IHSAA 2018 Cross Country Sectionals Previews

Sectional 9 - South Bend Riley (Erskine Golf Course)

Teams: Bremen, Glenn, Mishawaka Marian, LaVille, Mishawaka, South Bend Adams, Penn, South Bend Career Academy, South Bend Riley, South Bend Saint Joseph, South Bend Washington

Nearly the entire city of South Bend will be at Erskine Golf Course on Saturday afternoon for Sectional 9.

Girls: No girl has gone sub-19 yet this season, but 6 have gone sub-20. Out of those 6 there's a group of 3 or 4 that could all battle for that individual title. Brooke Neal and Ellie Jankowski of Penn look like the two that will lead things off and push the pace. But Kyra Young and Faith Quintana of Mishawaka should both be able to hang right with those two and put on a battle. Neal though has been the most consistent of the four all season and should be able to pull of the win.

On the team side of things, it will truly come down to which school, either Penn or Mishawaka, can get 3 girls in the top 5. It looks like Penn should be able to pull it off and take home the team title. After these two, it's going to be a bigger challenge for one of those 3-5 spots. Bremen, SB Clay, SB Adams, and SB St. Joseph will all look to grab one of those remaining spots.

Boys: There's going to be a good battle for that #1 spot between Jared Chapin and Casey Quintana. Chapin has the better season PR at 16:16 but when you take their season average times, Quintana looks slightly better. This one is really just going to come down to who is having a slightly better day and has that kick in them it seems.

The team side of the boys race looks like it's Penn's to lose. They have a mean 15 second 1-5 spread with an average of 16:50 for 5K. Being that packed up and with that much speed is their key. SB Riley's key to getting 2nd will be Chapin having a great day and bringing Jacob Barrow along with him, those two could potentially score as low as 3 points and really help keep them in this. Mishawaka, SB St. Joe, SB Adams and Bremen look to claim one of those three remaining spots.

Sectional 10 - Elkhart Central (Oxbow Park)

Teams: Bethany Christian, Concord, Elkhart Memorial, Elkhart Central, Elkhart Christian Academy, Goshen, Fairfield, Jimtown, Lakeland Christian Academy, Northridge, NorthWood, Wawasee

Girls: The Junior girls all across the state look really good this year, and this sectional is no exception to that. Morgan Dyer and Lauren Dibley are both really close to each other and will probably be side by side for the entire race. Dibley was a major upset at the New Prairie Invite, no one expected her to come out and win it but she did, in 18:38. Dyer though is a little more consistent at those sub-19 minute times, so for that reason alone she looks like the girl to win it.

Now you don't always have to have the tightest pack to win a meet, and that's exactly what Memorial looks to prove this weekend. They hold a 2:05 1-5 split right now, but their team average is just below 20 minutes, the only team to have that. After them it is going to be a super close race between Central and Northridge for 2nd place. Fourth place will also be a close one between Wawasee and Concord for those final spots.

Boys: Goshen senior, Felix Perez-Diener, looks like he'll be able to steal the show for the boys race. Luke Owings of Concord may be able to challenge him for a little bit, but PD looks to be the stronger one and should pull of the individual title win.

Elkhart Memorial has a tight 1-3 who could all come in right there with each other, and their 4-5 look to be right with each other as well. With that stellar group like that, they look to easily take home the team title. The battle for 2nd place looks to be between Goshen and Concord. Both teams have great lowsticks who could finish 1-2, but after that it's going to take some serious pack finishes to decide who takes 2nd. Wawasee and Elkhart Central look to be the other two teams that will nab a spot to move to the regional.