October 24th, 2013 – Boys Carmel Semi-State Preview

Carmel Boys’ Semi-State Preview 2013

By: Darryl Stevenson

Semi-State weekend has finally arrived in the state of Indiana for high school Cross Country!  Teams will gather at four sites regionally located across the state, and will go to battle for a state meet berth.  The Carmel Boys’ Semi-State has been one of most competitive Semi-State races in the most recent years, and this weekend’s race should be no different.  The top five teams from the Brebeuf Jesuit, Ben Davis, Greensburg and Rushville Regionals will face off this Saturday in the Carmel Semi-State race, and each team will be gunning to finish in the top six in order to qualify for the State Meet at LaVern Gibson in Terre Haute.

Teams Competing:

Carmel (Brebeuf #1) Zionsville (BD #1)
Lawrence North (Brebeuf #2) Avon (BD #2)
North Central (Brebeuf #3) Brownsburg (BD #3)
Brebeuf Jesuit (Brebeuf #4) Indpls Cardinal Ritter (BD #4)
Westfield (Brebeuf #5) Ben Davis (BD #5)
Franklin Community (G #1) Warren Central (R #1)
Shelbyville (G #2) Roncalli (R #2)
South Dearborn (G #3) Franklin Central (R #3)
Center Grove (G #4) Greenfield Central (R #4)
Greenwood (G #5) New Palestine (R #5)

 

The team competition this weekend at the Carmel Boys’ Semi-State race should be very close.  Carmel is the heavy favorite to take home the team title, and should do so with relative ease considering their depth.  From there, the race is on for 2nd place.  There are a handful of teams that could finish as high as 2nd, such as Lawrence North, North Central, Brebeuf Jesuit and Westfield (the other four teams from the Brebeuf Regional).  Each of these teams offer 1 – 3 low sticks, and are each very solid through at least 5 runners.  In my opinion, there are numerous teams outside of the Brebeuf Regional teams that should round out the top 10 this weekend.  Zionsville, Avon, Brownsburg, Franklin Community, Warren Central, Roncalli, and Franklin Central will all be looking to finish in the top six this weekend.

 

Team Predictions:

