October 24th 2013 – Girls Carmel Semi-State Preview
By: Drake Sterling
Northview Christian Church – Carmel, IN
9:45 Coaches meeting at the Barn
10:05 National Anthem
10:20 Boys’ teams report to starting line for final check in and instructions.
10:30 Start of boys’ race.
11:05 Girls’ teams report to starting line for final check in and instructions.
11:15 Start of girls’ race.
12:00 Awards presentations.
#1 Carmel, #4 Hamilton Southeastern, #9 Westfield, #19 Fishers, #21 Noblesville, #5 Avon, #7 Zionsville, Pike, Plainfield, Brownsburg, #10 Franklin Central, Warren Central, Connersville, Roncalli, New Palestine, Oldenburg Academy, Center Grove, Greenwood, Mooresville, Batesville
Katherine Free (Cathedral), Erine Crone (Chatard), Kayley Hodson (Lawrence Central), Megan Slamkowski (Guerin Catholic), Ellen Flood (Cathedral), Shania Riding (Lawrence North), Kat Williams (Hamilton Heights), Paige Logan (North Central), Taylor Bohlman (Lawrence Central), Susan Fisher (Brebeuf), Amy Carpenter (Decatur Central), Kendall Blake (Ritter), Connie Brahm (Ben Davis), Corrie Romer (Greencastle), Madie Egold (South Putnam), Carrie Chappell (Tri-West), Smantha Haynes (Greencastle), Brittany Love (Greencastle), Madeline Vance (Covenant Christian), Ariel Higgins (South Putnam), Hayley Rogers (Hagerstown), Kayla Fogg (Rushville), Samantha Crowe (Union County), Shelby Short (Centerville), Amelia Dick (Hagerstown), Ashley Toschlog (Centerville), Emily Goecke (Union County), Natalie Donlan (Scecina), Kaitlin Frost (New Castle) Kiersten Schrope (Eastern Hancock), Delaney Bucker (Southport), Megan Hoover (North Decatur), Kieran Casey (Perry Meridian), Danielle Muse (Whiteland), Kinzie Scott (Rising Sun), Zoe Piotrowski (Franklin Community), Morgan McCarter (Franklin Community), Shelby Pake (Greensburg), Heather Blandenbaker (Southport), Blayre Scott (Shelbyville)
#1 Carmel Greyhounds – There is no question that Carmel is the favorite. They enter the Semi-State meet with a huge advantage on everyone else.
#4 Hamilton Southeastern – Short of a disaster, the Royals are a sure bet to qualify for the IHSAA State Meet. This team will be making their third straight State Meet appearance. At worst, they could finish fourth, but if they get their #4 and #5 to run well, have an opportunity to finish second to the Greyhounds.
#5 Avon – Despite losing Senior leader Courtney Kerr mid-way through the season, the Orioles have shown amazing resilience to actually climb up the rankings rather than fall apart. Freshman Taylor Nicholson has been huge for them, stepping up in Kerr’s absence. The only issue with the Orioles is that their #6 is a significant fall off from their #5, so they need to be “on” from here on out…
#7 Zionsville – The Eagles under new coach, Suzanne Rigg have been the surprise of the Carmel Semi-State this season. Their top three is formidable with almost any top three in the State and they close the door well at #5. Having upset Avon and HSE already a couple of times this season, they could go anywhere from 2nd to 4th in this race. Assuming they qualify, this will be Zionsville’s first ever appearance at the State Finals
Fighting for the remaining two spots:
#9 Westfield – The Shamrocks have been trending in the right direction for over month now. Senior Karli Koning has stepped up as a leader and brought the likes of Devon Leahy and Shelby Wilson up with her to help Westfield establish a good front end. Westfield is always a team with a lot of depth so you should expect no less from their #4 and #5.
