New Haven Semi State
Feeder Regionals: West Noble, Delta, Elkhart Central, Marion
Boys Teams: Ft. Wayne Carroll, Penn, Northridge, Concord, Wawsee, Goshen, Westview, Concordia Lutheran, Homestead, West Noble, Huntington North, Bellmont, Wabash, Oak Hill, New Haven, Pendleton Heights, Mt. Vernon, Muncie Central, Monroe Central, Wapahani.
Now the Shelbyville Semi - State may have the most loaded field in the state this weekend, but New Haven will definitely not disappoint. #2 Westview, #8 Ft. Wayne Carroll, #19 Penn, #21 Concordia, and a few other previously ranked teams will get their chance to go head to head before moving on to the State meet. But unlike the other semi-states, who we'll know by about 12:45 who is and who isn't going to state, we won't know with New Haven until closer to 2:30pm. Their races are run later in the day due to scheduling conflicts at The Plex. Due to the reality of the IHSAA rules of advancement, not everyone gets to move on, just 6 of the 20 teams get to head to Lavern Gibson together. Ft. Wayne Carroll, the returning state champs, look to have a much tougher road to even the podium this year, so this race will be an important one for them, to see where they stack up with the #2 team.
The first team, and the clear favorite to move on and contend for the state title, Westview. They were 14th at state last year, and have made a HUGE jump this year and should be #2 this year. They return more than half of their squad from last year, so clearly they made some improvements over the summer and are on the hunt for that team title. The team is led by Senior's Matt Yoder and Richard Stoltzfus who have potential to place in the top 5, with Yoder possibly getting the win. In their coach's Twitter Bio, he has "2017, get on the war path" and these guys are on a major war path to take home the giant Indiana plaque, the team trophy for a state win. Their scoring 5 have averaged 16:20 this season, and have a mean split of about 49 seconds. Meaning they're fast and close to each other. They've got the low stick for this Saturday and if everyone runs on their game they can score under 45 points and take a huge dub before state.
We have to talk about the returning state champions. Can't just ignore them just because they aren't ranked 1st or 2nd this year. Unfortunately for them, their #1 Cole Powers, is out for the season with a stress fracture in his ankle. Without him, they drop a little further down. Not far enough though to keep them from being a top competitor for the state meet. Led now by Connor Goetz, who last year was their #5, and is now in that number #1 spot will be interesting to watch what he can do to help keep his team close to each other during the race. I think he could be the individual winner. On this course already this season, they've come in 5th at the New Haven Invite, against some of the top teams though like Fishers, Westview, and Bloomington South. This was also just their 2nd race without Powers. Come Saturday they should be across in the 2nd place position.
Coming in 3rd, I have to go with Penn. They have probably the closest split in the state. Yes, someone with a closer split than Carmel. A mere 25 seconds separates their 1-5. But even with that close of a pack, their overall times are still just a little slow for them to nab much higher than 3rd here.
Competing for that #4 spot will be a super close race between Pendleton Heights and Huntington North. The average times this season is just a one second difference between the two, with Pendleton earning that ever so slight edge over Huntington. If Pendleton can figure out how to pack up just a little more they will have no problem getting 4th over Huntington North.
Predictions: Westview wins, Ft. Wayne Carroll, Penn, Pendleton Heights, Huntington North and Homestead punch their tickets to Lavern.
The individual race will be between just two guys, Connor Goetz and Matt Yoder. These guys' average times this season are just within 2 seconds of each other. And guess what, they're both seniors if you didn't know that. Goetz holds the upper hand in my opinion, having finished 6th last year at this meet. On the other hand, Yoder has only come in 2nd at two meets this season, and probably doesn't want to add a 3rd one to that. Both guys will be toe and toe with each other from start to finish. But I'm going to give the win to Yoder, just for how he's been racing this year and he beat Goetz last week at regionals.
Girls Teams: Yorktown, Pendleton Heights, Delta, Mt. Vernon, Monroe Central, Ft. Wayne Carroll, Homestead, Bishop Dwenger, Concordia Lutheran, East Noble, Oak Hill, Huntington North, South Adams, Bishop Luers, Norwell, Penn, Northridge, SB Adams, Concord, Mishawaka.
The girls race is heating up to be even more exciting than the boys, team wise and individually. We've got four top 25 teams competing in this race, #1 Ft. Wayne Carroll, #17 Penn, #24 Oak Hill, and #25 Northridge. Also coming in without her team, we have Tyler Schwartz, the top ranked individual in the state and returning champ, who is looking to repeat. More on Tyler in a bit though.
First up, Ft. Wayne Carroll. These girls look to be the team that will overtake the lady hounds after coming in 2nd last year. This group of girls should be the group to get Carroll its first State Trophy. Their 1-5 average a 19:07, with a minute between them total. With last year's front-runner Abby Green out for the season with a broken navicular (a bone in your foot), the team is led by believe it or not a FRESHMAN. Zoe Duffus leads the Chargers this season as just a freshman, coming in 1st in 3 of 5 races this year, holding a PR of 17:45 as well. With her strong front running ability and the rest of her teams strong pack, they will have no problem earning that super low stick and get that semi - state win.
Next up the lady Kingsmen of Penn High School. These ladies are putting together a pretty sweet season with an average time of 19:49. They haven't quite figured out how to pack up majorly, but that doesn't seem to affect them. Their top 5 should place in the top 40 on Saturday, with 3 in the top 25.
Homestead is my pick for third. They come in with the lowest 1-5 split, 54 seconds and two girls under 20-minutes. There will be a little bit of a gap between them and 2nd and 5th. They can't quite match with Penn, but I say give them a year and they will be up to that level.
For that 4th spot, we will see a tough battle between Oak Hill and Bishop Dwenger. I think these two will be SUPER close in scoring and will really come down to who can pack up a little more and work together. Oak Hill is my pick though, just because they have Margo Hornocker who should score that single point for them. Also, their teams average time is under 20, while Bishop Dwenger's is about 20:15.
The 6th and final spot should go to Northridge. With just a 1:45, 1-5 spread and a 20:28 average time, they are the next best team that remains. Led by Senior Jenna Miller, the raiders should clinch that final spot and move on to state.
So, that's it, Ft. Wayne Carroll wins, followed by Penn, Homestead, Oak Hill, Bishop Dwenger and Northridge punch their tickets to the state finals.
The bigger moment will come with the individual race. This looks to be one of the few times Tyler Schwartz won't be running solo. She'll have Hornocker and Duffus right with her. Duffus is the only girl this season, still competing, that has beat Schwartz. I believe if she had raced the regional, she would have beaten her again. I'm going to go out on a long shot here and say Freshman Zoe Duffus wins the Semi - State with Tyler Schwartz right on her heels. Hornocker will place 3rd. I don't see any of these girls giving it everything they have, they'll relax a little and wait for state to unleash everything and battle it out with Emma Wilson as well.