October 24th, 2013 – Girls Brown County Semi-State Preview

By:  Vicky Warzyniak

INDIVIDUALS:

Without a doubt, Columbus North’s Mackenzie Caldwell has owned the #1 spot all season.  The only way that spot can change is if she forgets to get on that team bus this Saturday.  Don’t think that’s gonna happen.  She’s had another dominant season, with either being the champ, or runner up (to Carmel’s Welsh, Avon’s Abramson), with times hovering around 18:10 and under.  She has already set a new PR, school & course record of 17:29.9 at the CI meet held at Brown County.  She’ll get one more go at this same course for her senior season, so prepare to be amazed and get your hair blown back as she makes her way thru to the end of the most successful high school XC lady athlete in Brown County Semi-State’s history.

The #2 – #5 spot is going to be pretty exciting to watch as well.  Sierra Lax (CN), Kate Raphael (BN), Shannon Effron (EM), and Alex Warzyniak (BS), could all battle wire to wire.  Raphael has had her best season ever.  She is the BNL Sectional (18:46) & Regional (18:45) champ, and has beaten Lax recently at the CI meet in 18:33, a PR.  However, Lax has been dropping some time in both her runner-up spots in her Sectional (18:26) & Regional (18:18) races and looks to be trying to hold on to that momentum.  Effron, who’s had a very solid season, is her Conf.(18:49), Sec.(18:41) & Reg.(18:45) champ as well, and she looks to keep pushing and dropping times as well.  Warzyniak, who’s just back from injury after missing almost the entire season, is working hard to play catch-up and to be at her best for State for another All State honor.  She was runner-up to Raphael in both her Sec.(18:52) & Reg.(18:51), and has a PR time of 18:17from last year’s Semi.  All are seniors except Lax, so that extra incentive to fight for your best, on a well-loved course, one last time before State, will be their driving force.

The next potential’s in the Top 6- 10 group could consist of Rachel Brougher (CN), Ashton Bosler (NH), Nina Bouthier (CN),  Allie Rollins (EN), and Alexis Lewandowski (BS).  Brougher has been this SS top freshman all season, and has a PR of 18:45 from Sectionals.  Bosler, a junior, was her Conf.(19:34), Sec.(19:25) & Reg.(19:24) champ, and finished 8th in last yr.’s SS in 18:52.  Bouthier has been hovering around the top 10 spot all season, and with another strong effort by her, I see no reason for her to finish higher.  Rollins, a junior who was injured last SS as a soph, ran an 18:32 for 2nd as a freshman.  She also has a season’s best of 19:01, and has worked really hard to get back to her high level.  Lewandowski, another junior, has again shown her true potential this season having stepped it up by placing 4th in CI (18:59) and 4th in Regional (19:36).  If she brings her best on Saturday, a top 10 honor is hers.

Lydia Kotowski (FC), and Hannah Welsh (Jasper), and Hannah Sears (Edgewood), all sophomores,  have had a lot of success this season with running as their teams #1.  Kotowski, placed 10th last season in 18:58 as a freshman, and has a season’s best of 19:02.  Welsh, as a freshman, ran a 19:04 for 13th, and has set a new PR of 18:55 earlier in the season.  Sears finished 39th as a freshman, but as a soph, she has reset her own school record in 19:12.  All three have been running a little slower times here lately and will have to bring their A game on Saturday to place in Top 10, or even 15.

My bold, but not surprising, prediction is for sophomore Lindsay Welker (THN).  It seems running the 800 in the spring isn’t the only talent that this young lady has shown.  She placed 16th in the Semi as a freshman, and just recently won her Sectional (19:47).  She then decided on a nasty and cold rainy day, to go run her very best race at Regionals on a wet and muddy Bedford course.  Her strong efforts paid off and gave her 3rd in 19:09 (PR), as well as the confidence I’m sure for 2 more solid runs this season.  All the above ladies do have the talent, experience, and potential to finish in the Top 10, but should do no worse than Top 20.

Rounding out for a potential top 20 spot, you could see a couple more freshman, Tara Cassidy (Jasper) who’s a Conference champ with a PR of 19:09, and freshman Whitley Schirmer (Switzerland Co), who recently placed 3rd at Regionals in 19:32.  Also in contention, sophomore’s Allison Coffey (CN) and Alli Workman (Bloomfield), junior Mackenzie Crouch (Silver Creek) and 3 more seniors, Sarah Wargel (EM), Sadie Spears (Henryville), & Lainey Derheimer (BS).

