October 24th, 2013 – Boys New Haven Semi-State Preview

New Haven Semi-State

By: Sean Eberly

Teams

The Favorites:

Northridge Raiders

In case you were wondering, the last team to be crowned as State Champions from the northeast were the Raiders in 2004. This team has the capability to run well and come out with the gold. Consistently leading the Raiders all year have been frontman Blake O’Dell followed by Conner Sandt. I’d mark these guys as the favorite—they boast three seniors in their top five.

Ft. Wayne Carroll Chargers

Last year’s State Runners-up took a few blows from graduation, but, as a Carroll trademark, loaded up again and have produced more solid runners. They’re a traditional northeast preseason favorite and are always prepared to peak in the postseason. The Chargers were defeated by a narrow margin of 8 points at the Culver Academies Invite by Northridge in late September. Still, winning the Semi-State is nothing new to the Chargers and wouldn’t at all be surprising to anyone here.

 

The Darkhorse

Ft. Wayne Bishop Dwenger Saints

The Saints took everyone by surprise by narrowly winning the whole enchilada in 2010. Possibly even more surprising, to some of you, was my ranking of Dwenger in week 5. If they race well, they have a glimmering chance at a runner-up finish. Barring anything crazy, etch the Saints in at a solidly safe #3.

 

 

Fighting To Get In

There are some quality teams after the first three locks that have legitimate chances of capturing a state berth. It gets tricky here. Every year at New Haven there is a team that runs exceptionally well and one that runs subpar.

Homestead Spartans

Led by sophomore, Brayden Law, the Spartans look to capture their first back-to-back trip to the State meet in school history. However, there’s a good chance they’re gonna have company themselves for 4th place if their 4 and 5 guys can’t pick up slack. I’d consider them the only for-sure lock out of this group.

 

Ft. Wayne Concordia Cadets

Zach Panning is a huge asset for Concordia in these bigger meets. He’s going to place first and everyone knows it. I wasn’t sure how these guys were to fair in the postseason, but I’m a believer that they’ll get in now after a reassuring regional finish. They were last year’s 7th place team and I’m sure some of those returning runners are looking to change that.

 

South Adams Starfires

On the other side of the coin is South Adams as they boast a formidable 1-2 punch in Sawyer Miller and (freshman) Bailey McIntire. However, their 5th man ran a suspect 17:43 at the Marion Regional— arguably one of the flattest…I mean…fastest courses in the State, which scares me. If the #1 ranked small school Starfires are to advance to the State meet, they’re going need a lower time in that regard. I’m pulling for these guys.

 

Huntington North Vikings

Right behind them, or in front of them…the Vikings. The Marion Regional Champs by the 6th man tiebreaker over South Adams last Saturday. Led all year by Charlie Mettler, Huntington leads another State potential team into New Haven. Their 5th man is also suspect, however. A 17:28 at the Marion Regional can’t be too reliable to nab a remaining spot.

 

Outside Shot of Nabbing a Spot

After Huntington North, there are teams that have a low shot, but still capable of taking 6th IF they run exceptionally well.

Penn Kingsmen

Penn, lead by Seniors Thomas Gales and Taylor Neff, took the Regional Runner-up spot behind Northridge at Elkhart. It was one of their better outputs of the season. As a well-balanced team, if the pack gets going, they have a legitimate shot.

 

South Bend Riley Wildcats

Led all year by Travis Kulczar, the Wildcats have a nice team. 2-5 went 17:01, 17:01, 17:13, 17:25 at Elkhart. The Senior stacked squad will need some magic to get a 6th spot.

 

West Noble Chargers

Kind of puzzled by what happened to this team this year. As a traditional northeast power this team usually gets better as the year goes on. Running fantastic at the beginning of the year, the Chargers started to dip after their own invitational. Brandon Arnold paces the Chargers.

 

Looking For a Top 10 Finish

Goshen Redskins

In and out of the Top 10 all year, the Redskins don’t seem to have the fire-power to make a legitimate shot at 6th. Good news though: they only lose one runner from this year’s team and return six Seniors on next year’s team, including their frontrunner, Gerardo Abad.

 

Wawasee Warriors

The Warriors had a brief appearance on one of the top 10 weekly Semi-State rankings. Senior Adam Doll paces the Warriors. Another one of the older teams, they’re going to be returning a good amount of talent next year.

 

Mt. Vernon Marauders

The Delta Regional Champion and clear-cut best team in the Regional. The Marauders are on the outside bubble to make the Top 10. They are paced by the likes of Christian Noble and Aaron Rush.

 

Happy to be Here!

