October 23rd, 2012 – Girls State Meet Preview by Colin Altevogt
By Colin Altevogt
Perhaps it isn’t a foregone conclusion after all.
With the number one team returning a solid group and the defending state champion looking like one of the nation’s best, both the team and individual championships seemed pre-determined in June. While Carmel and Warsaw’s Ashley Erba will both enter the meet and favorites, each has a contender on their heels.
The two-time defending champions, Carmel will be hard to beat. The ‘Hounds put five in the top 15 at the semi-state last week and also have two returning individual medalists. The Harris twins, the other returners from last year’s state championship team, have been
clutch as well. Unlike in previous years, the ‘Hounds don’t have much margin of error. Their top five have all run under 18:30 but there is a drop off after that.
#2 West Lafayette
According to the anonymous inccstats.com site, Carmel is the winner 99.4% of the time. So you’re telling me there’s a chance!? Like Carmel, the Red Devils put all five runners in the top 15 at their semi-state, albeit not as strong as the central Indiana one. Junior Bobbie Burgess should give the Red Devils an advantage over almost any other team. After that, it’s just a matter of West Lafayette trying to match-up at 2-5 against the champs.
#5 Columbus North
The last time the Dogs did not ascend the podium, it was 2008 and a young North team missed medals by just five points and a runner-up finish by 22 without a key runner. Since then, the Dogs have finished either first or second at the state meet. While that streak looks to be in great danger, North could have two in the top five and should have the depth behind them to be very hard to beat.
#6 Franklin Central
A year after last year’s heartbreak, the Flashes look to regain their typical podium placing. While FC has no superstar, they have one of the tightest 1-5 gaps in the state. At the state meet, a great fifth runner can often be a better advantage than a team with a frontrunner and a buried final scorer. The Flashes have also had the advantage of resting key runners through some rounds of the tournament.
#3 FW Carroll
The Chargers defeated the other potential podium teams at the FlashRock Invitational in mid-September and have held that advantage in the rankings ever since. Like FC, Carroll has no great frontrunner (although some potential All-State candidates) but has superior depth. In fact, with Carmel out of state for FlashRock, the Chargers have been undefeated this year.
#4 Hamilton Southeastern
The Royals have been solid all season. Led by potential All-Staters Rachel Nichwitz and junior Jessica King, HSE is similar to Columbus North: they may have some depth issues to cover up with great frontrunning. The Royals were nearly beaten at the regional by cross-town rival Fishers but rebounded well last week to finish second at the semi-state, 12 ahead of Franklin Central.
Top Ten Types
Led by two potential All-Staters in sophomores Malyka Abramson and Courtney Kerr, the Orioles did have to go pretty deep down to their fifth to advance to their second consecutive state meet. How much can getting two low scores up front help hteir chances this week?
#19 Bloomington South
The Panthers have a great leader in junior Alex Warzyniak, who has lost time in the past due to injury. With her back at full strength, the Panthers are back to their usual form. They won’t make a run at the podium but could finish in the top half of this meet. South’s best state meet finish in school history was 8th.
#7 Eastern (Greentown)
The Comets qualified for their first ever state finals last year, finishing 15th. They were an easy second at the semistate. Eastern could have a very low score off the strength of senior Bethany Neeley, who was the state champion in the 1600 last spring.
The Tigers have qualified for their first state finals in school history (although the school did open in just 2006). Fishers has the depth to match some of the potential podium teams like Columbus North or Hamilton Southeastern but doesn’t have the frontrunning. Six of seven will return for the deep Tigers next season.
The Raiders have been solid all season, despite not having Corinne Cominator after she ran state elite times in the 1600 and 3200 last season. Northridge very nearly had two in the top 15 at the New Haven Semi-state last week.
#8 Terre Haute North
The Patriots have had an up-and-down season but had a great race at the semi-state last season, even with superstar Chanli Mundy having a bit of an off-race. With her at her typical level, the Pats could have their best finish in state meet history (9th in 2009).
The Vikings laid low for much of the season but easily qualified for their 20th consecutive state finals. Valpo had some sub-par races at the semi-state and should come back to run well in Terre Haute, as is tradition.
The Tigers will be helped by scoring four runners, presuming that defending champion Ashley Erba is the first team scorer. Though their four and five are further back, Warsaw’s low score through two could mask that.
