IHSAA 2017 Cross Country State Previews: Girls Individuals

2017 Shelbyville Semi-State led by Phoebe Bates (84) and Abby Lynch (54)

The 2017 IHSAA State Cross Country Meet will be held this Saturday October 28th. Boys race at 1pm, Girls follow at 1:45pm. The race is held at the Lavern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course, in Terre Haute,IN. This years races are going to be top notch, with crazy good competition on both sides. Admission is $10 per person, remember to bring a little bit of cash with you spectators. 

First up though in previews, is the girls individual race. 

We really have two races going on when you look at the top ranked athletes this season. I'm going to take a minute and breakdown each of these two races for you and who I believe will take the win overall. The weather this weekend is looking to be in the upper 40's to low 50's providing for great races on both sides.

Up first, the big race, the individual champion. This one will come between two girls, Tyler Schwartz and Emma Wilson. This year, I don't think either one is a clear favorite. They have not met this season on the grass. The last time Schwartz and Wilson had a full race together, was at the Flashes Showcase, where they finished within 2 seconds of each other, with Tyler being just ahead of Emma. Both girls are 100% on their own, as their teams did not advance with them to this point. Schwartz has the help of one other teammate, Lauren Beckmann, but they won't race much together but for the start.

Schwartz is the returning champion from last year, winning in 18:08, 9 seconds ahead of Abby Green. She continued her season after that by placing 5th at Nike Midwest and going on to place 31st at the National meet in Oregon. Schwartz has just been cranking out the honors this fall. She has come in 2nd only twice this season, at the Huntington Invite and the New Haven Invite. She set a new course record at the Riverview Health Flashrock Invite in a blazing fast time of 17:19. She holds the best time in the state this year with that performance and has cracked into the top 25 Flo50 rankings at least once this year. Saturday's performance for her will have to be one of her best all-time if she wants to repeat as the champion. Tyler will be the one to set the pace I believe and test the waters with Wilson. She has that state meet front running experience, after pretty much going solo at last year's meet so any other competitors will probably follow her lead and trail right on her heels. She will have to stay calm and controlled and just push the pace to something Wilson can't keep with if she wants to keep her off and claim her 2nd state title. She has the endurance and strength to do so, this time she just has some big, younger competition.

Wilson has had a little more success this season, winning every single race she has ran. Her all time PR, which she set at the Western Indiana Conference Meet this season, is a 17:29, just 10 seconds short of Schwartz's. The past two years at the state meet, Wilson has finished 8th, earning all-state honors. Her freshman season she never finished out of the top 3 until the state meet, with 6 of her 9 races being wins. But the big deal that made Wilson a household name, was her performances at the state track meet. She not only competed in the 1600/3200 double. She WON both races, in amazing fashion too. 4:56 and a 10:43 respectfully. Wilson had less than 2 hours between the two races and was able to win both by just about a second. She used that state meet performance to boost her into this season and for the most part has been running under 18 minutes. Last season she only did that once, and barely, running a 17:59 at Shelbyville. Wilson has shown this year that she can and will take the race out by herself and is more than confident with doing so. I think Saturday she will let Schwartz led and follow right behind her or next to her for a good portion of the race. She may try to surge a little on Schwartz and push the pace before Schwartz does. If she can get enough of a gap between her and Schwartz towards the last 2K, I think she could pull off the win. She should be able to run an upper 17-minute time, based off how she has been racing this year.

The individual champion on the girls' side is a tough one to call due to how close in competition these two girls are. If I must pick one of them to win it though, I'm going to go with Tyler Schwartz. I just feel she has the better chance on the Lavern Gibson Course. At Nike last year she ran a 17:29, granted she was up against some much better competition than at the state meet, but she proved she can run those types of times out there if she really wants to. She has a pretty nice kick as well, which she'll need to use come Saturday. So, Schwartz will win, with Wilson right on her finishing within a couple seconds of her.


