October 30th – Girls State Meet Preview
By: Colin Altevogt
IR Girls Coordinator
The Heavyweight Champion of the World
The Greyhounds are looking at a 97.7% chance of winning the state meet, per inccstats.com. This ranks as the team’s second lowest in the last five years, and that stat can mainly be attributed to the quality of the field this season. Carmel has perhaps its deepest and best team yet, with six runners ranked in the top 25 in Indiana.
Twins Haley and Kelsey Harris look likely to lead the ‘Hounds. Each has contributed to the past three state titles for Carmel. The team was admittedly a little disappointed with its semistate performance, but judging by results anything close to that this weekend will get the job done. Again.
Best case scenario: Carmel’s semistate meet was a good way to shake off some rust for its previously resting runners. The ‘Hounds have their best state meet ever, putting five scorers in the top 15 and two more in the top 25 for All-State honors. The Sisters Harris finish 2-3 behind Mishawaka’s Anna Rohrer with teammates Stacy Morozov and Maddie Dalton not far behind. A fifth runner closes the door before any other team gets in a second. Total domination.
Worst case scenario: A couple of poor semistate performances was just a prelude. The younger runners again struggle on the big stage, and the ‘Hounds are forced to count a couple of scorers back in the 50s. When the places are added up, Carmel finds itself in the unfamiliar position of having more points than another team.
…so You’re Telling Me There’s a Chance!?
Hyped in the preseason as the main challenger to Carmel, the Orioles have been solid all season. The great frontrunning duo of Taylor Nicholson and Malyka Abaramson gives Avon perhaps the best top two in Indiana. The depth has been good most of the season as well, with the Orioles holding the state’s second best number five runner. The 2.2% statistical chance afforded to Avon of winning the meet is basically a combination of a collapse from Carmel coupled with lifetime performances for most of the Orioles’ key athletes. It’s possible, but unlikely.
Best case scenario: Nicholson finishes second to Anna Rohrer, scoring just one point, and Abramson has her best state meet ever to finish an unexpected second in scoring. Senior team leader Courtney Kerr returns to midseason form to earn an individual medal. With good races from the supporting cast, Avon’s minimal score through two runners is enough to surpass a struggling Carmel.
Worst case scenario: State demons continue. Nicholson finishes in the top ten, but barely, and some of the Orioles go backward in the last mile. Avon scores a runner after 100th place overall and the Orioles struggle to hang onto a podium spot, repeating last season’s fifth place finish.
Potential Podium Placers
#5 Columbus North
The Bull Dogs have been consistently good since the return of All-Stater Sierra Lax. North was dominant through its rounds of the tournament in the South and held its own at the Culver Invitational, finishing within ten points of highly-ranked Carroll and Penn. With Lax and this year’s frontrunner Rachel Brougher, the Dogs have two potential All-Staters. Like many teams of the same caliber, North’s fate will be decided by the performance of their fourth and fifth runners.
Best case scenario: Lax has a breakout race and Brougher is able to tag along, both finishing in the top ten. An experienced group is unfazed by the state meet, and North gets the best fourth and fifth runners into the chute other than Carmel. The Dogs nip Avon for second place.
Worst case scenario: The Dogs struggle a little upfront with no one in the top 25. The fourth and fifth runners put forth a valiant effort but are too buried in the team scoring, and North finishes outside of the top five for the first time since 2008.
#3 Fort Wayne Carroll
The Chargers were great in the middle of the season, vaulting up to third in the rankings. Carroll has applied the strategy of rotating and resting key runners during the tournament, but Allison Thomas has not run since the sectional. If she races to usual form, the Chargers have four potential All-Staters. Without her, Carroll will need to score two runners pretty deep in the results.
Best case scenario: Thomas is able to run. The Chargers put two in the top ten and fourth in the top 25. A fifth runner finishes in the top 80 to even out the scoring. Carroll finishes third as a team.
Worst case scenario: Thomas doesn’t run. Carroll scores two runners over 100th place.
An underrated team coming into the season, the Lady Kingsmen have lived up to the hype that our committee (of one) gleefully perpetuated in the preseason. Penn has a great frontrunner in perennial All-Stater Maddie Woods, and the squad has less concerns about a fifth runner as some of the comparable teams. It seems highly unlikely that they can contend for the overall title, but almost equally unlikely that they will finish outside of the top five.
Best case scenario: Penn puts two in the top 20 and all five in the top 50. Avon struggles with its fifth runner, and Penn is able to close the door on them to steal second place in the team standings.
Worst case scenario: A poor race from a typical scorer forces Penn to count its usual sixth runner. The team still finishes fifth, earning medals.
#7 West Lafayette
A team once billed as a contender, the Red Devils struggled a little in a big invitational at Culver. That hurt the ranking at the start of the tournament, but West Lafayette has had a history of running its best race at the state finals. If that happens again, West Side is still a dangerous podium team.
Best case scenario: The Johnson sisters grab top ten finishes, and the Devils score less than ten points through their first two runners. Competing in a familiar environment and unintimidated by the spotlight, the rest of the team runs its best collective race of the fall. West Lafayette finishes fourth.
Worst case scenario: Injuries and time off add up. The Devils have two All-Staters but really struggle at three, four and five. The team finishes outside of the top ten.
Top Ten Types
#10 Bloomington South
The Panthers have performed well under new coach Sami Ginther. South has a good frontrunner in Alexis Lewandowski and a competitive pack of scorers following her. A finish between 8 and 12 seems likely.
#8 Floyd Central
The Highlanders are led by potential All-Stater Kassidy Manning. The rest of the team is spread out, which can sometimes hurt on a course like LaVerne Gibson. A top ten finish seems likely, though the depth is lacking to make a podium push.
