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September 24, 2018

CULVER — What a difference a week makes.

Or -- more to the point -- what a difference one runner can make.

La Porte senior Shelby Riehle ran her first race of the high school cross country season Saturday. And, perhaps lifted by the return of their teammate, La Porte’s girls claimed a surprise team title at the massive Culver Academies Invitational.

Running together as a pack, under the instructions of coach John Dearing, the Slicer girls circled around Riehle, surged to the front of the field, and stayed there on the way to victory in the Open division (large school) race.

“This is so huge for our psyche, it’s such a lift for our morale,” said Dearing. “It’s just huge.”

No, nobody saw it coming. A week earlier, La Porte finished a distant 17th place in the large school (Class AAA) race at New Prairie.

And, to tell the truth, previous results would suggest that the Slicers really weren’t headed anywhere this season.

But Saturday, all that turned around. Running against several of the same teams they faced at New Prairie, the Slicer girls placed four runners among the top 20 finishers and scored 74 points. Runner-up Indianapolis Bishop Chatard (86 points) was a dozen back.

Elkhart Central was third. New Prairie finished sixth and Michigan City 18th in a 19-team field.

“What can you say? I was beginning to worry if we would even get out of the sectional,” said Dearing. “Now I think we can raise our sights a little bit.”

La Porte won even though the team’s No. 1 runner, Ariana Steele, sat out due to injury.

Rachel Gerick, a senior, led the Slicers with a fourth-place finish, clocking 20:33.3 on the 5,000-meter course beside Lake Maxinkuckee.

Riehle was seventh, notching a 20:42.3 in her first race back. Sierra Beach was 10th in 20:54.8.

Riley Tuerff (20th) and Rylee Stephany (36th) brought the Slicers home, with the front five arriving in just over a minute apart.

“We told the girls to run as a pack today and it worked,” said Dearing. “Our 4-5-6 runners are getting closer to that lead group, so I think we’ll do it again.”

Speaking of victory celebrations, New Prairie joined in the act by winning the boys Open division.

Unlike the girls result, New Prairie’s victory in the boys race wasn’t really a surprise, unless you consider the margin of victory. The Cougars scored 57 points to win by 44 points over Elkhart Central (101).

La Porte was 11th and Michigan City 16th in the boys open field.

“I think there’s more to come,” said Cougars coach John Arndt. “Now that the weather has turned, I think the kids will get encouraged by their times and you’ll see some real improvements over the next few weeks.”

Jacob Corbett led the Cougars with a second-place finish, clocking 16:45.9. He ran most of the race side-by-side with junior teammate Tim O’Laughlin, who ended up sixth (16:55.5).

Close behind, another Cougar duo – Brandon Corbett and Jarrod Michael – stuck tightly together as well. Brandon Corbett closed to 14th in 17:23.1; Jarrod was 15th in 17:25.2.

“We have pairs who roll together,” said Arndt. “That’s not really our strategy, but it works out that way. They push each other along.”

Next Saturday, New Prairie’s boys have an outside shot to win their first-ever Northern Indiana Conference championship at OxBow Park, near Elkhart. Arndt is mindful of that, but he sees the big picture still a month down the road.

“I don’t think it’s about now and next week, it’s about now and a month from now,” said Arndt. “Our vision is focused on how we run at the semistate in October.”

In the boys Closed (small school) division, South Central finished 15th, Marquette was 17th and John Glenn 21st in a 22-team field.

Marquette’s Jake Tarnow had a nice race, claiming eighth in 17:24.0. South Central’s Trent Olling was 18th in 17:47.1.

The girls Closed division saw South Central finish 14th in the team standings, with Adelaide Young-Brust clocking 20:10.9 to finish ninth for the Satellites.

Marquette didn’t field a full team, as the Blazers’ Rory Neary finished 80th in 24:21.4.

In a special race for elite athletes, Michigan City junior Damian Albisu – running as an individual – clocked 16:44.6 to finish 36th.

