The top cross country talent in southern Indiana will make their way to Brown County this weekend for the 20th running of the Eagle Classic. This meet is broken up into three divisions, including Class A, Class AA, and an "Elite" race.
The girls Elite race will see the top three girls teams in the state as listed by the coaches poll. Carmel, Columbus North, and Zionsville are ranked first through third on that list, and they should put on a great race for the team title on Saturday morning. They will be followed closely by Floyd Central, North Central, and Northview who are all top ten teams as well.
Last year at this event, it was Columbus North that took top honors by just three points over Carmel. The Greyhounds got the better of Columbus North at the state finals though, as Carmel won their 19th state championship in girls cross country.
For the first time since 2018, someone other than Analyssa Crain will win this race. The former Edgewood star won the Eagle Classic each of the last three years before graduating and going on to run at Illinois, leaving the door open for a new face at the top of the podium. That new face may be one that's new not just to the Eagle Classic, but to the entire state of Indiana.
Columbus North's Julia Kiesler recently transferred from California, and she has been turning heads across the Hoosier state early in this cross country season. Kiesler ran a 17:35 on her way to a decisive win at the Rick Weinheimer Classic last week, the third best time in Indiana so far this year. Kiesler's closest competition in that meet came from Floyd Central Senior Jaydon Cirincione, who will get another shot at the new Bulldog this weekend.
Columbus North has been the preeminent power in boys cross country lately, and they look to prove it once again this weekend. The reigning state champions dominated their home meet last week, putting four runners in the top seven finishers at the Rick Weinheimer Classic. Despite facing competition from last year's state runner up in Carmel, the Bull Dogs are still heavy favorites to win the Elite team race in this meet.
The individual boys race is less of a certainty. Carmel's Kole Mathison and Columbus North's Reese Kilbarger-Stumpf finished third and fourth at the state finals last year, and both are running well again in 2021. Mathison won this race in 15:18 last year, and the Carmel runner won the Hamilton County Championships earlier this year. Kilbarger-Stumpff won the Rick Weinheimer Classic last week with a 15:04, the third fastest time in the state this season.
Mathison and Kilbarger-Stumpff could face a challenge from Brebeuf Jesuit's Krishna Thirunavukkarasu. The Senior ran a blistering time of 15:00.4 in the Marion Invitational on the ultra fast course at Indiana Wesleyan University last week.
The Elite boys race will begin at 9:00 AM Saturday morning, with the Elite girls race getting under way at 9:30. Class A and Class AA will be run simultaneously, with the boys race at 10:00 and the girls race at 10:35