September 20th, 2012 – Meet of the Week – Culver Invitational
September 22nd, 2012
By: Drake Sterling
This year will mark the 31st annual Culver Academy Invitational. The meet, which features over 4,000 athletes, is one of the biggest, if not the bigg
est in the state. One of the particularly exciting features is the presence from out-of-state schools. This year’s meet will host 12 schools from other states including Michigan, Illinois, and Ohio.
One factor to keep an eye on for fans and coaches is the weather. The current weather forecast gives a 40% chance of rain both Friday night and Saturday morning. In many previous years, rain has severely affected the races. The Culver Academy course, which is situated on the beautiful Lake Maxinkuckee, doesn’t hold water well. In the past, the course has even been the site of standing water on race day. For a reminder to those who weren’t at last year’s meet, here’s a picture of Brebeuf’s Zack Snider dominating the Frosh/Soph race, after losing a shoe because of the conditions early in the race.
8:50 AM EDT National Anthem
9:00 AM Girls Middle School Race (3,000 m – unlimited entry)
9:20 AM Boys Middle School Race (3,000 m – unlimited entry)
9:40 AM Boys Frosh-Soph Race (5,000 m – enter 7 runners maximum)
10:10 AM Girls Varsity Closed (5,000 m – enter 7 runners maximum)
10:40 AM Girls Varsity Open (5,000 m – enter 7 runners maximum)
11:10 AM Boys Varsity Closed Race (5,000 m – enter 7 runners maximum)
11:35 AM Boys Varsity Open Race (5,000 m – enter 7 runners maximum)
12:00 AM Girls Reserve Race (5,000 m – unlimited entry)
12:35 PM Boys Reserve Race (5,000 m – unlimited entry)
1:05 PM AWARDS PRESENTATION (NEAR FINISH LINE)
Teams Competing and Lane Assignments:
1, Brown County
6, North Miami
7, North Judson
8, Fort Wayne Wayne
9, South Bend St. Joseph
13, South Central
14, University School
18, New Prairie
19, Indianapolis Bishop Chatard
21, Culver Academies
24, Lafayette Central Catholic
26, John Glenn
27, Carroll (Flora)
28, Mishawaka Marian
29, Cranbrook/Kingswood (MI)
30, Illiana Christian (IL)
31, Culver Community
32, LaLumiere Academy
33, Twin Lakes
36, Eastern (Greentown)
38, West Lafayette
39, Scecina Memorial
41, Hamilton Heights
43, Hanover Central
44, Indianapolis Brebeuf Jesuit “B”
1, Indianapolis Pike
2, Indianapolis North Central
5, St. Xavier (Ohio)
6, Sycamore (Ohio)
12, Sylvania Northview (Ohio)
13, Lake Central
15, Colerain (OH)
16, Downers Grove South (Ill.)
17, Warren Central
18, Crown Point
19, Tippecanoe (Ohio)
21, Indianapolis Brebeuf Jesuit
22, Lawrence Central
25, Lyons Township (Ill.)
26, Columbus North
27, Michigan City
28, South Bend Washington
30, South Bend Clay
32, Milford (Mich)
33, Morgan Township
34, Naperville Central (IL)
35, Fort Wayne Snider
36, Fort Wayne Concordia Lutheran
37, Bloomington North
38, Floyd Central
41, Mason (Ohio)
Teams to Watch:
West Lafayette is the team to beat as Fort Wayne Concordia has moved up to the “Open” race. It will be interesting though to see how they split up their very young team between this race and the frosh/soph race. It appears that Brebeuf will be splitting their team up as usual between the Frosh/Soph and Closed race. They will likely still field a very good team. The spoiler of the field could be Illiana Christian from Lansing, IL. They boast a young team capable of putting their top 5 under 17 minutes.
#8 Columbus North
#11 Lawrence Central
#13 Brebeuf (Spl)
#16 North Central
#18 Crown Point
#21 FW Concordia
HM. Floyd Central
HM. Lake Central
Out of State Teams:
St. Xavier (OH)
Sylvania Northview (OH)
Lyons Township (IL)
Naperville Central (IL)
As you can see, the race features 12 top 25 ranked teams from Indiana as well as 7 “Honorable Mention” teams just on the outside of being ranked. Of the out of state teams we will mention, each of the seven would likely be ranked if they were in Indiana.
