Switching from volleyball to cross country this fall, Brownstown Central junior Olivia Goecker didn’t know what to expect.
One thing’s for sure though, she said she never thought she would be leading her team in every meet to begin the season.
She continued that streak at Tuesday’s Scottsburg Invitational at Hardy Lake, placing seventh in 23:54, and four of her teammates placed in the top 25, helping the Braves win the meet with 52 points.
“It’s been a change,” Goecker said. “A lot is different with (cross country), and I just came out and wasn’t expecting to do any good. It’s a little more laid back ... Personally, it pushes you harder because you know it’s all up to you to know how it turns out (for your team).”
The Brownstown boys and girls ran in a quad meet last Tuesday at Hardy Lake, and Goecker said, “I did better today, so it was an improvement for me. It helped me know where I needed to push, and it was also easier the second time. It felt good. I thought we had a good day. It turned out to be a good day.”
Brownstown was one of four Jackson County schools running in the meet. Seven teams scored in the girls meet, and Trinity Lutheran was sixth with 114 points, Crothersville was seventh with 190 and Medora only had two runners. Salem’s Sydney Calhoun won with a time of 21:00.
Bedford North Lawrence easily won the 14-team boys meet with 27 points. Brownstown was third with 132, Trinity was 11th with 261, Crothersville was 14th with 360 and Medora only had four boys. BNL’s Arthur Cross-Najafi had a winning time of 17:07.
Compared to last Tuesday, Brownstown girls coach Maria Weigel said Goecker, Brielle Schumpe and Miriah Lasher improved their times.
“We’ve been working pretty hard in practice, and they’ve been training hard together,” Weigel said. “I know they complain when we do intervals and track workouts, but it makes them better in the long run. I think once they start feeling the pace, it’s really going to help out.”
Trinity went from winning last year’s meet to placing sixth. Erika Horton (20th) and Danielle Shelley (25th) received ribbons for finishing in the top 25.
“I think the highlight of our day was I had Erika, Danielle and Brittaney (VonDielingen) 37 seconds apart,” Cougars coach Andy Royalty said. “(Ally) Posey had a little bit of a down day, and I don’t know what was going on. The encouraging thing is she’s usually right in that pack, so if we can continue to get those four girls (in a pack), I think it’s really going to help us place better in meets...I was a little disappointed with the times, but I’m happy with our positioning collectively as a team. We’ve got to start fine-tuning those times.”
Foreign exchange student Lea Grissmer led Crothersville, placing 36th.
“I thought all the girls did a good job,” Tigers coach Carl Bowman said. “This is a tough course, and for those girls to look like they still had something left at the end I think was pretty good. Time-wise was kind of high, and 31 was about the average for our girls. On a course like this, I don’t think that was bad.”
Jadelyn Dean was Medora’s top runner, finishing in 26:07. Her sister, Justice Dean, had a season-best time of 27:03, coach Andrew Evertts said.
Brownstown’s Ryan Franklin was the first county boy across the finish line, placing 12th in 18:26. Ryan Swartwood was next for the Braves, and he earned a ribbon with a 22nd-place finish.
“Ryan Franklin ran really well for this course, and (Tyler) McKay of the JV did well. Everybody else with the weather conditions ran OK,” Braves coach Otha Smith said. “The humidity was a lot worse (compared to last Tuesday), but Ryan was better by 20 seconds or so. Everybody else was behind a little bit.”
Trinity’s Luke Onken was the next county finisher, placing 31st with a personal-record time of 19:58. Grayson Mellencamp (43rd in 20:48) and Daniel Horton (62nd in 22:18) also had PRs.
“Daniel dropped over two minutes off of his time on his PR, and Grayson dropped almost a minute and a half,” Cougars coach Matt VonDielingen said. “When you’ve got boys in the heat and hills PRing, you’ve got to be happy with that. We’ve been working really hard on pacing the last few practices, and I think it’s starting to pay off. Some of them were going out a little too hard, and some of them weren’t going out hard enough, and we are just trying to keep that steady, hard pace throughout the race. I think that’s made a difference in how they finish.”
Caleb Minton was Crothersville’s top finisher, placing 46th in the 20:40 to 20:50 range after recently running 21 and 22 minutes.
“This is his fourth time running over here, and today is the best run he’s had over here,” Bowman said. “I think it looked to us like he was in the thick of things until they got right here (near the finish line), and they started collapsing (on him). He said nobody passed him during the entire race, so we’re thinking if he could have gotten out just a little bit better when that collapse came that he would pushed through and (placed) better.”
Medora was without its top runner because of an injury. First-year runner Bailey Pfeiffer led the way, finishing in 24:24.
“Bailey’s time was good, about where he’s been,” Evertts said. “I know this course is a little bit tougher. We don’t run again until the 20th, so we’ve got to figure some things out, kind of get back to basics and have some hard practices between now and then.”
On Saturday, Trinity runs at Brown County and Brownstown runs at Jac-Cen-Del, while Crothersville’s next meet is the Christian Academy Invitational on Sept. 11, and Medora’s next meet on Sept. 20 is at Paoli.
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