September 18th – Boys FlashRock Invitational Preview
By: Justin Hays – New IR Staff Writer
Late September is here, and the big cross-country invitationals are finally upon us. Last weekend was a great start with the Eagle Classic, Ben Davis Invitational, and the All-Catholic Championship. We saw some great team battles, and some blazing fast performances as well.
This weekend the majority of the top 25 juggernauts are squaring off in Carmel for the FlashRock Invitational. This battle royale will pit some of the best teams in Indiana, and will be a huge measuring stick to see how strong some of these teams really are. This is as competitive of a meet that Hoosier running fans could hope for, as there are 14 of the top 25 ranked teams in this meet alone. The only way this could get any better would be throwing Carmel and West Lafayette in as well. This is a course that isn’t necessarily easy, but becomes swift because of the competitive field. Lookout Marion Invitational, this course could send many under 16 as well.
Championship Division: #7 Avon, Ben Davis, #8 Bloomington South, Brownsburg, #9 Carroll, #20 Cathedral, Center Grove, #2 Columbus North, #12 Fishers, Franklin Central, Franklin Community, #11 Hamilton SE, Huntington North, #15 Lawrence North, Jefferson, #19 Noblesville, North Central, North Harrison, Pike, #21 Ritter, #22 Terre Haute South, #25 Warren Central, #14 Westfield, #13 Zionsville
Invitational Division: Lawrence Central, Union County, Perry Meridian, Tri-West, Park Tudor, Covenant Christian, Shelbyville, Seymour, New Palestine, East Central, Danville, Ben Davis, Plainfield, Southport, Western Boone, Snider, Delta, Connersville, Frankfort, Beech Grove, Guerin, Columbus East, Scecina, Norwell, Greenwood
- Columbus North – Columbus North went a little unheralded at the beginning of the season somehow, but this past weekend they showed the state just how strong they are. The boards have been heavy with the Paavo debate, but there is no doubt that these guys can throw down. They always have big meet experience, and are led by Seth Williams who is in contention for the win.
- Avon – Avon is one of the hottest teams in the state. They had their top 2 under 16 while impressively clinching the Ben Davis Invitational title. This is even with Seniors Evan Snodgrass and Taylor Kleyn not available for major appearances so far because of soccer. There are rumors of Evan Snodgrass being injured, but with Taylor Kleyn able to run this weekend they should be even stronger. They will be a force to be reckoned with, and could possibly catch Columbus North slipping. They could have four runners sub 16 on a great day.
- Bloomington South– Bloomington South had a good day at the Eagle Classic, but it could’ve been better. They will look to rebound this weekend with a stronger 4/5 punch. Xavier Martinez has gotten faster every race this season, and look for him to set another PR this weekend. There will need to be a much smaller gap between Martinez and 5th man Peter Voskuil if Bloomington South wants to do damage this weekend and at State. If Voskuil can be closer to Martinez, these Panthers could be challenging for 2nd place. What helps them most is their 1-2 punch of Anthony Williams and Evan Franklin. Anthony Williams is a tough runner, who isn’t afraid to take the lead. Look for him to be in contention for the win, as well. Evan Franklin had a great day at the Eagle Classic, and should nab a top 10 spot.
- Carroll – Carroll is another tough team that could be a wildcard in this dogfight. They have one of the best 1-2 punches in the state with Clements and Schmeling. Clements is another top dog fighting for the win. They had all 7 under 17 minutes at Marion, but had too large of a gap between Schmeling and their number 3. They will have to close that gap to take down Bloomington South. If their top 5 could be under 16:40, anything could happen.
- Westfield – Sam Henthorn has emerged as a respectable front-runner for this young team while Alec Hartman has been out. Now that Hartman is back, they can form a steady 1-2 punch. This team also has Aaron Bennett not too far behind as a third man. I give them the upset ranking wise over HSE because of their strong 1-3. This entirely depends on whether their 4 and 5 runners can close the gap. If so, Westfield will be a team to not take lightly.
- Zionsville: Hopefully Rigg and Cash can regain their dynamic duo magic.
- HSE: Sraders is a strong front man, and hopefully their tight pack can move up far enough to do damage.
- Fishers: The story of the season has been “If they are healthy.” Maybe we will see that come to fruition this weekend.
- Lawrence North: Ethan Hoeft is one of the most talented runners in the state, and LN always has good depth. They could make some noise this weekend.
The Heavy Weight Contenders –
- Anthony Williams: As said earlier, Williams is tough. He also has a bad taste in his mouth from The Eagle Classic. His performance was venerable, but he wants to win. This is his due, and he pulls away from the impressive field with 300 to go.
- Cameron Clements: He has been talked about since his freshman year, but now he has truly emerged as a contender. He could be very well be crowned the winner, also.
- Seth Williams: The new leader of CN has solidified himself as a threat in every race he runs. Following the CN mold, he is powerful aerobically. He beat Anthony Williams at The Eagle Classic, and this is another round in their rivalry.
The Best of the Rest –
- Ethan Hoeft
- Jacob Schmeling
- Evan Franklin
- Hari Sathyamurthy (The number one rule of fight club is never talk about Hari Sathyamurthy, right?)
- Matt Sraders
- Patrick O’Neil
- Griffen Miller
- Chase Ballard
- Jordan Koczenasz
- Sam Henthorn
- Spencer Danielson
- Jona Odell
- Daniel Fleace
The invite race deserves some recognition as well. There are many formidable teams, and the individual battle should be tight. Schools such as Guerin, Lawrence Central, Greenwood, Columbus East, and Ben Davis will be battling to earn a spot in the Championship race next year. It remains to be seen what individuals will move into the championship race, but this should still be a packed battle. It has been said Roman Jennings is staying in the Invitational Race, and he is one of the heavy favorites for the crown. Paul Bean (Columbus East) is another challenger, and will have to battle it out with Samuel Voelz from New Palestine. In all likelihood Darin Lawrence will be moving into the championship race, but should he stay in the Invitational Race he will be looking for the title. This race may be overshadowed, but it is also a race worthy for attention.
This should be one of, if not the best, meets of the year as a whole. The Trinity meet should be stacked, but the pure Indiana dogfight doesn’t get much better than this. An exceptional day is required out of anyone who places in the top 10, and placing in the top 20 is honorable in its own right. A fantastic show is in store for anyone in attendance. Be sure to hit up the Boards to make your own predictions!