Our first thought when looking at the entries for the 2018 Culver Academies Invitational, who the heck is this Mason team from Ohio?! They have an average team time of 16:17 and an insanely impressive 12 second split between their 1-5 runners. This team will be the one to beat, but with times like that, it will be nearly impossible. This meet is always even more exciting when IL powerhouse Neuqua Valley makes the trip over. But we truly care about our own Indiana teams and individuals, so that's what we're going to focus on here. We'll get to see a small handful of top teams, like FW Concordia, Crown Point, FW Snider and even Bloomington North who is more on the come up.
Leading that Concordia squad will be Reece Gibson, who looks to be the top dog in this race. But Trout and Hamlin of Snider, and Christofanelli of CP will all be putting some pressure on him as they should all be right up there with him.
On the girls side of things, we should see a tight battle for first, as West Lafayette and Mason look to be the two teams that know how to race for titles. WL has had a stellar season thus far, winning the Harrison Invite and placing 2nd behind a strong Centerville team at Trinity/Valkyrie last week. Now WL doesn't have a very big low stick, but having all of their scorers within 42 seconds of each other really helps them out providing for a lower score. Mason does have a low stick though in Maddie Ullom, who could go top 5 on Saturday. If 2-5 can manage to even place a few spots higher that could make all the difference between going back to Ohio champs or not. WL looks like the ones who could pull off a win though.
Now we're not exactly sure which or if any individual girls will move up to the elite race but we're going to assume the top athletes will do this as they get a better chance at some great competition. If this does happen, it looks like the Wehrle sisters could go 1-2. Maggie Gutwein of Twin Lakes should put up a strong showing. Ellie Schroeder made a big move last week, taking 2nd at FlashRock and may look to hang with the top dogs this weekend as well. A trio of WL girls, Schultz, Tate and Tate should be right up near the front pack racing together as they have for most of the season. Culver's own Lexi Allen will also be right there with them as well.
The Culver Invite is always a great atmosphere for teams and athletes alike. Saturday's meet is one that should not disappoint anyone who makes the trip up there.