August 11th – IR Preseason Boys "Runners to Watch"
By: Drake Sterling
IR Boys Coverage Coordinator
After the release of our Preseason All State lists, we wanted to spotlight some athletes around Indiana who you may not yet know of, but will soon be a household name. The purpose of this list is not to highlight everyone who we think will make big jumps in performance in 2013, but rather to name just a couple from each area of the State.
Not everyone on these lists are sure-to-be All-State athletes, but you can expect to see them near the front of most big invitationals this year. All of them have various reasons for their predicted breakthroughs…as you can read about below:
New Prairie Semi-State
1. Ben Savage – Sophomore – Morgan Township
Savage had a phenomenal freshman year. He benefited quite a bit from his wise ole veteran teammate, Alec Kostelnik. Now it’s Ben’s time to shine. He set personal bests last year of 16:07.6 at the Regional Meet during cross country and ran an impressive 9:40.02 for 3200 meters in track as well. For those who don’t know Savage, there is a great story on how he arrived in the U.S. as an orphan less than 5 years ago from Ethiopia and discovered his love to race and compete once here. Here is a link to the story from the NWItimes: Ethiopian Orphan finds home; running success in Morgan Township. Expect Ben to challenge for an All-State position this season.
2. Danny Dalton – Sophomore – Valparaiso
Valparaiso’s Danny Dalton looks to be the next great front runner in a lengthy history of cross country Vikings. This year especially, the Vikings will look to reload with athletes from their returning JV roster and Dalton was near the front. He will be thrown into the fire early and often. Look for Dalton to threaten both the 16 minute barrier and an individual State Qualifying spot.
Others to watch for: Cody Bray (Frankfort), Salvadore Cordova (Bishop Noll), Lucas Sullivan (Portage)
1. Joe Murphy – Senior – Lawrence North
Murphy is the exception to the majority of this list as he is someone most Indiana running fans have heard of. The reason he is featured on this list is because of the potential he carries entering this season. Last season, Murphy broke 16 minutes just once and was unable to qualify for the State Meet. This spring, however, Joe rewrote his personal bests, notching times of 4:16 in the mile and 1:52 in the 800. Middle distance success doesn’t always translate to cross country immortality, but it could in this case. Look for Murphy to have a shot at a top 10 spot (maybe better) at State in his very first XC appearance.
2. Jake Johnson – Senior – Franklin Community
This will be Johnson’s first year competing in the grueling Carmel Semi-State. He transferred to Franklin Community just this summer after spending the previous 3 years at a small school in the Brown County Semi-State – Indian Creek. While competing for the Braves, Jake ran personal bests of 15:57 in cross country and 9:48 for 3200m in track. With an increased support system and level of competition, expect Jake to raise his game. Last year, he missed qualifying for the State Meet by just 5 spots. This year, expect him to qualify and push for All-State status once there.
Others to watch for: Matt Lang (Brebeuf), Joe Lemna (Noblesville), Nathan Wilkey (Brebeuf)
Brown County Semi-State:
1. Chase Ballard – Junior – Columbus North
You likely know the names of Andy Carr and Kaden Eaton who were featured on our Preseason Top 25, but don’t expect Ballard to be far behind. From all reports, Ballard has had a fantastic summer and will likely be part of the next coming ‘CN Big 3’. Last year, he struggled at the State Meet, finishing just 105th. This year, expect him to be on the fringe of All-State.
2. Griffin Tichenor – Junior – Bloomington North
Griffin quietly had a very successful track season this Spring, highlighted by a personal best 9:29 3200m at Conference Indiana. Last year, Tichenor was just slightly above average, running 16:14 for 5k, although he did show up big when it counted, nearly qualify for the State Meet as an individual, and finishing a surprising 19th at the Brown County Semi-State. Bloomington North is on up-rise right now and Tichenor will be leading the pack. Expect Tichenor to qualify for and finish around the magical 25th position at the State Meet.
Others to watch for: Jarit Perkins (Barr Reeve), Brogan Armand (Evansville Harrison), Julian Magallanes (Borden), Mitch McCoy (Seymour)
New Haven Semi-State
1. Greg Tippmann – Junior – Bishop Dwenger
Tippmann finished 77th at last years cross country State Finals, which wasn’t too bad for him and was pretty consistent with his performances last season. Something must have gotten into him during track though, as Greg took his performances to a new level and became a State Meet medalist! Tippmann showed remarkable improvement at 800 meters, finishing 6th at the State Finals in a personal best 1:55.33. This, considering his mediocre previous personal bests (16:19 5k and 2:03 800), should lead to a bigger improvement during this, his Junior year. Expect Tippmann to qualify individually out of the New Haven Semi-State and be close to the top 25.
2. Jacob Timmons – Senior – South Bend John Adams
Timmons has been somewhat overshadowed by his twin brothers’ success thus far in his high school career. That may not necessarily be the case this year. Jacob ran amazing this track season, notching personal bests of 1:58/4:26/9:43 on the track. Just last week, Timmons showed he isn’t ready to peak as he finished third overall at the Logan’s Run 5k in a personal best 15:41 summer road race 5k. You can’t get a better training partner than your own twin brother, so look for these two to be consistently under 16 minutes and qualify for State individually.