 22:28, 10. Grace Gibbs (Culver Academy) – 22:32, 11. Evelyn Neville (Culver Academy) – 22:35, 12. Ivy Beamer (Wabash) – 22:39, 13. Madi Nallenweg (North Miami) – 22:55, 14. Aria Holtzman (Culver Academy) – 23:03, 15. Jade Springer (Culver Academy) – 23:13

INDIVIDUAL CHAMPION: Josefina Rastrelli (Warsaw) – 18:09

MANCHESTER BOYS SECTIONAL RESULTS (POINTS IN PARENTHESES): Warsaw 36, Wabash 52, Columbia City 62, Culver Academy 97, Manchester 168, ROCHESTER 185, Plymouth 213, Huntington North 221, Northfield 286, TIPPECANOE VALLEY 294, Triton 298, North Miami 318

Incomplete teams: Argos, Culver, Lakeland Christian, Whitko

Rochester results (185 points, sixth place)

21. Wes Steininger – 17:26 (21), 29. Grant Bailey – 18:11 (29), 33. Reece Johnson – 18:24 (33), 38. Lane Shank – 18:36 (38), 67. Leandro Javier – 20:58 (64)

Valley results (294 points, 10th place)

39. Christopher Marquez – 18:41 (39), 56. Isaac Whetstone – 19:49 (56), 59. Eli Sterk – 20:04 (59), 71. Luis Nuñez – 21:11 (68), 76. Keagan Tignor – 21:49 (72), 79. Joseph Lybarger – 22:15, 84. Christian Guzman – 26:53

Argos results

66. BatOcher EnhkOrgil – 20:57

Culver results

73. Adam Peterson – 21:27

TOP 15 RUNNERS ON NON-ADVANCING TEAMS: 1. WES STEININGER (ROCHESTER) – 17:26, 2. Andrew Lane (North Miami) – 17:59, 3. Ryland Miller (Northfield) – 18:01, 4. GRANT BAILEY (ROCHESTER) – 18:11, 5. REECE JOHNSON (ROCHESTER) – 18:24, 6. Cole Ellet (Huntington North) – 18:25, 7. Ethan Podlesak (Plymouth) – 18:28, 8. LANE SHANK (ROCHESTER) – 18:36, 9. CHRISTOPHER MARQUEZ (VALLEY) – 18:41, 10. Camden Hughes (Huntington North) – 18:46, 11. Freddy Kallenberg (Plymouth) – 18:47, 12. Aidan Faulstich (Plymouth) – 18:49, 13. Caleb Reust (Huntington North) – 18:57, 14. Coby Walters (Plymouth) – 19:01, 15. Joseph Stauffer (Plymouth) – 19:19

INDIVIDUAL CHAMPION: Jackson Gackenheimer (Warsaw) – 15:54


Top Left: Wes Steininger

Top Middle: Allyson Calloway

Top Right: Christopher Marquez

Bottom Left: Chesnee Miller

Bottom Middle: Lexi Gibson

Bottom Right: BatOcher EnhkOrgil

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