The 2019 Marion Invitational is this Saturday, September 7th on the campus of Indiana Wesleyan University in Marion, Indiana. This awesome event historically brings some of the best teams and athletes in the state of Indiana together on a fast and fun course. This year looks to be no exception as the fields are perhaps even more loaded than usual. The great competition combined with a very favorable weather forecast on a fast course makes this edition of the Marion Invitational a must see and must follow event.
8:30 am Boys Purple Race
9:00 am Girls Purple Race
9:30 am Boys Elite Race
10:00 am Girls Elite Race
10:30 am Boys JV Race
11:00 am Girls JV Race
11:30 am Boys Red Race
12:00 pm Girls Red Race
12:30 pm Boys Gold Race
1:00 pm Girls Gold Race
1:30 pm Middle School Boys Race
2:00 pm Middle School Girls Race
Boys Elite Race, 9:30 a.m.
The Boys Elite Race is loaded from top to bottom with at least 13 potential all-state caliber individuals and at least 11 potential state qualifying teams. On the individual side, senior Reece Gibson of Concordia looks to be the favorite. Gibson opened up his season with a strong win two weeks ago at the Huntington North Invitational and is coming off a stellar junior year where he medaled at State on both grass and in the 3,200m on the track. Other athletes to keep an eye on are: Luke Combs (Lapel), Spencer Carpenter (Westview), Jack Kovach (Brebeuf), Alex Frey (North Central), Izaiah Steury (Angola), Paul Stamm (Cardinal Ritter), Wilson Whicker (Concordia), Grant Moon (Carmel), Will Murphy (Carmel), Ben Johnson (Carmel), Matt Mitsch (Yorktown), and Kole Mathison (Carmel). All of these individuals are real all-state threats come November 2nd.
On the team side we may be in for a treat as arguable the two best teams will go head to head in an early season battle: Concordia and Carmel. This is likely a coin flip on who comes out on top, assuming both teams run full strength. Outside of these top two teams, expect to see a team battle for third between Brebeuf, Westview, North Central, and West Noble. Keep an eye out for the teams from Oak Hill, Columbia City, Chesterton, FW Carroll, and Warsaw - as these teams are looking to work their way into the upper echelon of the rankings and build confidence to carry them to the State Finals on November 2nd.
Girls Elite Race, 10:00 a.m.
If you thought the Boys Elite Race was loaded, the field for the Girls Elite Race will leave your jaw on the floor. The Girls Elite Race looks to have at least 18 all-state caliber individual girls (including a few athletes from Centerville, Ohio) and at least 15 potential state qualifying caliber teams. On the individual side, senior Erin Strzelecki of Dwenger headlines the field. Strzelecki is coming off a stellar junior year campaign that places her as the top returning distance runner in the state of Indiana. Also to note, this field contains two athletes who have 1600m track state titles under their belts: Senior Phoebe Bates of Carmel and Sophomore Addy Wiley of Huntington North. Other athletes to keep a close eye on are: Rayna Fruchey (FW Carroll), Mary Anna Wehrle (Cardinal Ritter), Zoe Duffus (FW Carroll), Bailey Ranta (Chesterton), Maiah Wehrle (Cardinal Ritter), Sarah Mahnensmith (Norwell), Mollie Gamble (Oak Hill), Hannah Sale (Fishers), Mallory Clements (FW Carroll), Ashlyn Minton (FW Carroll), Vera Schafer (Fishers), Julia Dvorak (Homestead), Mia Robillard (Centerville OH), Dalia Einstein (Centerville OH), and Kerri Walsh (Centerville OH).
The team battle on the girls side is a who's who of potential state finals podium contenders and an even deeper field of potential state finalist teams. Centerville OH crosses the border as an NXN caliber team/program and looks to mix it up at the top of the standings with FW Carroll and Carmel. Look for teams from Fishers, Dwenger, Noblesville, Homestead, and Cardinal Ritter to possibly make big statements in this early team test. Teams from North Central, Warsaw, Penn, Norwell, New Palestine, Chesterton, and Leo will also be looking to make early season statements and build a foundation that will lead them to Lavern Gibson on November 2nd.