Running at the state championship meet has transitioned to the expectation for the Seymour girls cross-country team.
With their fifth place finish Saturday at the Brown County Semistate, with 168 points, the Owls punched a ticket to the grand finale for the third straight year.
Ashton Chase led the Owls’ flock with an eighth place finish of 177 runners in 18:46.
Story continues below gallery
Abby Voss placed 28th in 19:43, Makenna Sunbury claimed 31st at 19:45, Claire Loebker clocked 20:03 for 43rd and Brett Kleber ran an 21:33 for 107th.
“We ran solid,” Owls coach Spencer Sunbury said. “Claire Leobker, Abby Voss and Brett Kleber had personal bests. I wouldn’t have considered this a course to run a PR. They’ve been slowly coming into it this season.
“They put a lot of heart and effort out there today. That’s what we talked about all week. We knew it was going to be a tight, crowded course. We had to watch where we were position wise and not get stuck. It was a competitive, tough race.”
Owls junior Oriana Morales timed 21:52 and freshman Grace Rennekamp was 120th in 21:56.
“It’s nice to be at a point now where we kind of feel like it’s the expectation,” Sunbury said. “This season wasn’t going exactly according to plan early on. These girls put it together, and I would say over the past three or four weeks, I’ve been really impressed with the girls as a team. We worked hard as a team, reset our goals and maintained focus.”
Bloomington North finished atop the girls’ team standings — behind a first place finish by Grace Williams (18:34) — with 74 points followed by Bloomington South (92), Columbus North (106) and Floyd Central (115).
Evansville Reitz Memorial (205) took the final berth (sixth) in the 20-team field.
Brownstown Central amassed 459 points to finish 19th overall.
Sophomore Kaelyn Johnson was first for BC, finishing 80th in 20:51.
Shauna Drake (127th, 22:05), Kylee Wischmeier (132nd, 22:13), Alexis Koch (138th, 22:22), and Destiny Satterthwaite (150th, 22:51) completed the Braves’ scoring.
“Shauna Drake ran an outstanding race today and almost made the 21 minute club and Alexis Koch capped off a great four years with her best race of the season,” Braves coach Maria Conklin said.
BC’s Grace Garland was 155th in 23:08 and Emma Winks got 162nd in 23:35 at the No. 6 and No. 7 spots.
“(We) finished off a great season today,” Conklin said. “I’m proud of all their efforts throughout the season. Kaelyn Johnson once again ran a great race and I’m excited that she still has two more years of cross to keep improving.”
Crothersville senior Braenna Barger just missed the individual cut, taking 64th at 20:31.
The boys runners representing Jackson County faced a tall task on the day.
On top of the slew of ranked teams, there were a handful of very strong runners without full teams in the boys’ race — the top 10 individuals advancing to state by placing among the top 12 overall.
Terre Haute South was first with 78 points, followed by Tell City (87), Columbus North (127), Jennings County (173), Bloomington North (178) and Barr-Reeve (191).
Jennings County and Barr-Reeve both advanced as teams for the first time in program history.
Christian Academy of Indiana’s Skylar Stidam had the fastest time at 15:29.
Seymour combined to place 16th of 20, totaling 370 points by the day’s end.
Jacob Voss led the Owls by clocking 16:59 for 57th.
Next for SHS was Hunter Bauserman in 81st (17:11), Alex Lovins 96th (17:20), Cooper Morrow 136th (17:51) and Barry Huff 142nd (17:55).
Trent Hohenstreiter finished 147th in 18:03 while Luke Plummer timed 18:26 for 160th.
“I thought our effort was good, but we just didn’t run a smart enough race,” Owls coach Randy Fife said. “We wanted to get out a little stronger, earlier, and put ourselves in position to run some personal records. Our times weren’t horrible by any means — we had six guys under 18 (minutes) and that’s pretty solid.
When you look at the results, it wouldn’t have taken much more to be in the top-10. I showed the kids what top-5 runners ran on sixth, seventh and eighth place teams and they saw they could do that. It’s a very competitive field. When you’re off by five or 10 seconds on every runner, that adds up and pushes you back.”
Bauserman and Lovins will graduate from the Owls’ varsity lineup.
“Those two are there early every practice and stay late,” Fife said of the two seniors. “They are hard-workers, but low key guys that are respected. The kids know that those guys put in the miles. They’re great students academically. They love to run and are good role models.”
Trinity Lutheran sophomore AJ Goecker finished his season, individually, with a 17:03 for 66th overall.