Rodrigo Serrano led the Wolves with a 57th-place effort in the Open division, clocking 18:22.2.

Sam Bell, a sophomore, was La Porte’s leader in the boys Open, placing 28th in 17:45.8.

CULVER ACADEMIES

CROSS COUNTRY INVITATIONAL

At Culver, Ind.

BOYS OPEN (Large School)

TEAM SCORES: New Prairie 57, Elkhart Central 101, NorthWood 150, Indianapolis Bishop Chatard 166, Plymouth 168, Kankakee Valley 184, South Bend Saint Joseph 197, Culver Academies 210, Frankfort 213, Hanover Central 226, La Porte 239, Brown County 254, Logansport 277, Twin Lakes 409, Northwestern 434, Michigan City 446, Mishawaka Marian 469, Kokomo 511.

TOP 20 FINISHERS: 1, Nathan Dibley (Elkhart Central) 16:35.0. 2, Jacob Corbett (New Prairie) 16:45.9. 3, Hugo Hernandez (Frankfort) 16:48.0. 4, Bill Powers (SB Saint Joseph) 16:50.4. 5, Enrique Salazar (Plymouth) 16:55.4. 6, Tim O’Laughlin (New Prairie) 16:55.5. 7, Ethan Clapacs (Chatard) 17:04.3. 8, Marino Dolph (Brown Co.) 17:06.8. 9, Elias Soto (Elkhart Central) 17:07.1. 10, Tyler Evers (NorthWood) 17:10.0. 11, Jackson McPheeters (Brown Co.) 17:16.2. 12, Ethan Tillema (Kankakee Valley) 17:18.4. 13, Cameron Sheehy (Kankakee Valley) 17:18.7. 14, Brandon Corbett (New Prairie) 17:23.1. 15, Jarrod Michael (New Prairie) 17:25.2. 16, Jacob Scott (Twin Lakes) 17:33.2. 17, Joe Chandler (Culver Academies) 17:35.3. 18, Christian Dawson (Logansport) 17:36.6. 19, Brady Hissong (Plymouth) 17:37.8. 20, Quinn Beall (New Prairie) 17:39.9.

GIRLS OPEN (Large School)

TEAM SCORES: La Porte 74, Indianapolis Bishop Chatard 86, Elkhart Central 114, Western 123, Fort Wayne Northrop 152, New Prairie 187, Rochester 220, Kankakee Valley 234, Hanover Central 246, Fort Wayne Snider 250, South Bend Saint Joseph 322, South Bend Clay 332, Logansport 341, Northwestern 341, Plymouth 344, Frankfort 363, Lafayette Jeff 459, Michigan City 510, Kokomo 518.

TOP 20 FINISHERS: 1, Lauren Dibley (Elkhart Central) 19:05.9. 2, Mary Bea Sowinski (Chatard) 19:59.5. 3, Alex Gantz (Chatard) 20:23.3. 4, Rachel Gerick (La Porte) 20:33.3. 5, Natalie Nicholson (Western) 20:40.8. 6, Summer Silvers-Barone (Fort Wayne Northrop) 20:42.1. 7, Shelby Riehle (La Porte) 20:42.3. 8, Emelia Koester (Brown Co.) 20:42.8. 9, Sarah Rohr (Rochester) 20:50.7. 10, Sierra Beach (La Porte) 20:54.8. 11, Emmaline Shoemaker (FW Snider) 21:03.4. 12, Madeline Kartz (Hanover Central) 21:04.6. 13, Casey Lechner (Northwestern) 21:06.0. 14, Brenda Olvera (FW Northrop) 21:07.8. 15, Hannah Lushin (Western) 21:09.1. 16, Irie Roll (Elkhart Central) 21:09.5. 17, Samantha Martin (Kankakee Valley) 21:12.0. 18, Olivia Lushin (Western) 21:13.0. 19, Megan Cooper (South Bend Clay) 21:13.1. 20, Riley Tuerff (La Porte) 21:13.8.

