IHSAA Semi-State Preview: Brown County Semi-State

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. 

Next up, the Brown County Semi-State!

Brown County Girls Preview

The southern semi-state has been dominated in recent years by the team from Columbus North. This year's race will be more of the same as the Bulldogs will have their fingerprints (footprints for that matter) all over the results with team and individual dominance. The rest of the field here is not to be taken lightly either. A plethora of All-State caliber individuals and a couple potential top ten teams will also be competing in this Semi-state ready to prove themselves. As always, a battle for final advancing team spots is also looming at Eagle Park on Saturday. 

Girls Individual Watch

We mentioned the Bulldog footprints being all over the course Saturday. The individual race starts with the Columbus North senior duo of Julia Kiesler and Lily Baker. These two have been the class of the semi-state all season and both have the potential of being top 5 at the State meet next weekend. More importantly they could end up scoring no more than 5 team points in that meet in which the dogs will be competing for a state title. Even in a great field expect Kiesler and Baker to go 1-2 here.

The next tier of individuals is extremely competitive. A group that will fight for third this week and potentially All-State medals the week after. Lily Myers of Bloomington South appears to lead that chase pack of talented girls. Myers performance at the Nike Twilight meet running 18:09 and placing 14th overall has solidified her spot not only at the Semi-State but also in the entire state as a big time performer. Myers and Kaitlyn Stewart of Floyd Central are the other two individuals in this field (outside of Kiesler and Baker) that were All-State medalists at the 2021 XC state meet. 

Seniors Haley Meade and Heidi Meade, also known as "The Meade Twins" have been incredibly consistent over their time at Princeton Community. Helping lead the Tigers to their first state meet last year, the Meade twins placed 29th and 30th at LaVern Gibson. They now look ready to take the next step and compete for All-State medals a week from Saturday. They are sure to factor into the top 5 of this meet.

Other notable individuals to be on the lookout for: Clara Crain of Edgewood was All-State as a sophomore in 2020, Xavery Weisman of Pike Central is the top returning freshmen from last year's state meet, and Peyton Smith of Linton Stockton should be one of the other top individuals to advance from a non-advancing team. 

Girls Team Watch

Contending for the win- Columbus North

Likely to advance- Bloomington South, Floyd Central, Princeton, Northview

On the bubble- Edgewood, Corydon Central

Outside shot at advancement- Bloomington North, Jasper, South Knox

Columbus North has the inside track to the Semi-State team victory. The Bulldogs have their eyes set on a State title and will surely cruise to the win at Brown County as they gear up for the title fight on October 29th.

The team runner-up is not a certainty by any means. Bloomington South and Floyd Central are the main contenders for runner-up status. Both teams have a top tier front runner and solid packs and are in a position to potentially be top 10 teams at the state meet. Don't count out Princeton either, their front two matchup with anyone else's in this meet. The Tigers would need great races from their 3-4-5 to contend for 2nd place, but should still be in a great position to advance.

Two of the final three advancement spots will be up for grabs between Northview, Edgewood, and Corydon Central. Northview's front four are incredibly solid including 2021 All-Stater Gnister Grant. The Knights don't have much room for error and will need a solid race from their fifth to secure a fourth straight trip to the state finals.

Edgewood has another one of the top duos in the semi-state in the Crain sisters. For the Mustangs to make their fifth ever state finals and 4th in 6 years, they will need the rest of their scoring pack to run solid races and if the last two weeks are any indication, they are in a good spot to do just that.

The last of the teams with a significant chance to advance would be Corydon Central. With no seniors in the top 7, Corydon may be a year away from making their mark on this part of the state. With no true frontrunner they will need each and every scorer to have great races and may need a team in front of them to slip up. They will certainly be giving it their best shot in hopes to make the State meet as a team for the first time ever.

Brown County Boys Preview

The boys race at Brown County has many of the same headlines as the girls race. Columbus North looks to dominate both team and individually, close battles for the runner-up team title and advancing spots looming, and many All-State caliber individuals tuning up in hopes they can grab a medal in Terre Haute next week. The similar storylines also contain many of the same schools from the girls meet and the battle for those final team spots may even be more up for grabs.

Boys Individual Watch

As we mentioned there are a handful of All-State caliber boys in this field. In fact, virtually all of the boys that could finish in the top 20 already competed against each other on this course at the Eagle Classic earlier in the season. On that day it was Aidan Lord of New Albany that got the best of the Brown County members of the field racing to his season best of 15:00.6 to place second overall behind state leader Kole Mathison. There were 14 athletes from the Brown County semi-state that broke 16 minutes that day and with good conditions and a true race we suspect there could be even more under that barrier.

The status of Floyd Central's Will Conway is uncertain as it has been rumored that the Highlander junior is out for the season. Conway may have been Lord's biggest challenge in the Semi-State, but don't count out the Columbus North duo of Clayton Guthrie and Will Russell. Guthrie raced to 15:04 at the Nike Twilight running a fantastic time on the State meet course. Both Bulldogs expect to be in the top 5 here and don't be surprised to see one of them sneak up for the individual win.

Other individuals to be on the lookout for: Bloomington South's Ryan Rheam was a sectional and regional champion for the Panthers and is primed for post season success over the next two weeks. Jaryn Weinel of Jasper looks to be in contention for a top 5 spot here as well as a potential All-State medal next week in Terre Haute. The second lord brother, Aaron Lord is a fine runner in his own right and should also be in that front pack with the above mentioned runners. Bloomington North freshman Jacob Mitchell is another athlete of note as he has been one of the best two freshmen this season and should place in the top 10 at the semi-state.

Boys Team Watch

Contending for the win- Columbus North

Likely to advance- Bloomington North, Bloomington South

On the bubble- Floyd Central, Jasper, New Albany, Austin, FJ Reitz, Northview, Edgewood

Outside shot of advancement- South Knox, Castle

Columbus North has the inside track to the Semi-State team victory. The Bulldogs have their eyes set on a high podium finish at the state meet and will surely cruise to the win at Brown County as they gear up for the runner-up battle on October 29th.

The team runner-up title here at the semi-state should be a battle of Bloomington. North and South have gone back and forth all season, but as of late it has been the Cougars that have gotten the better of the Panthers after winning both sectional and regional titles over their crosstown rivals. It was a 2 point deficit at sectionals, a 10 point deficit at regionals and it should be just as close between these two at the Semi-State on Saturday.

Floyd Central may have been in contention for the runner-up finish with Conway in the lineup, but without the star junior the Highlanders status now falls to the bubble as they still have a team strong enough that can advance to the state meet. Jasper and New Albany on paper have the best chances of the remaining bubble teams to make it out. Both teams have true front runners and have the luxury of being able to hide a far back fifth runner. 

For the other bubble teams like Austin, FJ Reitz, Northview and Edgewood to advance they are going to have to have their packs be far enough up in the race to have any shot. With such a big group of bubble teams each team will have to be completely on and some teams may need slip ups from the teams in front of them.

The theme of the Brown County Semi-State may be to expect the unexpected. When things seam clear, that's when chaos can erupt out of nowhere. That is why these races are not run on paper, or the computer screen, they will be run at Eagle Park in Nashville, Indiana with trips to the state meet on the line.

Racing will get under way with the girls race at 11:30 EST, with the boys race to follow at 12:15 EST.

MileSplit Indiana is previewing all four Semi-States throughout the week. Check back to the website for all Semi-State previews before Saturday.