  1. Carmel – The hands down favorite to win this weekend.  Carmel offers unmatched depth, and always has runners finish as low sticks.  Carmel has the luxury of resting runners if they choose to do so, and it will be interesting to see if they rest any their “normal” varsity squad in preparation of the State Meet and beyond, or continue to run their top guys and build momentum.  Either way, I think Carmel takes home the title this weekend.
  2. North Central – This team appears to be coming on at the right time.  To the outside, it may have appeared the Panthers were starting to falter late in the regular season around the Culver Invite, but the Panthers were simply training through and resting runners.  Huffman and Rice provide a great 1-2 punch for the Panthers, and should lead the team on to Terre Haute.  This weekend, Jordan Koczenasz is the most important runner for the Panthers, and if he can run where he has proven he is capable of, the Panthers could finish as high as 2nd.  Conor Smith elevates this team to a new level if he continues to run like he has been in the tournament as well.
  3. Lawrence North – Lawrence North is a very dangerous team.  Murphy and Hanawalt have provided 2 low sticks for the Wildcats this season, and Hoeft returning to form has provided great depth up front.  Hoeft seems to be improving by the week since his return, so he will be one to keep an eye on this weekend.  Teklezghi returned last weekend as well after missing some races, and was the squad’s 6th man.  If he can drop some time, the Wildcats become that much more dangerous heading on to Terre Haute.  Barring something catastrophic, I don’t see the Wildcats not advancing.
  4. Westfield – After barely scraping by last weekend at the Regional by three points, I see Westfield advancing on to Terre Haute.  Rinne has been somewhat inconsistent throughout the course of the regular season, but appears to be back to the norm thus far in the post season.  I think Rinne has a great day to lead the squad, and their 2 – 5 runners have much better races than last weekend.
  5. Brebeuf Jesuit – This is a hard team to predict.  Earlier in the season they were lights out, and still have been fairly solid since, but they haven’t gotten back to where they were in late August and early September.  There have been rumors of sickness issues, iron level deficiencies, and migraines for a couple members of the squad throughout the season, but they ran well last weekend at home.  Snider provides 1 – 2 pts for the team, so they offer a very low stick in the team race.  The challenge for Brebeuf will be to match the 2 – 3 runners of other teams in the race such as LN and NC.  If they are able to do so, Brebeuf could finish as high as 2nd.
  6. Zionsville – This is the hardest spot to predict for this weekend.  Honestly, I think there are about 3 -4 teams that will be competing for this last spot.  I am going with Zionsville because I think they offer the most potential of any of the other teams outside of the Brebeuf Regional.  While Zionsville has not been incredibly consistent this year, they had a few meets that will catch your notice (such as the Ben Davis Invite).  If Zionsville wants to advance, they will need someone to flirt with the top 20, and definitely the top 25, as well as having a 5th man getting close to, or under, 17 minutes.
  7. Avon – This squad could very easily advance to Terre Haute.  Avon has been very consistent this season outside of the Flashrock Invite, and really could be just one race away.  They will need Martin to race with other team’s #1-2, and continue to pack up their 2 – 4.  The key for Avon will be to have their 5th man score as low as possible (in comparison to Zionsville, WC, Brownsburg, Franklin Community and Franklin Central).
  8. Warren Central – WC ran very well last weekend and won the Rushville Regional.  In my opinion, they are another team with a great shot at stealing the 6th spot this weekend.  Warren’s 1 – 4 seemed to pack up last weekend, and they ran pretty well.  Warren’s keys for this weekend will be to have someone flirting with the top 20 – 25, and to have their 5th man drop time.  Rushville seemed to be a little slow last weekend, but their 5th man still has to drop some time to give the team a chance to advance.
  9. Brownsburg– The team had two fantastic performances from Bond and Sathyamurthy last weekend at the Regional.  This is another team that, on a good day, could advance to the State Meet.  In order to advance, their top two need to have a lights out performance, and their 4 -5 have to drop some time to close the gap.
  10. Franklin Community – Franklin Community is a very interesting to watch this weekend.  Again, this is another team with a strong shot to finish 6th.  Johnson provided a great race for the squad last weekend.  With another performance like that, Franklin Community would have a great chance of advancing.  If their 5th man can close the gap to their #4, and their #2-3 can drop some time, Franklin Community definitely has a shot.

 

This year’s Carmel Boys’ Semi-State is very hard to predict.  Other than Carmel, there is no clear-cut favorite and the teams are very close to each other.  At first glance, there appears to be three tiers of teams:

-Tier I – Carmel

-Tier II – North Central, Lawrence North, Westfield and Brebeuf Jesuit

-Tier III – Zionsville, Avon, Warren Central, Brownsburg, Franklin Community, Roncalli and Franklin Central

The difficulty with predicting the race this season is how some of the teams within these tiers almost mirror each other.  Tier II has NC and LN, which are very close teams.  They both offer very strong 1-2 punches (Huffman-Rice & Murphy-Hanawalt), as well as very strong #3s in Jordan K. and Hoeft.  Their #4s are coming along very well, especially in the tournament and their #5s are improving as well.  Westfield and Brebeuf offer very strong #1s in Snider and Rinne, and very solid 2-3 runners as well as 4-5 duos, that are all very close to each other time-wise.

Tier III provides all of the teams that are fighting for the 6th spot this weekend.  Any of these teams could be that #6 team with the right race, but each of them need slight improvements from last weekend in order to do so.

Obviously these are just my predictions for this weekend, and I really wouldn’t be surprised if 2 teams from Tier III above advance on to the state meet.  Many of the teams listed in Tier II above are only “5 deep” and have significant drops in time to their 6th man.  If someone goes down, gets sick, etc. this week, look for 2 teams from Tier III above to advance.