BOYS CLOSED (Small school)

TEAM SCORES: Indianapolis Cardinal Ritter 92, Illiana Christian 123, Washington Township 134, South Adams 179, Covenant Christian 181, Manchester 2019, Kouts 235, Caston 241, Victory Christian Academy 259, Winamac 269, Eastern (Greentown) 298, Northfield 326, Rensselaer Central 340, Triton 348, South Central (La Porte) 359, Fort Wayne Wayne 366, Michigan City Marquette 404, Lafayette Central Catholic 406, Fairfield 443, Carroll (Flora) 465, John Glenn 490, Argos 582.

TOP 20 FINISHERS: 1, Paul Stamm (Indianapolis Ritter) 16:20.0. 2, Carson Bakker (Covenant Christian) 16:46.6. 3, Kohler Peterson (Covenant Christian) 17:11.6. 4, Bryan Hernandez-Rios (Caston) 17:18.3. 5, Peter Sperry (Indianapolis Ritter) 17:20.5. 6, Tyler Hachey (Washington Twp) 17:20.8. 7, Austin Kendrick (North Judson) 17:21.3. 8, Jake Tarnow (MC Marquette) 17:24.0. 9, Samuel Martinez (South Adams) 17:27.2. 10, Sunjay Raman (Washington Twp.) 17:29.3. 11, Chase Jefferson (Kouts) 17:31.9. 12, Andrew Burns (Northfield) 17:34.3. 13, Micah Colvin (Caston) 17:37.7. 14, Caleb Perez (Illiana Chrtistian) 17:38.1. 15, Alec Smith (Carroll-Flora) 17:38.2. 16, Hayden Podlin (Illiana Christian) 17:39.4. 17, Mitch Jacob (Indianapolis Ritter) 17:39.7. 18, Trent Olling (South Central) 17:47.1. 19, Malique Tai (FW Wayne) 17:52.8. 20, Brayden Richmond (Eastern) 17:56.3.

GIRLS CLOSED (Small schools)

TEAM SCORES: Indianapolis Cardinal Ritter 52, Manchester 90, South Adams 109, Rensselaer Central 134, Lewis Cass 158, Fairfield 198, Winamac 202, Northfield 230, Illiana Christian 251, North Judson 263, Eastern (Greentown) 272, Caston 294, Kouts 307, South Central (LaPorte) 335, Carroll (Flora) 350, Washington Township 454, Pioneer 459.

TOP 20 FINISHERS: 1, Mary Anna Wehrle (Indianapolis Ritter) 18:52.5. 2, Mariah Wehrle (Indianapolis Ritter) 19:07.7. 3, Carol Haldeman (Fairfield) 19:36.6. 4, Kelsey Weuthrich (Rensselaer) 19:40.3. 5, Kailee Patch (South Adams) 19:46.5. 6, Amzie Maienbrook (Renssselaer) 19:51.6. 7, Alyssa McKillip (Northfield) 19:52.2. 8, Nicky Scher (North Miami) 20:02.1. 9, Adelaide Young-Brust (So Central) 20:10.9. 10, Makenna Leicht (Cass) 20:14.8. 11, Chloe Goodrich (Carroll) 20:19.5. 12, Hannah Wells (Indianapolis Ritter) 20:21.3. 13, Jenna Gruber (Indianapolis Ritter) 20:22.5. 14, Torina Runkel (Manchester) 20:24.9. 15, Kate Collins (Winamac) 20:36.9. 16, Kambree Cashdollar (Manchester) 20:43.0. 17, McKenzie Sturwold (South Adams) 20:53.7. 18, Alexis Sheets (Winamac) 20:55.3. 19, Katie Barker (Manchester) 21:01.7. 20, Holly Kuebler (Kouts) 21:03.9.

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