Predictions:

1)   Mackenzie Caldwell, 12   -Columbus North
2)   Sierra Lax, 10   -Columbus North
3)   Kate Raphael, 12   -Bloomington North
4)   Alex Warzyniak, 12   -Bloomington South
5)   Shannon Effron, 12   -Evansville Memorial
6)   Rachel Brougher, 9   -Columbus North
7)   Ashton Bosler, 11   -North Harrison
8)   Alexis Lewandowski, 11  -Bloomington South
9)   Allie Rollins, 11   -Evansville North
10) Lindsay Welker, 10   -Terre Haute North
11) Lydia Kotowski, 10   -Floyd Central
12) Hannah Sears, 10   -Edgewood
13) Mackenzie Crouch, 11   -Silver Creek
14)  Nina Bouthier, 10   -Columbus North
15)  Hannah Welsh, 10   -Jasper
16)  Tara Cassidy, 9   -Jasper
17)  Allison Coffey, 10   -Columbus North
18)  Lainey Derheimer, 11   -Bloomington South
19)  Sarah Wargel, 12   -Evansville Memorial
20)  Alli Workman, 10   -Bloomfield

Don’t count out:
Michaela Ward, 10   -Evansville North
Veronica Fickel, 11   -Bloomington South
Jessi Conley, 12   -Terre Haute North

Other Individuals with advancement potential:
Cia Greene, 9   -Henryville
Sandra Warren, 10   -Salem
Katie Schmidt, 12   -Terre Haute South
Ashley Kidwell, 11   -Northview
Angela Kendall, 12   -Orleans

So sorry I missed ya!:
Zoey Johnson, a senior from Seymour, and Sienna Crews, a junior from Heritage Hills, are two of the top Brown Co. SS ladies who suffered early season injuries.  They were always ranked in the top 5, and for sure would be still if they were able to compete.  They were also two of my personal faves to follow, and I was especially sad for Zoey with this being her senior year when she had so much potential to make this her best season ever.  She finished 27th at State last year, 2 spots shy of making All State.  Sienna finished 18th at State last year, and remember I said this, you will see her ranked at the top again early next season and look for her to finish in the Top 10 at State her senior year.  Get well ladies!….and thanks for the memories!

TOP 6 TEAMS:

1)  Columbus North:  As usual, the Bulldogs are rock solid.  Period.  Champs of every meet on their schedule except the 2 that involved Carmel.  This will probably be the same scenario for them at State..…unless Carmel forgets their bus;)  For the SS race, this squad has the strongest potential to finish all 5 scorer’s in the Top 20, and possibly Top 15.  Without a doubt when this team shows up = Done Deal!  A 29th State appearance for these ladies seems as easy as just saying it.

2)  Bloomington South:  Being Sectional & Regional champs, and with the return of their frontrunner Warzyniak, their preseason goals to State has gotten a little clearer, but not any easier.  There is a difference.  Beating Terre Haute North at Regionals by only 2 points, should tell the Panthers how easy this could flip on Saturday, and don’t think for a second that the Patriots have forgotten this.  They will show up with a plan.  Panthers will have to prepare themselves for another hard fought battle, but well worth it since they haven’t beaten the Patriots at SS since 2008.

3)  Terre Haute North:  Always a strong squad, and have quite a few Semi-State titles to prove it.  Columbus North joining the SS last season has helped make that feat a little more difficult….for everyone.  The Patriots have always proven themselves as a hardworking, dedicated bunch that also just so happens to be successful.  They proved that recently at Regionals when they showed up in Bedford with a plan to upset Bloomington South.  With new frontrunner Welker, and experienced top runner Jessi Conley, their potential success for this season is far from over.

4)  Floyd Central:   The Highlander’s have been a lot of fun to follow this season, and it’s so hard to believe they haven’t been to the State meet since 2002.  They missed their 1st trip since 2002 last season by 6 points to Bloomington North.  Before that, they had made 18 other appearances, including 4 State championships.  With winning their Conference, Sectional & Regional titles, these Highlanders are about to change the tide once again.  Led by sophomore Kotowski all season, and followed by 2 more strong soph’s, Manning & Barney, with freshman Morgan Paul and junior Rodriquez.  It very much appears that this fun ride will be continuing on!

The next 2 spots are gonna be interesting to watch unfold.  They could easily be for 4 teams .  It all depends who “shows up” on Saturday!  Here is what I predict based on performances in the latter part of the season:

5)  Evansville Memorial:  Traditionally this team shows up every year at SS full on, and I shouldn’t expect anything less this year.  Conference, Sectional and Regional champs, and it doesn’t appear they’re ready to slow down.  Led by senior Effron, this squad seems primed to make some noise this season, and perhaps they could disturb Floyd Central’s good time.

6)  Bloomington North:  Led by senior Kate Raphael, who’s had an amazing senior year under new Coach Helmer.  All of the Cougars have been able to knock off 20 – 40+ seconds off their best this season.  You could actually see a progression over the season of this young team, and I get the impression that the best is yet to come on Saturday.  With 23 State appearances, history shows you cannot rule them out.

Do NOT count out:

7)  Jasper:  Was looking so strong throughout the season and recently ranked as #5.  Sectional/Reg. times seem to be slowing down a bit.  Their #4 & #5 are going to have to pick it up on Saturday if they want to pull a team advancement that has only been done 4 times in school history and not since 2006.  Soph. Hannah Welsh, and freshman Tara Cassidy will for sure have their tickets punched for State as individuals.

8)  Silver Creek:  I cannot count out my “little engine that could” squad.  Another fun team to follow!  The Dragon’s have been to the big State dance 4 times, and last appearance was in 2004.  Sectional champs & runner-up to Columbus North in the Regionals.  And like Jasper, if their #4 & #5 get better positions on Saturday, they have a better chance going to the big dance.  If not, for sure team leader Crouch, and Shields, both juniors, and a possible last dance for senior Brittany Sharp, could be going as individuals.   Never say never, say,  “I think I can, I think I can!”

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