XC Returns: Recapping 2023 Valley Kick Off

* Final preparations for the team from Warsaw prior to their 2023 season opener.

Photo Credit: Warsaw Community XC Program


By Mark Dwyer - MileSplit

Valley Kick Off Results I Valley Kick Off Videos

Terre Haute, Indiana -- IHSAA cross country got underway on Saturday and helping to usher in the 2023 campaign was Valley Kick Off, which went down at the LaVern Gibson Championship Course. 

While the 5 kilometer layout in Terre Haute will undoubtedly look different and the stakes will be much higher, an early look at the state meet course can only pay dividends for those athletes aspiring to return to the venue on the big day that is October 29th. 

Varsity Division and Junior Varsity Division races were contested at the annual Kick Off meet with many notable team and individual performances being displayed.

Boys Varsity Division

Lake Central got their campaign off to a victorious start on the heels of a balanced scoring attack that saw the Indians place five runners within the race's top 31 overall. 

Senior classman Ben Perschon led the way for the squad in 6th, as he posted a mark of 16:26.1. His supporting cast included Riley Petrovich (15th), Austin Wojcik (20th), Evan Smith (28th) and Roger Ochoa (31st). 

The opener bodes well for Lake Central, as the journey to the 2023 IHSAA State Championships is now underway. The team finished 21st at last year's state meet

Anchored by Will Conway's individual victory, Floyd Central claimed runner-up honors with 118 points. 

Conway, who clocked 15:38.1 for a decisive win, was joined by the scoring tandem of Luca Cirincione (10th), Noah Nifong (13th), Reid Coleman (40th scorer) and Ethan Edwards (54th scorer). 

Conway's latest triumph is his second of the season. The University of Tennessee commit also won at Detweiller at Dark (IL) on July 28th with a 14:54.4 effort over the imperial 3 mile distance. 

Warsaw Community took 3rd in the team standings with 127 points and other top individuals included Liam Bauschke (Mishawaka) and Ryan Rheam (Bloomington South), who recorded 2nd and 3rd place marks of 15:56.7 and 16:00.6, respectively.

* Boys Varsity Division Race (video footage courtesy of Emily Lawrence)

Girls Varsity Division

Like Lake Central on the boys side, another team with big meet experience earned a season opening title in the girls competition. 

North Central, with 99 points and a 26-point spread over their nearest rivals from Bloomington South, got 2023 started on a winning note. 

Top 10 showings by Maddie Rocchio (5th) and Elizabeth Rocchio (8th) set the tone for the club. They were followed by teammates Samrawit Tezera (23rd), Kelsey Rehmel (27th) and Isabel Tipmore (36th scorer). 

North Central placed 5th at the 2022 IHSAA State Championships and figure to factor prominently in the lead up to this year's edition. 

Jasmine Martoglio secured the runner-up spot individually to lead her Bloomington South team to 2nd in the standings with 125 points and led by Mary Eubank (4th overall), Penn High School was the 3rd place team with 157 points. 

Martoglio and Eubank produced marks of 18:43.3 and 19:06.8. 

Individual honors was collected by Joey Rastrelli, who crossed the line in 18:36.5. Similar to the aforementioned Will Conway, Rastrelli competed successfully at Detweiller where she was second overall while facing many of Illinois' top runners.

* Varsity Division Champion - Joey Rastrelli / Warsaw (Photo Credit: Emily Lawrence) 

Junior Varsity Division

Boys Team Champions - Bloomington South (42 points)

Girls Team Champions - Penn High School (39 points)

Boys Individual Champion - Caleb Webb / Bloomington North (17:04.8)

Girls Individual Champion - Tatum Houle / North Central (22:28.9)

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