#6 Hamilton Southeastern
The Royals, a year removed from finishing second as a team, have great frontrunning with Rachel Nichwitz and Courtney Pfanstiel, two likely All-Staters. With two low sticks, a top ten finish seems very likely, but the Royals will likely score one or even two athletes after 100th place. That is mathematically hard to overcome, regardless of how high up the number one runner finishes.
Without a true frontrunner or tight pack, the Raiders are a top ten longshot. Northridge ran very well in the regional and took a small step backward in the semistate, but still finished a comfortable 41 points ahead of seventh place to qualify.
#11 Pendleton Heights
The Arabians have frontrunning in returning Foot Locker finalist Alex Buck, who was fourth at the semistate. After a solid top three, Pendleton has some good candidates to score. A top ten finish definitely seems possible.
The Tigers are one of the best pack running teams in the state. Sophomore Allison Miller is a potential All-Stater, and the next four runners are pretty close together. A top ten finish seems probable.
#12 Warren Central
The surprise team of the season, led by Coach of the Year candidate Brian Miller, the Warriors qualified for their first state finals since 1988. A similar performance to the semistate could have Warren within shouting distance of the podium, but a finish between 7 and 11 seems most likely.
The Eagles are making a return trip and the second in as many years under coach Suzanne Rigg. Senior Sydney Myers is a potential All-Stater, but the Eagles lack depth to push some of the top five teams. A top ten finish is highly probable.
Happy to be Here
#17 FW Homestead
The Spartans have qualified for their third consecutive state finals. The young team has been consistent through the season.
The Vikings are in their seventh straight state meet. Huntington ran its best race of the season at the semistate to qualify.
#18 Indianapolis Cathedral
A surprise team from central Indiana, the Irish knocked off quite a few teams ranked higher in the last couple of weeks. The semistate was the best performance of the year for the Irish.
The Wildcats had their best meet of the year to qualify for the state finals. This is Jasper’s second consecutive trip to Terre Haute as a team.
#19 Lake Central
The Indians are a big pack running team. Lake Central has been better in the tournament than the regular season. This marks the eighth state meet trip in the last nine years for LC.
The Slicers are in their second straight state meet trip.
A constant on the state scene, the Indians have not qualified for nine of the last ten years. This year’s team has potential to be its best yet.
The Owls have had a surprising season, easily qualifying for the state finals and climbing into the low teens in the rankings at one point.
Terre Haute North
The Patriots ran their best race of the season at the semistate. North has made every state meet as a team since 2003.
The Vikings are back in the state meet as usual. Valpo has been competitive in the area all season.
4. Columbus North
5. FW Carroll
6. West Lafayette
8. Warren Central
10. Floyd Central
11. Hamilton Southeastern
12. Bloomington South
13. Pendleton Heights
15. Lake Central
22. Huntington North
24. Terre Haute North
Anna Rohrer, Mishawaka
Rohrer has run just three races this year, and may not have raced any all-out yet. She missed all of last season due to an injury and, presumably, began this year with one. Still, she was the Foot Locker national champion in 2012 and just seems too far ahead of the field for anyone to mount a serious challenge. It’s certainly possible, but highly unlikely that anyone will cross the finish line before she does.
Allie Dalton, Greenwood
Dalton has not broken 18 minutes yet this season. In fact, she doesn’t even hold the best time in her family, with that honor going to her cousin Maddie of Carmel. She was, however, the semistate champion in the deepest field of the four sites. Dalton has shown a knack for running extremely well in the state meet through her short high school career as well. She also holds two of the five best performances of this season, according to inccstats.com.
Taylor Nicholson, Avon
Nicholson typically employs the strategy of simply running away from the field, and that plan backfired on her last weekend when she was tracked down in the last mile. It will certainly be hard to execuve that same strategy successfully this weekend. Nicholson does hold the state’s second best time via her 17:53 at the Ben Davis Invitational in mid-September. As the 1600 state champion last spring, Nicholson seems to be the closest challenger to Rohrer, unlikely as it may be.
Presley Warren, Evansville Reitz Memorial
An unknown heading into the season, Warren is a member of the sub 18 club. She has typically run her races with a large lead and no real competition to her. This could be a breakout performance for her. The statistics are not as favorable to her, ranking Warren just tenth of all individuals. Perhaps we have yet to see what she is capable of this season, however.
Maddie Woods, Penn
Woods is typically great in the state meet and has faced great competition in each of her races this year. While she has not dipped under 18 minutes, her 18:00 at the New Prairie Invitational is considered the second best performance in the state this year.
Haley and Kelsey Harris, Carmel
The twins will be in their last races of their high school career and aiming for a fourth consecutive team title. A little magic is not out of the question.
1. Anna Rohrer, Mishawaka
2. Taylor Nicholson, Avon
3. Maddie Woods, Penn
4. Allie Dalton, Greenwood
5. Haley Harris, Carmel
6. Katherine Free, Cathedral
7. Lauren Johnson, West Lafayette
8. Presley Warren, Evansville Memorial
9. Malyka Abramson, Avon
10. Brooke Moore, Elkhart Memorial
11. Kelsey Harris, Carmel
12. Rachel Nichwitz, Hamilton Southeastern
13. Samantha Woodford, Plainfield
14. Rachel Brougher, Columbus North
15. Sierra Lax, Columbus North
16. Maddie Dalton, Carmel
17. Kristen Johnson, West Lafayette
18. Madison Fruchey, FW Carroll
19. Stacey Metzger, FW Carroll
20. Tyler Schwartz, DeKalb
21. Alex Buck, Pendleton Heights
22. Stacy Morozov, Carmel
23. Alli Workman, Bloomfield
24. Courtney Pfanstiel, Hamilton Southeastern
25. Anna Schmitz, Carmel