Bloomington South Boys and Girls Sweep Franklin Invite

Franklin, IN - At the end of the 2021 Franklin Invitational last season, the awards stand was piled with purple shirts as the Panthers of Bloomington South had won the boys and girls team races. This year's version of the Franklin Invitational had a different journey but the same end result as both South teams gathered to take the stand in a day dominated by the Panthers. 

There were only two races on the day, one girls race and one boys. In the girls race, a group of five jumped out to the early lead in the first kilometer as Lily Myers of South and Hadley Gradolf of Brown County were surrounded by three Indian Creek teammates Libby Dowty, Abby Fleetwood, and Phoebe Dowty

At about the halfway point of the race the group of five became three as Myers, L. Dowty, and Fleetwood surged ahead and took control to make it a 3-person race. With less than a kilometer to go the three were still close enough together that the individual champion was going to have to make a move in the final stretch.

That's when the freshmen Libby Dowty took control and eventually came through the finish chute in a winning time and new Indian Creek school record of 18:41.07. Myers placed second in a season best 18:48.97 and Fleetwood was third in 18:56.76.

Though the Indian Creek Braves had 3 runners in the top 6, it was the Panthers who were able to push their 5 scorers through quicker and far enough up in the race to get the team win. South head coach Jill Rensink felt her team ran consistent and with great confidence.

"The team ran really consistent today, our top 8-10 girls are running well and seem more confident each race, we have 3 freshmen in our top 7 that are a great addition to the team, as well as a junior transfer student who are filling gaps we had last season," said Rensink after South's victory. 

Following Myers, South had Aurelia Martoglio place 9th, Jasmine Martoglio 10th, Clara Graham 16th, and Kate Barada 17th to round out the scoring five. 

Top 5 teams in the girls standings with point totals:

  1. Bloomington South- 50,
  2. Cathedral- 100,
  3. Indian Creek- 100,
  4. Franklin Community- 120,
  5. Center Grove- 133

The boys race had a similar feel to that of the girls, as five athletes quickly jumped to the front and set the pace. The group consisted of Ryan Rheam from Bloomington South, Dylan Zeck of Terre Haute North, Martin Barco of Martinsville, Liam Eifert from Indianapolis Cathedral, and Chase Austin of Brown County.

That group stayed packed up and close through the 3k mark of the race. Shortly after that is when Rheam started to make his move. He pulled away from the pack and put a 15 second gap between him and the rest of the field to take control of the race. 

By the time Rheam came through to the finish, there was no one else in sight as he crossed the line in a new personal best of 15:48.42 winning the race by almost 20 seconds. Barco of Martinsville placed 2nd in 16:07.62 right infront of last week's Harrier Classic individual champion Austin who finished 3rd today in a time of 16:08.65. 

In the team race, the Panthers showed their depth as coaches made decisions to rest some varsity runners and still managed to have their fifth runner place 32nd overall as South won the meet with 85 points edging out Edgewood with 103.

"It was a solid run by the team today, we had strong runs from our front two runners and our young group that had the opportunity to score in varsity," commented South head coach Larry Williams.

After Rheam's individual first place finish, other South scoring teammates included Jack Gildea 6th, Marshall Caldwell 22nd, Sam Lutz 28th, and Roman Ross 32nd helping the team to their second straight Franklin Invitational title. 

Top 5 teams in the boys standings with point totals: 

  1. Bloomington South- 85,
  2. Edgewood- 103,
  3. Center Grove- 117,
  4. Indian Creek- 121,
  5. Franklin Community- 152

The Franklin Invitational featured two solid team races, a couple fantastic individual finishes, and some great competition. At the end of the day though, it was the Panthers of Bloomington South that stood atop the podium once again.