Now I mentioned there were really two races going on here, and the 2nd one will be the race for 3rd through 6th. The next pack will be with Phoebe Bates, Sophia Rigg, Abby Lynch and as long as she is healthy Zoe Duffus. These 4 girls are all at the top of their game.

Bates, only a sophomore, has competed at the state championships last year, placing 6th overall and the top freshman in the race, then followed that up with a great performance at Nike, placing 65th overall. She kicked off her sophomore season by winning the Hamilton County meet and continued through the season always placing in the top 3. She is the lead runner for the Lady Greyhounds, and will be a part of the lead pack at state. Bates will run in her traditional fashion of staying with the pack for most of the race but will more than likely start to break away a little with about a mile left. Expect to see her finish in either 3rd or 4th.

This will be Sophia Rigg's 4th consecutive cross country state meet appearance. This season will be her best performance yet though. She finally broke into the sub-18 club at the Hoosier Crossroads Conference this year. She's only got 2 wins in cross country all 4 years but still she is a force to be reckoned with. It's that monster kick she's got that sets her apart and sticks out about her. She brought it out at HSR in the 3200 and at Flashes Showcase to win, in a race that came down to the finishing lean. Rigg is not one to go out super fast, so I wouldn't expect to see her leading this front pack, but she will be right in the mix of it. Give her until the middle of the race to find her groove and she will begin to move with Bates I believe and not hang back with the rest.

Abby Lynch is one of the standout freshman that girls side of things is seeing this year. She first made it on to the radar back in May, at the Middle School Miracle Mile placing 2nd to Zoe Duffus. Then she shocked everyone when she competed in her first race as a Bulldog, at Detweiller at Dark over in Illinois, and she won the 3 mile race in 17:17, which converts to about a 17:53 5K. From the get-go this season she has been the frontrunner for the lady bulldogs, racking up two 1st place wins and four 2nd places. At the Shelbyville Semi-state, she placed 25th, at the toughest semi-state on the board. She's averaged in about the 18:20's this season, but I think come Saturday she may drop a little lower on that average just because of higher caliber competition. She'll more than likely try her hand at running with the top girls, and will succeed at it. I think she can be top 5 in just her first state meet.

Ok so I mentioned Zoe Duffus as winning the Middle School Miracle Mile in 4:55, but what has she done in high school cross country now? Well she's met those expectations and shattered some of them even. At the Marion Invitational she came in 2nd place with a 17:45. She has added 3 wins to her record this year and is the only active girl that has beat Tyler Schwartz this season, Abby Green is out for the season with an injury. Duffus is currently injured and is questionable if she will race at state, she strained her gluteal medius and hasn't raced since sectionals. If she comes into the race healthy and feeling good, I see her racing up with the top dogs and having no problem doing so. She may hang out with Schwartz and Wilson for a little bit, but Lavern will get the best of her and cause her to slow and move back with Bates, Riggs and Lynch a little more. Again, if she comes in healthy she should be able to have no issue with placing top 5.

Tyler Schwartz wins in sub-17:20, due to the weather, Emma Wilson will come in a close 2nd, Phoebe Bates 3rd, Sophia Rigg, 4th, Zoe Duffus 5th (as long as she's healthy), Abby Lynch 6th.


On the Bubble Girls

Katherine Modrall - Brebeuf Jesuit; 17:58 PR, 3rd at Shelbyville Semi-State, typically uses the 2nd half of the race to start passing and will do so at state, she may actually jump into top 5 depending on how close she is with that top group at the beginning.

Jordyn Boyer - Lowell; Finished 1st at NP Semi-State by 15 seconds and sub-18. Should have some strong confidence after that big win to hang with the lead group

Maggie Gutwein - Twin Lakes; holds a 17:50 PR this season, placed 4th at the New Prairie Semi-State

Margo Hornocker - Oak Hill; 17:56 PR, 5th at New Haven Semi-State

Annalyssa Crain - Edgewood; 17:52 PR, 2nd at Brown County Semi

Maddie Dalton - Carmel; 17:44 lifetime PR, 3rd at last year's state meet