It's Semi-State week here in Indiana, and on Saturday teams across the state will take their shot at qualifying for a chance to compete at the State meet. The road to state continues through four locations in Indiana with Semi-States taking place at New Prairie, Brown County, Shelbyville and Indiana Wesleyan the site of the New Haven semi-state.
We are previewing all four semi-states throughout the week and giving in depth analysis on team and individual favorites, and scoping out which teams have the best chances of advancement to the State meet.
First up, the New Haven Semi-State!
New Haven Girls Preview
With five teams ranked inside the top fifteen and a pair of individual state contenders, the girls race is the headliner at the New Haven semi-state. Delta's Nicki Southerland and Homestead's Addison Knoblauch will lead the way individually, while Homestead and Hamilton Southeastern will race for the team championship.
Girls Individual Watch
Southerland and Knoblauch finished 1-2 in this race last year, and both have only gotten better since then. Southerland ran a 17:05 last week in the Delta Regional, a time that ranks second in the state this season and third all-time. Knoblauch is not far behind, having run a 17:21 at the Twilight Invitational in early October.
Southerland and Knoblauch actually raced head-to-head on this course at the Marion Invitational early in the season. Southerland got the win on that occasion, and set the course record at 17:15. That record could be in peril this weekend as Southerland and Knoblauch race for the semi-state title.
Other individuals to watch for in the girls race include Addison Lindsey of East Noble, Maggie Powers of Hamilton Southeastern, and Sarah Maple of Concordia Lutheran. These three girls plus Southerland and Knoblauch expect to contend for All-State medals a week from Saturday in Terre Haute.
Girls Team Watch
Contending for the win- Homestead and Hamilton Southeastern
Likely to advance- Concordia and Penn
On the bubble- Carroll, East Noble, Northridge, Northrop
The girls team competition will come down to two teams that have never won a girls cross country semi-state. Homestead and Hamilton Southeastern are ranked 4th and 6th respectively in the latest IATCCC poll, and they match up very evenly coming into this weekend. Hamilton Southeastern might not have anyone that can match the speed of Knoblauch, but you can expect to see their leader Maggie Powers in the top five.
Hamilton Southeastern and Homestead have both rested their varsity runners at some point this month, but they've done so in different weeks. Hamilton Southeastern ran their top runners at the sectional and rested them last week at the regional. Homestead took the inverse approach, letting the JV run at Sectional before running the Varsity at Regional. When running their best teams, Homestead recorded an average time of 19:24 while Hamilton Southeastern's average was 19:25.
Expect to see Concordia and Penn advance to the State Finals, while Carroll, East Noble, Northridge and Northrop race for the final two advancing spots. If Carroll fails to qualify it will snap an eighteen year streak of consecutive state finals appearances.
New Haven Boys Preview
With six runners capable of finishing under 16:30, Fishers are the clear favorites to win the boys team championship at this semi-state. The individual title on the other hand should see a tight race with a few potential all-state athletes competing for the Semi-state title.
Boys Individual Watch
The Tigers are led by Sophomore Sam Quagliaroli, who cruised to a regional victory in 15:40. This week, he will face stiff competition from fellow regional champions William Bauschke (Mishawaka) and Noah Bontrager (Westview), both of whom ran 15:45 to win their respective regionals. One of these three should come out with the victory among a competitive field.
Some notable individual athletes to watch for as potential advancing individuals on non-advancing teams are Luke Shappell of Leo, Max Malloy of Elkhart, Nick Cook of Wapahani, and Noah Price of Liberty Christian. All those athletes have great chances to advance to the State meet as individuals.
Boys Team Watch
Contending for the win- Fishers, Northridge
Likely to advance- Hamilton Southeastern, Penn, Goshen, Concordia
Outside shot at advancement- Adams
Fishers' stiffest competition will come from Northridge and the defending champions Hamilton Southeastern. Northridge dominated their regional last week with an average time of 16:23, just two seconds shy of Fishers' Regional average, while Hamilton Southeastern elected to rest their Varsity squad last week.
Expect to see Penn, Goshen, and Concordia racing for fourth in the team standings. All three of those teams should advance safely, as this race could have a big gap between sixth and seventh.
IHSAA Semi-State #2 will be run on the course at Indiana Wesleyan University. This will be the first time IWU has hosted a semi-state, and it came as a last minute change after the IHSAA banned Huntington University from hosting. IWU's course is known for being flat and fast. Combine that with a talented field of runners and an ideal forecast, and this semi-state should be in for some incredibly fast times.
Racing will get under way with the girls race at 10:30 EST, with the boys race to follow at 11:15 EST.
MileSplit Indiana is previewing all four Semi-States throughout the week. Check back to the website for all Semi-State previews before Saturday.