The Shamrocks are
no stranger to close battles in October. Just a couple years out of missing the state meet by two points, Westfield made it to Terre Haute this year on a sixth runner tiebreaker. The young ‘Rocks are led by freshman Devon Leahy.
Happy to be Here
After a short hiatus last season, the Cougars are back in the state finals for the sixth time in seven years. Junior Kate Raphael and senior Christine Sparks led the charge for BHSN.
The Trojans have been one of northwest Indiana’s best teams all season. They are making their first appearance at the state finals since 2007.
Traditionally one of the best teams in the south, Memorial has made all four of its state finals in the last four years.
The Cadets have been ranked all season and looked like the third best team in their semi-state all fall, which is where they finished. They were a surprising fourth here in 2011.
The Spartans once boasted a string of ten consecutive state championships appearances. This one could get the ball rolling again.
The Vikings qualified by getting the last spot at the New Haven Semi-state, compensating for their lack of front running with a great pack and getting a fifth runner in before all but two teams.
The Lady Kingsmen have been up and down all season, but were up for the challenge at the semi-state where they finished fourth. Sophomore Maddie Woods is a potential All-Stater and should help Penn’s team points.
The Indians have been a constant in Terre Haute recently. This marks their fifth consecutive trip.
Terre Haute South
The Indians have made the state finals every year that junior Nikki Thiede has been at the school. This year’s squad has just one senior.
2. West Lafayette
3. Columbus North
4. Franklin Central
5. Hamilton Southeastern
6. FW Carroll
7. Eastern (Greentown)
11. Terre Haute North
15. Bloomington South
16. FW Concordia
20. Huntington North
22. Terre Haute South
23. Bloomington North
24. Evansville Memorial
Ashley Erba, Warsaw
Erba simply ran away from the field last year at this meet and employed the same tactic in the 3200 at the state track finals. She has not been unchallenged this year, however. Erba has, at times, broken the state meet record, although she does not currently hold that distinction despite breaking the record at her own semistate. A final showdown with new rival Anna Rohrer should determine this year’s state champion.
Anna Rohrer, Mishawka
Rohrer had a great track season, although nothing could have hinted at what was to come this fall. Her upset victory over Erba at New Prairie was nothing short of staggering, and she hasn’t stopped there. Rohrer was beaten pretty handily by Erba at Culver the next week, but the two have traded the state meet record back and forth this season. Currently, Rohrer holds it thanks to her 17:04 at the New Haven Semi-state, a full 1:15 ahead of second place.
Malyka Abramson, Avon
Abramson has been unvanquished since losing to Bobbie Burgess at the Harrison Invitational in early September, including getting revenge on Burgess the next week. She was dominant at the Carmel Semi-state, leading wire-to-wire and winning by nearly 20 seconds. There’s no reason to believe that she will be able to outduel Erba or Rohrer, but anything could happen on one day.
Bobbie Burgess, West Lafayette
Burgess caught the state by surprise when she ran under 18 minutes in mid-August at the Carmel Classic on the challenging Northview course. She was more than 30 seconds behind Erba at the semi-state but could be able to stick around long enough
at Terre Haute to pull off an upset.
1. Ashley Erba, Warsaw
2. Anna Rohrer, Mishawaka
3. Malyka Abramson, Avon
4. Bobbie Burgess, West Lafayette
5. Mackenzie Caldwell, Columbus North
6. Bethany Neeley, Eastern (Greentown)
7. Kendra Foley, Noblesville
8. Anna Aldrich, Fremont
9. Abby Hostetler, Fremont
10. Sarah Billingsley, Oldenburg Academy
11. Haley Harris, Carmel
12. Rachael Sollman, Columbus North
13. Kelcy Welch, Carmel
14. Gina Genco, Carmel
15. Maddie Woods, Penn
16. Elena Lancioni, LaPorte
17. Rachel Nichwitz, Hamilton Southeastern
18. Alex Warzyniak, Bloomington South
19. Kelsey Harris, Carmel
20. Grace Lachmund, West Lafayette
21. Emma MacAnnally, Indianapolis, Cathedral
22. Anna Bearss, Warsaw
23. Sierra Lax, Columbus North
24. Jessica King, Hamilton Southeastern
25. Ellen Schmitz, Carmel