#10 Franklin Central – It’s safe to say that thus far, the Flashes haven’t been quite as good as most expected this season. They have struggled to take the “next” step towards becoming an elite team. This includes their lack of a frontrunner which has eluded them all season. They will need their pack in the low 19’s much like they did at Conference Indiana in order to have a shot at qualifying for their 8th State Meet.
#19 Fishers – Fishers, like Franklin Central is yet to establish the necessary front-runners, though at times, they have flashed potential from multiple athletes to be just that. Fishers is on the bubble and with a good performance, could very well grab the 6th spot.
#21 Noblesville – Noblesville just never put it together this season. At times, Senior Abby Crouch looked like she could be the front runner the Millers needed, but ultimately, the depth just wasn’t there. It will take a monumental effort in order for the team to knock off two of the above teams to make it to Terre Haute.
UNR. – Oldenburg Academy – All season, Oldenburg looked like the Cinderella story bound to disappoint due to their lacking #5 runner. What most didn’t know however, was that Senior Kirsten Ricke spent most of the season watching from the sidelines. Ricke, an accomplished 300m hurdler returned late in the season and gave Oldenburg another solid piece and lit a fire that could carry them to their first ever State Meet appearance.
Longshot (but possible):
UNR. Center Grove – The Trojans looked really strong at the Regional, with strong races from all of their top 5. If Center Grove can continue that trend and get a monster performance from phenom freshman Valerie Clark, who was highly accomplished heading into high school, it could just happen.
With the new qualifying rules for individuals, it makes things a lot more confusing while the race is going on. Ultimately though, the rule with vastly benefit athletes from the Carmel Semi State as teams like Carmel will no longer eat up the majority of the auto-qualifying spots.
Malyka Abramson (Avon) and Kelcy Welch (Carmel) – The matchup will be an exciting one for multiple reasons. For one, these two will race for the first time this season. Abramson enters Saturday as the defending Semi-State Champion as well as having been unbeaten throughout this season. Welch, meanwhile, had a late start to the season as many (myself included) questioned whether she would get back to full strength by this point. Since her return at the Eagle Classic, she has run lights out, only losing to Mackenzie Caldwell and put on a show last weekend at the Regional, running 18:01 on a course that was running over 20 seconds slow on that day. This race has the makings of a knock-down drag out fight.
Others to Watch For:
Sarah Billingsley (Oldenburg) – Billingsley has had a solid, not jaw-dropping season thus far. She has a history, however, of coming on late and running with a lot of guts. The talent is there to run with or near the front two. Don’t be surprised to see her as the only one who could go with the front two when they make their moves.
Rachel Nichwitz (Hamilton Southeastern) – Nichwitz has all the talent and ability to grab a top spot at the Semi-State. She has been extremely consistent since making her name known early on as a freshman. She has shown flashes this season of the capability it will take to win this meet, however, it’s unlikely she will grab the #1 stick for the Royals.
1. Carmel – 47
2. Avon – 85
3. Hamilton Southeastern – 101
4. Zionsville – 122
5. Westfield – 145
6. Fishers – 211
7. Franklin Central – 212
8. Oldenburg Academy – 235
9. Noblesville – 256
10. Center Grove – 270
Ultimately, I think Fishers has the “clutch” gene needed to grab the sixth spot, although it could be by the closest of margins. As much as we want to pull for the underdog story and see Oldenburg shock the State, I’m not sure their supporting cast #2 and #3 are quite good enough. In order to pull it off, they will need to run neck and neck with FC and Fishers mid-pack.
Individual Qualifying Predictions:
1. Rachel Billingsley – Oldenburg Academy
2. Alexandra Dalton – Greenwood
3. Katherine Free – Cathedral
4. Samantha Woodford – Plainfield
5. Kieran Casey – Perry Meridian
6. Brooke Talhelm – Franklin Central
7. Hope Jones – Warren Central
8. Delaney Bucker – Southport
9. Valerie Clark – Center Grove
10. Megan Hoover – North Decatur