First, the out of state teams…
The best of the bunch is St. Xavier who are ranked #1 in Ohio. Think of them as a team very similar to Carroll (FW), with two to three sub 16:00 minute runners and a couple more between there and 16:20.
Not far behind, Lyons Township (IL) is another team that will be competing for the overall win. They are very similar to a Valparaiso or Carroll (FW) in that they boast two sub 16:00 runners and 3 more just over that mark.
Naperville Central, who is ranked #43 in Illinois, is best described as a slightly less talented version of Lawrence North. They will have one (possibly two) scare the 16:00 minute mark and have a very good 1-4 gap. Their #5 runner should be under 17:00 as well.
Next, Mason (OH) is currently ranked #11 in Ohio. To compare Mason to an Indiana team, you might mention them with the likes of Lawrence North. In fact, they even beat LN at their home Invite just two weeks ago by only six points. The team doesn’t boast a front runner capable of being Indiana All-State quality but have a pack between 16:00 and 16:50.
Tippecanoe, who is ranked #20 in Ohio, is a team led by the #1 individual in the state, Sam Wharton. Tippecanoe should have 3 runners at 16:30 or under (with Wharton up front) as well as two more trying to dip under 17:00.
Sycamore and Sylvania Northview are ranked #37 and #43 respectively in Ohio. They are very similar to Avon. Neither has a true front runner and will likely have their 4/5 over 17:00
And for the teams we know…
#1 Carmel – As always, Carmel comes into the Culver Invitational with a blazing fast resume by way of the Trinity/Valkerie (KY) Invitational. Last year at this meet, Carmel shocked the state, beating then #1 Columbus North and handing them their first loss in over 2 years. As we know, Carmel is very deep, so deep infact, that they can probably put Ben Veatch in the Frosh/Soph race and not miss a beat. The one thing that we haven’t yet seen from the Greyhounds is a true number 1 runner stepping up. In order to secure a victory, it would certainly help if they could put an individual in the top 5 places.
#3 Valparaiso – A lot of talk this week on the Indiana Runner message board surrounded the possibility of whether or not #3 Valparaiso or #2 Carroll (FW) could beat Carmel. This will be the Vikings chance to play spoiler. Ari Coulopoulos had a great race on Tuesday, coming back to form a little and scaring the 16:00 barrier. He will be the key to not only running with Carmel, but also representing Indiana well and holding off the charging Lyons (IL) and St. Xavier (OH). It will be a dog fight for the top four positions overall.
#5 Westfield – The Shamrocks strong point and best chance to beating the top 2 out of state teams is to put Colin Rinne and Kyle DuVall as far up front as possible. If their 3-5 runners take care of things like they have been, they have a chance to break into the top 4.
#6 Warsaw – Warsaw is begging for a strong performance from their #5 runner. If they could get him closer to Westfield’s 5, they would most likely be named among the elite such as Valparaiso and the out of state teams.
#8 Columbus North and #9 Northridge – Here are two teams that are on fire. Columbus North got sick of being forgotten about and ran a great race last weekend at FlashRock. They also have a hidden card still in Kaden Eaton who went out hard in the JV race last week and struggled late. The experience should help him “race-shock” his way back into their top 5 before long. Northridge meanwhile has made some amazing improvements the last two weeks, nearly knocking off #6 Warsaw at New Prairie. Their 4/5 combo continues to improve and are in a very good position.
#11 Lawrence Central – Scary team here… Just looking at the team score at FlashRock would be doing the Bears a disservice. Usual #4 runner and 800 meter standout, Adam Turner did not compete last week. Their lack of depth at 6/7 hurt them bad but if you factor him back in at a reasonable 16:30, they beat Westfield last weekend. Check out who’s on the starting line and keep an eye on the team in maroon.
#13 Brebeuf – Team will likely be split and it would be hard to predict who will run for them.
#16 North Central – Back in the picture after a breakout performance at FlashRock.
#17 Homestead – Improved greatly last weekend at FlashRock. Will Brayden Law run in the Frosh/Soph race?
