IHSAA State Finals Preview
The IHSAA Cross Country State Finals are always full of excitement, and the 2021 edition promises to be no different. This year's state meet features two individual state champions coming back to defend their title, but both will face stiff competition from all across the state when they take to the course this Saturday.
Angola's Izaiah Steury was flawless on his way to an individual state title in 2020, and the Notre Dame commit has gone undefeated thus far in 2021. Steury ran a 14:51 at the Riverview Health Invitational earlier this season, the best time by anyone in the state this year. Carmel's Kole Mathison finished just behind Steury at that race in what could have been a preview of what's to come in this weekend's state meet.
Mathison owns Indiana's best average time at 15:14.8, and the Greyhound ran on Steury's shoulder for much of the race last year before fading to third in the final mile of his sophomore campaign. Steury and Mathison have put on great races in their previous meetings, and we can expect another entertaining battle in this one.
If someone other than Mathison or Steury is to win the state title, it will likely be Brebeuf Jesuit's Krishna Thirunavukkarasu or Columbus North's Reese Kilbarger-Stumpf. Thirunavukkarasu and Kilbarger-Stumpf are the only other runners to have broken fifteen minutes this season, and both have proven they can run with Mathison and Steury. Expect to see Forest Park's Spenser Wolf and Jasper's Abe Eckman in the lead pack as well fter strong performances in the Brown County Semi-State.
Columbus North has been the class of the state in 2021, and the Bull Dogs are heavy favorites to repeat as state champions at this year's state meet. Columbus North brings an experienced group to these state finals, and all five of their scoring runners finished in under sixteen minutes at the Brown County Semi-State last week. Hamilton Southeastern and Carmel should have a tight race for second, with Center Grove, Brebeuf Jesuit and Zionsville not far behind.