September 27th, 2012 – Boys Duneland Athletic Conference Preview
By: Justin Floyd
As we enter the conference championship portion of the cross country season, one meet holds a special place in my heart and is in the forefront of my mind. It is the Duneland Athletic Conference. Every year they run their
antiquated dual meets that hold some sort of importance towards the overall conference crown. If you asked me what any teams record was this season I would say that I don’t know nor do I care. It has long been known to me how many of the coaches felt about them but has been shown some more publicity due to an article published earlier this season. Chesterton runs in trainers, Crown Point seems to tempo them, while most teams will get some sort of workout in after these Tuesday meets. So really the only thing that is a good measuring stick of where these teams are at comes this Saturday.
The conference meet is what should determine the champion and in my mind whoever wins Saturday is the champion (don’t barrage me with mail as I know dual meets count for 2/3 while the Conference meet counts as 1/3). That being said it will be an interesting meet from top to bottom with story lines everywhere.
It won’t be too much of a battle for the top spot as Valparaiso is the class of the field and even on their most of off days has the best 1-7 and then some out of any team here. They should win and win easily. Led by the Reed brothers and Taylor Bissachi they can put 3 under 16 on a good day and the right course. However, on this day it will be tough as Lemon Lake is a course with a few significant hills and a lot of 90 degree turns.
Individuals: Peyton Reed, Taylor Bissachi, Landon Davison, Xavier Reed, Pat Dalton
On their home course they are sure to represent well. They have a formidable 1,2,3 punch led by Tom Cierniak who finally had a race (@Culver) that we have been waiting for since his breakout track season last spring. Daniel Walters and Alex Ray will not be far behind and should pick up all Conference honors to boot. Their 4 and 5 runners have really stepped up in the last 2 weeks which has helped them greatly. The void that once existed in their lineup has been filled by Langbehnr and Mosak.
Individuals: Tom Cierniak, Daniel Walters, Alex Ray
3-6 (LC, LaPorte, Chesterton, Portage)
This will be where the real drama comes in to play. All of these teams are legitimate contenders for a state berth later this fall and on any given day can beat one another as they have gone back and forth all season.
I dropped the ball on them in my last week of rankings as their freshman and sophomores ran well and would have scored for them at Culver. They have a good frontrunner in Kevin Kenney but their hopes of unseating Crown Point as the second team rely heavily on the performance of Andrew Kearney. Inconsistent at best, he can make or break their chances this weekend and the rest of the season. Never sleep on Chesterton.
Individuals: Kevin Kenney, Andrew Kearney
Sometimes I admittedly hold a bias in favor of Portage and those with knowledge may know that Coach Tom Erickson was once my coach. This evaluation of their team must be honest and forthright however as they have yet to be able to put together a post season worth remembering under his guidance. They have however built phenomenal depth and if Dustin Balboa and Anthony Best can run to their potential, Portage could surprise many this fall. With So many ifs and a young team behind them it is anyone’s guess what will happen. If they wish to have fond memories of this fall, it needs to start this weekend.
Individuals: Tylor Hudson, Anthony Best
In what many believe to be the last year for head Coach and friend of IndianaRunner.com Rudy Skorupa, he has the chance to surprise with a very young, but talented team. They are led by a mix of freshman and upperclassmen but lack the true front running threat. They have amazing depth but will need someone to step into the spotlight and mix it up with the front pack.
Individuals: Zach Bencur
They started out the season on fire but for some reason have taken steps in the opposite direction since. They are in need of Kevin Huckstead to step up and bring Dearing and Raymond with him. At this time they seem to be one step behind Chesterton, Portage, and LC but on this day anything can happen. They have the tools. They just need to put it together.
Individuals: Anthony Didion, Nate Gerick
7 & 8
They are still a young inexperienced team that will hope to have their top 3 under 17:30 with 4 and 5 as close to 18:00 as possible. Tyler Gray has progressed nicely this season and with a good race has a legitimate shot to earn All-conference honors. In order to have a successful day where they don’t occupy the cellar position they need Hill and Jones to run to their potential.
Individuals: Tyler Gray
Are not deep and do not have a front runner on their team. The best bet is for their pack to move up as far as possible and get their 5th runner away from 19 minutes. If they have a good race they could find themselves in 7th.
Individuals: AJ Miller
- Crown Point
- Lake Central
- Michigan City
- Anthony Didion – LaPorte
- Peyton Reed
- Taylor Bissacchi – Valpo
- Tom Cierniak – Crown Point
- Kevin Kenney – Chesterton
- Daniel Walters – Crown Point
- Xavier Reed – Valparaiso
- Nate Gerick – Laporte
- Pat Dalton – Valparaiso
- Anthony Best – Portage
- Alex Ray – Crown Point
- Tyler Gray – Merrillville