#18 Crown Point – If Cierniak/Ray/Walters run like they are capable of (think 16:00), the Bulldogs are a SCARY team.
#21 FW Concordia – Only one thing can help a sub-par #5, when your top guy finishing with the top stick….?
#25 McCutcheon – Taking the right steps after coming back from early season sickness.
Munster, Chesterton, Lake Central, LaPorte, Portage – Chesterton will be head-hunting after dropping out of the top 25 hard at New Prairie. The other region teams which have been off and on all season are anyone’s guess.
Closed Race (In no order):
Leopoldo Burguete – Sr. – Culver
Nick Arndt – Sr. – New Prairie
Matt Grider – Jr. – Western
Craig Schildmeier – So. – Hamilton Heights
Caleb Augustus – Sr. – Northfield
West Lafayette’s top 3
If he runs the closed race rather than the Frosh/Soph race, Craig Schildmeier should be the favorite to win it all. Nick Arndt, though, is a runner ready for a big breakout and has a lot of big race experience on his side. He sometimes likes to move up to bigger divisions though. Matt Grider is a wildcard if he races. Grider hasn’t shown the talent we saw last track season, after running 9:24 for 3200. One would imagine that Burguete will be excited to try to defend his home course.
Open Race (In no order):
Sam Wharton – Sr. – Tippecanoe (IL)
Zach Panning – Jr. – FW Concordia
Peyton Reed – Sr. – Valparaiso
Matt Dorsey – Sr. – Lawrence Central
Cole Hester – Sr. – Lawrence Central
Colin Rinne – Sr. – Westfield
Kyle DuVall – Sr. – Westfield
Jacob Poyner – Sr. – Warsaw
Ellis Coon – Jr. – Warsaw
Blake O’Dell – Jr. – Northridge
James Huffman – Jr. – North Central
Karson Tays – Sr. – Columbus North
Alec Kostelnik – Sr. – Morgan Township
Carmel’s top athletes…
Zack Snider – So. – Brebeuf (if he runs)
Mike Matusiak – Sr. – Lyons (IL)
Ryan Speir – Sr. – Lyons (IL)
Sammy Tebeje – Sr – Pike
Ari Coulopoulos – Jr. – Valparaiso
Taylor Bisacchi – Sr. – Valparaiso
The Indiana kids will be gunning for Sam Wharton who would be considered by most the favorite to win. He is the number 1 ranked individual from Ohio and has gone 15:15 already this year.
Can Zach Panning now be considered a contender for an Indiana State Championship? His 15 minute and 27 second domination of the AA section of the New Prairie screams, “Yes!” I, for one, can’t wait to see how he will match up against the good competition.
Colin Rinne, Cole Hester, and Matt Dorsey are all coming off excellent performances at FlashRock. Rinne has been especially impressive this season, taking over front running duties for Westfield.
Jacob Poyner had a huge win in the New Prairie AAA race. He beat some big names en route to a 15:35 personal best. Expect him to fight for the win as well.
Another out of state individual to watch is Lyon’s Mike Matusiak. To convert his 15:01 3 mile time from his September 1st home invitational, you might expect him to be in the 15:30 to 15:40 range.
You just can’t leave someone like Alec Kostelnik out of the conversation for at least contention for the win. Although he didn’t give Grant Nykaza the battle some had hoped for, he did finish a safe second last week in the New Prairie A Race.
Beyond those individuals, it is anybodies guess for the last of the top 10 finishes. Remember though, this time last year, Valparaiso’s Ari Coulopoulos made it a man’s race in Culver, Indiana and had a breakthrough performance. Could we see that magic from him again on Saturday?
