The morning kicked off with the boys' championship division
race, where Gabe Fendel and Cole Hocker were more than prepared to square off
with each other for the first time this year. From the get-go, Fendel and
Hocker were stride for stride with each other. They slowly gapped the field as
they went through the course, leaving Quinn Gallagher behind a good 150 meters.
Throughout the rest of the race it seemed that the finish would be super close
with Fendel and Hocker the whole way. But things changed around the 3K area.
Gabe decided to get a gap between himself and Hocker, he sprinted for a little
bit to give himself now about a 75-meter lead over Cole Hocker. But Cole
quickly reacted to this and closed that gap back up. Not for long though, Gabe
continued to pick up the pace and Cole couldn't hang on and slowly faded back.
All of this was in just about 500 meters of the race. Just before 4K Gabe was officially
on his own and racing just the clock. As he turned the final curve onto the
downhill straight-a-way, Gabe was in full out sprint to beat that clock and
hopefully run a sub-15 5K.
Unfortunately, he was not able to meet that goal, coming across the line in 15:05. He finished 8 seconds ahead of Cole Hocker, who crossed in 15:13. The top 5 in this race were all sub-16 minutes. With Jesse Hamlin of Ft. Wayne Snider, rounding out the group, finishing in 15:57.
Since Fisher's did not run their top boys, this gave room for other teams to battle it for first. Cathedral made easy way of this opportunity scoring a mere 66 points to win over North Central who scored 92 points.
Now the boys' championship race may have been an exciting battle between a few of the top boys in the state, but the truly exciting time was during the girls' championship race.
This race wasn't exciting for a battle between runners, but just for one athlete. Tyler Schwartz, the state leading girl and #6 in the nation according to the stats on milesplit.com, was the top named girl competing at this meet since Ft. Wayne Carrol and Carmel did not come to this meet, they were in Kentucky this past weekend.
Tyler easily proved her dominance in Indiana cross country by running a solo race 100% from start to finish. She was off in her own world, like you would have expected from her. She is used to racing herself and improving all the time on that. She was on pace the entire time to beat Sarah Leinheiser's course record set back in 2015 of 17:22, but by how much. That was the speculation by the crowd as she had about 1000 meters left. As Schwartz came around the final turn in the spectator lined finish straight-a-way, she had just under 30 seconds to get 200 meters if she wanted that course record. She not only made it in that 30 seconds but it was in about 24 seconds that she made it. Tyler Schwartz crossed the line in 17:19 to crush the course record by 3 seconds. The next finisher, Mckenna Revord of Hinsdale Central(IL), crossed a whole 70 seconds after Tyler had finished. 6 girls finished in under 19 minutes, with Grace Mccabe of Hinsdale Central being the last in 18:48. Sydney Lambert of Norwell finished in 19 flat.
The team from Illinois, Hinsdale Central came to Indiana to race and took home 1st place. They scored 73 points with their 5 scorers placing in the top 30. Fishers came in 2nd with 102 points; their top 5 were also in the top 30. Hinsdale was just able to score their top 3 in the top 10 to help secure them the win.
Notable performance came after these as well in the invitational races. Kyle Liwanang of Warren Central finshed 10 seconds ahead of Jalen Springer in 16:30. His 1st place finish helped the Warriors scored 97 points for 2nd place. East Central was able to score 7 points lower to take 1st with 90 points and top 5 in the top 25.
The girls' invitational seemed to start out extremely similar to the girls championship, but instead of one girl running solo, you had two girls running side-by-side. The Keesling Sisters of Randolph Southern ran together from start to finish. Leah let up a little at the finish and allowed her older sister Emma to take the win by just one second. Emma crossed in 20:01 and Leah finished in 20:02. New Palestine's Brenna Shaw, took 3rd in 20:22.
Fort Wayne Snider was able to score their 5 scorers in the top 20 to allow them to take home 1st with 50 points. Ashtyn Robertson led the way for them, finishing 4th in 20:28.
Emma and Leah celebrate their race at the Riverview Health Invite
I just want to take a minute here though and say how impressed I was by watching these two sisters after they finished racing. Most people after their race typically leave the finish area with a few moments and head for water and back to their team tent or to find their family. They're exhausted they want to sit down. These girls, didn't do that. Emma and Leah stayed right at the finish line and congratulated each and every girl that crossed the line. At one point, I watched Leah take one of her hair-ties out of her hair and give it to another girl, who seemed to have lost hers during the race and needed something. These girls showed sportsmanship unlike any other that I have ever seen. It was amazing to see and I'm so glad that people like these two do what they do. Hopefully their kindness will extend to more in the cross country/track community and this won't be an uncommon thing.