October 24th, 2013 – Boys New Prairie Semi-State Preview
By: Justin Floyd
This year’s New Prairie Semi State has been one of the most infuriating processes to break down. It has seen the rise and fall of so many teams and individuals throughout the season. Just when you think a team or individual has solidified themselves as a lock to make it to Terre Haute, the turn around and reveal themselves as more than vulnerable. So here is my best attempt at predicting the most unpredictable event this weekend.
This is where most of my frustration stems from and to be honest where most of the NPSS related talk was surrounded upon. Many message board individuals were making bold predicitions (usually based on nothing more than a hunch) of which teams had peaked, were done, or had contracted some sort of strain of SARS, etc… However after 2 months of racing some teams have in fact looked better than they have in the last 2 weeks. The usually well informed FloydCC (thats me) is pretty much as in the dark about these teams as you are so I can only take my best stab at it which is likely to say (probably) will not be good enough.
West Lafayette– They have been one of the most consistent teams this fall. They have had the emergence of a true front running threat in Cooper Williams and their pack of up and comers mixed with the veterans (can you say that about teenagers?) have proved to be consistent and deadly (in terms of running not legally). Evan Williams, Cohen, and Patacsil have provided a very tight, fast pack to back up Williams. Look for them to be the favorites this saturday.
Valparaiso – As much as it always pains me to type pleasant things about the lovely town and school of Valparaiso they are (barring a catastrophe) a lock to qualify for state. They are very senior heavy, even though most lack post season experience. Ari Coulopolous has been somewhat consistent over the last 4 weeks even though, in my opinion, experienced a rocky start to the season. The rest of the team (Jankowski, Dalton, Hickey, Alfredson et al) have picked up slack when one or another has been down. Look for them to challenge for the win.
Warsaw– Coon will get them that single digit point but it depends on if their 2-5 will be on their game. If Houvenour, Glogovski, Messenger and Bergen will be close enough to Valpo’s 2-5 to challenge for 2nd place.
Crown Point– They have a potent 1-3 with Gray, Langbehn, and Kepshire. Tyler Gray could in fact challenge for a top 5 with Kepshire in the top 20 as well. It will depend on the performance of their 4-5 in Mosak and Wallace if this team takes the next step and nabs a top 3 place.
Munster– this is another team that it personally pains me to speak highly of but they have over come early season disappointments to put themselves in position for a top 3 place at SS. Ryan Kritzer has led this team with the help of Tom Bolanowski to a regional championship over Crown Point. However, if they wish to beat them again next Saturday Scott Farley will have to repeat his breakthrough performance from Regional with the rest of the top 5 not far behind.
Teams that would cut someone for a qualifying spot:
Laporte– The emergence of several freshman and the development of Sam Miller have taken Laporte to another level than they were on at the beginning of the season. We all knew Didion would be challenging for the win this weekend but its the 2-5 that have taken them from an also ran to a potential state qualifying team.
Lake Central – Well they are young, but they have the tools to take the 6th spot. If Hupp, Kramer-Stephens, et al run to their capabilities it will be a close call. They are young, yes, but do not think young means inexperienced as they have the mindset and leadership within the team to make them a legitimate 5-6th place team.
Portage– Whaaaa happened?? They were looking great at the beginning of the season but as of late have looked more than mortal and look to just miss out on a trip to Terre Haute for the 3rd straight year. However, this guy has a crazy theory that they might have tempo’d last week knowing they would advance from regionals no matter what in order to be ready for saturday. I have no way of knowing that but I do know that they possess all the talent to accomplish a top 6 spot this saturday, but the question is will they? Balboa, Chapa, and the rest could take them there but the key is will Hudson run and will he be 100%?
This was a seriously hard yet grab bag of names to put together my top 20 teams. After the top 8 or 9 teams it becomes anyone’s best guess, so here is mine/
1. West Lafayette
7. Lake Central
9. Lafayette Jeff
14. New Prairie
18. Twin Lakes
The individual race has been as up and down as the teams this year but some names have solidified themselves as legitmate contenders for a qualifying spot. This year with the top 10 individuals not on a qulafying team should also make it interesting. Ari, Coon, Blaylock, Duke, Grider, Williams, and Kritzer have all made their case for a top 10. It will be fast up front and the rest again is like drafting a youth basketball team, you just don’t know what you will get. So here goes nothing….
1. Ellis Coon – Warsaw
2. Cooper Williams – West Lafayette
3. Anthony Didion – Laporte
4. Ryan Kritzer – Munster
5. Ari Coulopolous – Valpraiso
6. Lewis Duke – Eastern Greentown
7. Tyler Gray – Crown Point
8. Matt Grider – Western
9 . Brian Blaylock – Lowell
10. David Kampf – New Prairie
11. Tom Bolanowski – Munster
12. Andrew Jankowski – Valparaiso
13. Evan Johnson – West Lafayette
14. Ben Savage – Morgan Township
15. Matthew Fahs-Brown – Manchester
16. Ryan Kepshire – Crown Point
17. Sal Cordova – Bishop Noll
18. Dominic Patacsil – West Lafayette
19. Owen Glogovski – Warsaw
20. Joel O’Shea – Wheeler