Make Your Own Predictions (Indiana Runner thead):
Last Year’s Top Returners:
5 975 Caleb Augustus (11) Northfield 16:30.3 5:19
6 417 Leopoldo Burguete (11) Culver Military Academy 16:37.2 5:21
8 593 Craig Schildmeier (9) Hamilton Heights 16:46.6 5:24
9 1401 Matt Grider (10) Western 16:51.6 5:25
11 139 Alden Westcott (11) Brown County 16:55.4 5:27
13 60 Jake Dennie (11) Brebeuf Jesuit 16:57.2 5:27
14 140 Cody Whipker (10) Brown County 17:06.0 5:30
16 759 Matthew Fahs-Brown (9) Manchester 17:08.9 5:31
17 521 Nate Miller (10) Fairfield 17:11.2 5:32
19 1369 Adam Doll (10) Wawasee 17:15.9 5:33
Full 2011 Results:
By Colin Altevogt
Open division (Indiana schools): Bloomington North, Brebeuf, #1 Carmel, #19 Chesterton, #5 Columbus North, Crown Point, #6 Eastern (Greentown), Floyd Central, #13 FW Concordia, FW Snider, Kokomo, #21 Lake Central, LaPorte, Lawrence Central, Lawrence North, Logansport, McCutcheon, Michigan City, Mishawaka, Munster, #22 New Prairie, #20 North Central (Indy), #10 Northridge, Pike, Portage, SB Clay, #8 Terre Haute North, #14 Valparaiso, Warren Central, #15 Warsaw, #2 West Lafayette
Calling this the regular season meet of the year may not go far enough. With four of the top six teams and more than half of the top 25, the Culver Invitational is by far the most prestigious of any. This year features the odds-on state favorite, the team desperately trying to track them down and a handful of other podium contenders.
And the individual battle? Just ten of the 14 best times this season, including two of the three fastest girls in Indiana history.
TEAMS TO WATCH
The ‘Hounds were more than lights out in Kentucky last weekend, putting five girls under 18:30 and vaulting as high as second in some national rankings. Just when Carmel had looked vulnerable, they again appear untouchable. This weekend could cement that.
#2 West Lafayette
The Red Devils have been spectacular all year and were dominant at New Prairie, albeit from a different race. West Lafayette appears to be the only other team capable of putting all five scorers under 19 minutes, led by frontrunner Bobbie Burgess.
#5 Columbus North
Despite a somewhat slow start, the Bull Dogs have looked better each week. North could have its depth issues exploited at a meet of this size, but it may also be a chance for the younger runners to run their best races yet.
#6 Eastern (Greentown)
The Comets won the big school race pretty handily over a ranked field last week at New Prairie. The emergence of freshman Carly Jones, the team’s third runner at New Prairie, gives Eastern enough depth to be very competitive on the state level. This should be the Comets’ biggest test until the state meet.
#8 Terre Haute North
The Patriots have appeared to go a little backwards since upending Columbus North at an early season meet. This weekend could get them back on track, especially since frontrunner Chanli Mundy is the defending champion.
#13 FW Concordia
The Cadets ran times that would have finished third in the big school race at New Prairie last weekend. Concordia typically has begun to run well around this time, including when the squad ascended the state meet podium last season.
The Vikings were unranked last week but used good depth to upend five ranked teams at New Prairie. Usually, Valpo does not have many results early on but tends to rise through the rankings in late September.
The Tigers have the ultimate trump card in Ashley Erba and could be scoring four runners in every meet. As the meets grow larger, that single point could become more and more valuable, especially with a great second runner in senior Sarah Ray.
INDIVIDUALS TO WATCH
Bobbie Burgess, West Lafayette
Burgess was a runaway winner in the medium school race at New Prairie, though her time was nearly a minute behind the victor in the big school race an hour later. With the exception of a couple duals against Avon’s Malyka Abramson, this will be Burgess’ first big look at girls under 18 minutes.
Mackenzie Caldwell, Columbus North
Caldwell was just short in a stride-for-stride battle with the aforementioned Abramson last week at FlashRock. She figures to be among the best when it matters most.
Ashley Erba, Warsaw
Erba was dethroned, perhaps temporarily, last week at New Prairie. Still, her 17:25 was a cross country PR and one of Indiana’s fastest times ever.
Bethany Neeley, Eastern (Greentown)
Neeley was a distant fourth at New Prairie last week in the big school race but should still factor into the individual battle here and throughout October. She is the defending 1600 meter champion from the spring.
Anna Rohrer, Mishawaka
Rohrer set an all-time Indiana 5k girls cross country record last week at New Prairie. Does she have staying power? Is she the new queen bee?