By Frank Bonner II
For The Tribune
Seymour runners Ashton Chase and Makenna Sunbury are no strangers to the cross-country state finals, but Saturday at Terre Haute was the first time they ran in the state meet without the entire team.
“I think there are positive and negatives,” Seymour coach Spencer Sunbury said. “I think on the negative side, they made comments yesterday that it was fun coming up here (last year) with all the girls being silly and goofy. On the flip side of that, their focus is solely on themselves.”
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Chase, who has ran in the state meet all three years of high school, finished in 19 minutes, 27.8 seconds for 5,000 meters (3.1 miles) at the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross-Country Course to place 94th. She got out at the start a lot better this year than she did in last year’s race.
Chase also found girls that she knew from previous races and stuck with them to help pace herself throughout the race. She enjoys herself every time she gets a chance to compete against the best in the state.
“This atmosphere is just amazing to be around,” Chase said. “All these people are so nice. My teammate is amazing. I just love being with her. It’s a great opportunity for me.”
Sophomore Makenna Sunbury also has competed in the state meet in both of her high school years. She ran a 20:01.3 to finish 139th.
Makenna Sunbury said she was much more comfortable her second time around then she was her freshman year.
“I knew the course now, and I knew what to expect when I got here and how the competition would be,” she said. “I handled it a lot better I think. I was less nervous.”
Both runners were pleased with their performances, but were already planning for next season immediately after the race. Their main goal for next year is to help get the entire team back to Terre Haute in 2018.
Greencastle’s Emma Wilson won the girls race in 17:45.9. Zionsville’s girls took the team title with 118 points, and Carmel won the boys state title with 94 points. Hamilton Southeastern’s Gabe Fendel won the boys race in 15:17.2.