Bellmont Braves

The Braves were 3rd at the Marion Regional: 16:56, 17:01, 17:06, 17:08—all respectable times. But an 18:09 5th man really hurts, though. Another one of those teams that only loses one runner after this year.

 

Norwell Knights

The Knights were only 6 points behind Bellmont at Marion. The Knights are lead by Senior Brent Bales.

 

Oak Hill Eagles

The Eagles are really happy to be here. They edged out former-conference foe Northfield by 2 points at Marion to nab the last spot.

 

Pendleton Heights Arabians

The Arabians took 2nd at the Delta Regional and are led by Tyler Flood and Parker Jones.

 

Wes-Del Warriors

The Warriors took 3rd at the Delta Regional and are led by Brandon Blackmer.

 

Yorktown Tigers

The Tigers took 4th at the Delta Regional and are led by Chris Lowry.

 

Wapahani Raiders

The Raiders took 5th at the Delta Regional and are led by Robert Wilkinson.

 

Individuals

The Favorite:

Zach Panning

The cream of the crop. Undisputed all year. Hasn’t been challenged by anyone in the northeast. Guess the top and bottom card of a standard 52-card deck. Those are the odds.

 

Fighting For Second:

Jacob Timmons, Blake O’Dell, Mark Beckmann

All year South Bend Adam’s Jacob Timmons has been running superb (if he and his brother had a supporting cast, their team would be a force). Northridge’s frontrunner, Blake O’Dell, finished 2 seconds behind Jacob at the Elkhart Regional finishing second. The two Seniors will have a challenger to face in Dekalb’s Sophomore sensation: Mark Beckmann, who finished 2nd behind Panning at the West Noble Regional by 26 seconds. The sophomore, however, is no pushover posting a 15:54 last Saturday.

It’s really hard to pick who comes out on top of these three, but I think Timmons expresses some of his winning ways, like he’s been doing all year, and takes the runner-up position.

 

Keeping It Close:

Josh Neideck, Cameron Clements, Andy Timmons, Travis Kulczar

Josh Neideck’s 2nd best time clocked in the regional round coming into the Semi-State at 15:47 is excellent, but do remember it was at Marion and he, being a Senior, has ran that course a few times in his career. Not gonna freak out by the impressive time on paper. Carroll’s frontman is in this group: Cameron Clements. The brother of runner-up favorite, Jacob Timmons, is Andy Timmons and is well capable of placing 5th. Travis Kulczar has been running well in the tournament and rounds out this group.

Looking to Fill Up the Spots:

Brandon Arnold, Brayden Law, Jacob Schmeling, Sawyer Miller, Bailey McIntire, Greg Tippmann, Brent Bales

All of these guys have potential to place 5th, but all could have a bad day and miss out. Brandon Arnold, as I’m expecting, will finish the highest of this group. Sawyer Miller and Bailey McIntire will (in the black and yellow checkers) be pacing South Adams and been 1 and 2—neck to neck for the past couple meets. Jacob Schmeling will be looking to pick up any spots, if possible, in hopes of helping Carroll win the team title.

Looking For a Top 15 Spot:

Charlie Mettler, Conner Sandt, Matthew Klein, Valentin Emmanuel, Adam Doll, Zach Cockrill, Brody Shane

Team Predictions

  1. Northridge
  2. FW Carroll
  3. FW Bishop Dwenger
  4. Homestead
  5. FW Concordia Lutheran
  6. South Adams
  7. Huntington North
  8. Penn
  9. South Bend Riley
  10. West Noble
  11. Goshen
  12. Wawasee
  13. Mt. Vernon (Fortville)
  14. Bellmont
  15. Norwell
  16. Oak Hill
  17. Pendleton Heights
  18. Wes-Del
  19. Yorktown
  20. Wapahani

Individuals

  1. Zach Panning (FW Concordia)
  2. Jacob Timmons (S.B. Adams)
  3. Blake O’Dell (Northridge)
  4. Mark Beckmann (Dekalb)
  5. Josh Neideck (Eastbrook)
  6. Cameron Clements (FW Carroll)
  7. Andy Timmons (S.B. Adams)
  8. Travis Kulczar (S.B. Riley
  9. Brandon Arnold (West Noble)
  10. Brayden Law (Homestead)
  11. Jacob Schmeling (FW Carroll)
  12. Sawyer Miller (South Adams)
  13. Bailey McIntire (South Adams)
  14. Greg Tippmann (FW Bishop Dwenger)
  15. Brent Bales (Norwell)

Good Luck to All!

Bonus Prediction: Red Sox in 6!!

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