 

Individual Predictions:

  1. Zack Snider (Brebeuf) – The most consistent runner this season from the Carmel Semi-State.  He is running very strong and looks primed for a great next couple of weeks.
  2. Clayton Bowie (Southport) – Will be battling for the win this weekend with Snider.  Will be interesting to see how the race strategies match up this weekend, and how they are next weekend in Terre Haute.
  3. Calvin Kraft (Fishers) – One of the most consistent runners in the Semi-State.  Kraft has had a fantastic senior season up to this point, and it all has led up to the next two weekends.  In my opinion, Kraft is one of the most underrated Cross Country runners in Indiana by many.
  4. David Dalton (Greenwood) – Having a stellar senior campaign.  Had a great race last weekend at the Regional, and will look to continue riding the momentum through next weekend.  Dalton is someone who could finish as high as 2nd this weekend.
  5. Colin Rinne (Westfield) – As I mentioned above, Rinne hasn’t been all that consistent throughout the regular season, but he seems to be running well in the tournament thus far.  I look for him to continue that this weekend in his last semi-state race of his career.
  6. James Huffman (North Central) – People may forget that Huffman finished 10th at last year’s State Meet.  Huffman was a little under the weather the last couple of weeks, but seems to be rounding into form once again.  His confidence is growing the further along the tournament goes, and that is the key to his races.
  7. Joe Murphy (Lawrence North) – Murphy has shown his great range this cross country season after a very impressive track campaign last spring.  I think Murphy continues his great season this weekend and leads the Wildcats to Terre Haute.
  8. Bobby Browning (Carmel) – Browning is another runner that hasn’t been incredibly consistent this season, but when he’s on – he’s on.  I think he continues a great tournament season in his senior campaign this weekend.
  9. Solomon Rice (North Central) – Solomon has had a great junior season thus far, and has really taken his running to the next level, highlighted by a MIC runner-up finish.  A fall last weekend at Brebeuf caused Rice some places, and I look for that to fire him up for this weekend.
  10. Jake Hanawalt (Lawrence North) – Hanawalt has been a new face to many this Cross Country season in the Carmel Semi-State.  Outside of 1-2 races, he’s had a fantastic season and is running very well.
  11. Chris Johnson (Franklin Community) – May finally be rounding into shape (as evident by last weekend’s Regional run).  It is always fascinating to me to see how certain people can “turn it on” in their senior year tournament season.  Let’s see if that is the case for Jake Johnson and he can ride this momentum to Terre Haute.
  12. Ben Veatch (Carmel) – Ben has ran very well this season for the Greyhounds, and ran very well last weekend at Brebeuf. He potentially could finish even higher.
  13. Isaiah White (Perry Meridian) – White has set himself up nicely for a great tournament season.  He is experienced at the Carmel Semi-State, and should be in contention for a top 10 – 15 finish.
  14. Ethan Hoeft (Lawrence North) – Hoeft is coming off of an apparent injury from earlier this season.  Every race back he seems to get a little stronger, and this weekend shouldn’t be any different.  I look for Hoeft to continue improving as he gears up for Terre Haute.
  15. Adam George (Cathedral) – Not sure what happened to him last weekend (if anything?).  If something was off, I look for George to turn it around this weekend.  He has had an extremely impressive season leading up to the tournament, so hopefully all is well for him this weekend.
  16. Ben Anderson (Carmel) – Another consistent performer for the Greyounds this season.  Anderson is running very well, and he helps push Carmel to a victory this weekend.
  17. Darin Lawrence (Lawrence Central) – Lawrence has really turned it on in the past couple of weeks and has taken a step forward.  I think he mixes it up this weekend and advances to Terre Haute individually.
  18. Joseph Taylor (Guerin Catholic) – Having a great tournament season thus far, and continues on to Terre Haute individually to compete next weekend.
  19. Mark Bond (Brownsburg) – After a regional victory, Bond’s confidence has to be sky high.  I think Bond has another great run this weekend and punches his ticket to the State Meet.
  20. Jordan Koczenasz (North Central) – After having a small health issue a few weeks back, Koczenasz has used the past couple of races to get back into racing mentality.  He has proven earlier this year that he is capable of running with the leaders in any race, and I think this weekend he gets back to that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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