IHSAA 2018 Cross Country Sectionals Previews

Sectional 3: New Prairie

Teams: Chesterton, Boone Grove, Lake Station Edison, LaPorte, Marquette Catholic, Michigan City, New Prairie, Portage, South Central (Union Mills), Valparaiso, Washington Township, Westville, Wheeler

Girls: Chesterton's Shelby Bullock is the young lady to beat in the New Prairie sectional. She has a season record of 18:40 and has just recently committed to Purdue. She will be challenged by 1600 meter runner-up Ava Gilliana from Valparaiso. Bullock is definitely the favorite this year after beating Gilliana twice. Hailey Orosz of Wheeler could also find herself in the mix for the individual title.

Valpo will look to add another sectional title to their collection this year. Their top 3 all have a chance to place top 5 and score very few points. Chesterton can challenge for the win behind one point from Bullock and a close 2-4. If their 5th runner steps up they could win the title. LaPorte has really tight pack with a 43 second season record spread and should advance along with Wheeler and Portage.

Boys: The boys individual race is wide open for sectional 3 this year. This race may come down to who has better kick on this day. No one in this sectional has ran under 16:10 this year. Mitchel Gits of LaPorte high school currently has the best time in the Sectional with 16:12. Portage's Kyle Gutierrez, New Prairie's Jack Corbett, Wheeler's  Hudson Hall, and Valparaiso's Jack Acton will all be in the front of the race and looking to take home the individual title.

The team race will be just as close and just as exciting as the individual battle. Valpo looks like the favorite to win on paper, but one of their top 3 runners from earlier in the year hasn't raced in over a month. This shortens the gap from Valpo to the rest of the field but still keep them ahead of everyone else. 2-5 will be hotly contested between Chesterton, New Prairie, LaPorte, and Portage. Wheeler might be able to sneak into the top 5 if they have a great day or someone has an off day.

Sectional 4: Rensselaer Central

Teams: Covenant Christian (DeMotte), Kankakee Valley, Knox, Kouts, LaCrosse, Morgan Township, North Judson-San Pierre, North Newton, Oregon-Davis, Rensselaer Central, South Newton, West Central

Girls: Junior Kelsie Wuethrich of Rensselaer Central holds the fastest time in Sectional 4 and is a clear favorite to win. Kelsie holds a season record of 19:03 and is definitely looking to dip under 19 this season. Her teammate Amzie Maienbrook will be the closest to her. They are the only two girls under the 20 minutes this year.

          The team race will be a tight one. Morgan Township looks to be the favorite with a tight pack that has a spread of 50 seconds. Rensselaer Central will be able to challenge with their two low sticks and Kankakee Valley could also upset one of the top two teams. North Judson-San Pierre and Kouts will be looking to advance as North Newton looks to upset someone and qualify for the regional race.

Boys: Sectional 4 has an extremely tight individual race. Seniors Carson Bakker and Trevor Braden will battle it out for the individual title. Cameron Sheehy, Kankakee's senior front runner will also be in contention for the win. Bakker, Braden, and Sheehy will also be looking to lead their teams to the team title.

Kankakee Valley and Morgan Township have the best chances to win the meet. Both have strong packs, and runners with a chance to win the meet. Covenant Christian has an outside chance of winning. Covenant Christian has a strong top 2 but the rest of their top 5 will need to step up in order to win the race. Kouts and Rensselaer should also advance to the regional meet.