* Final preparations for the team from Warsaw prior to their 2023 season opener.
Photo Credit: Warsaw Community XC Program
By Mark Dwyer - MileSplit
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
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).
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.
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).
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.
Junior Varsity Division
Boys Team Champions - Bloomington South (42 points)
Girls Team Champions - Penn High School (39 points)