IHSAA Boys State Championship Preview
The 78th annual IHSAA boys state meet is finally almost here! Unlike most other states across the nation, Indiana has one race for the entire state for each gender. In previous years the state tournament consisted of 4 meets including sectionals, regionals, semi-state, and state. This year, with the help of some realignment, there were only 3 rounds that include 25 sectional races, 5 regional races, and 1 state race. The top 5 teams and top 15 individuals on a non-advancing team advanced from each round. The boys will begin the day at 12:00PM ET. This year should feature an exciting race for the individual title with several quality athletes from all across Indiana with Carmel looking to repeat as team champions and claim their 18th boys state title.
Racing for the Individual Win
The top 2 returners from the state meet last year had a photo finish as Indiana University Bloomington commit Tony Provenzano from Carmel and University of Notre Dame commit Cameron Todd from Brebeuf both crossed the line in 2nd and 3rd with a time of 15:11.2 being separated only by inches. The winner was Champs National XC Champion and current University of Colorado runner Kole Mathison. This duo of Cameron and Tony has seen each other three times this season with Cameron taking the win in 2 of their 3 meetings. These were at FlashRock where Cameron ran a 14:58 to best Tony by 2 seconds, Nike Twilight where Cameron ran 14:48 to have a gap over him of 20 seconds, and most recently at the Brownsburg Regional where Tony won by 5 seconds with a 15:17. This may have been a strategic play, by Cameron to use the race as a tune up for state by not going for the win. Cameron is currently ranked 5th in the MileSplit 50 national rankings and should be the be one of the favorites to win.
Sam Quagliaroli is another name to look out for as he had quite the breakout year after finishing 18th last season as a sophomore. Sam has won nearly every race this year. His only defeats have come to his Fishers teammate, Matthew Kim, at the HCC Championships where they broke away together, and to Cameron Todd in a stacked Nike Twilight race where he ran a season best time of 14:52. In that race Sam had the lead at the 4K mark before Cameron turned on the jets to run a 2:56 closing K. Sam had the third fastest time across the state at regionals with a 15:17 and had the widest margin of victory out of any of the other 4 regionals across the state.
Another runner who has had a near perfect resume this season is William "Liam" Bauschke from Mishawaka. His only real loss of the season came from his season opener meet back in early August at the Valley Kick Off where Floyd Central's Will Conway won. One of his most notable wins this year comes from the Culver Academies Invitational where he beat Indiana's top returner from the state meet last year, Tony Provenzano, by 3 seconds. He has battled through a sloppy New Prairie course for the past two weeks and should be primed for a chance at the state title on Saturday.
The state's leader in the 5K from this season is University of Tennessee commit Will Conway as he looks to be with the leaders as he has run a 14:41 on the lightning fast course at Tom Sawyer State Park in Louisville. Will's sole loss of the season came at the Brown County Eagle Classic where Cameron Todd would go 15:00 to win by 7 seconds. He looks to join a group of runners that could still be battling for the lead by the 4K mark at LaVern.
How the top 5 could shake out:
1st - Cameron Todd
2nd - Sam Quagliaroli
3rd - Will Conway
4th - William "Liam" Bauschke
5th - Tony Provenzano
Other Top Runners
Matthew Kim has looked strong this year keying off his Tiger teammate Sam Quagliaroli and is a contender for one of the most dramatic improvements from last year as his PR has dropped from a 16:13 to a 15:04. Kim has finished behind Sam for most of the season with his only other losses coming from Tony Provenzano and Cameron Todd. His most impressive finish was a 15:09 effort at Nike Twilight to finish 11th overall and be the 4th finisher from Indiana.
Kyle Grove has had a consistent season where he has established himself as Carmel's #2 relatively close behind Tony. His season best this year is a 15:17 coming from LaVern at Nike Twilight where he was the 14th overall finisher 5th for Indiana. He was third last weekend behind his teammate and Cameron Todd.
Ian Baker has stepped up this season to help Brownsburg qualify for state as a team. One of his best efforts this fall also came from Nike Twilight where he finished 15th and was one second of a personal best with a 15:18.
Jackson Nolan from Evansville F.J. Reitz was the second fastest sophomore in the field last year to William Bauschke. He had an impressive 18th place finish this year at Nike Twilight and ran a 15:06 at the Lincoln Trail Invitational which ranks him 6th in the state for season bests. Jackson will almost certainly improve upon his 19th place finish last year with a good day.
Ryan Rheam from Bloomington South has had himself a relatively good season with a slight hiccup at Nike Twilight. He, however, rebounded strongly to win his sectional and come runner-up by 4 seconds to Will Conway. Ryan looks to be in good shape to improve upon his 13th place finish last year.
Shane Conroy from Portage has had an excellent season with his worst finish being 4th in the 9 races he has been in this season. This race was at the Valley Kick Off where he finished behind Conway, Bauschke, and Ryan Rheam. Last week he was only 4 seconds off the win behind William (Liam) Bauschke on a sloppy course at New Prairie.
Jack Turnbull and Sam Spees have been a very important duo for Zionsville this year as both have had impressive seasons. Both ran personal bests at the Hoosier Crossroads Conference going 15:19 and 15:23 respectively.
Others Potentially Challenging for Top 25 All-State
Aaron Richter - 3rd at New Prairie
Max Malloy - 4th at New Prairie
Noah Bontrager - 5th at New Prairie
Joseph LaPatra - 6th at New Prairie
Vaughn Hendrickson - 1st at New Haven
Nick Cook - 2nd at New Haven
Thomas Biltimier - 7th at Brownsburg
Gavin Rockwell - 3rd at Shelbyville
Kyle Montgomery - 4th at Shelbyville
Evan Farmer - 5th at Shelbyville
Carter Crouch - 6th at Shelbyville
Sam Rinker - 7th at Shelbyville
Caden Click - 8th at Shelbyville
Luca Cirincione - 4th at Evansville
Caleb Winders - 5th at Evansville
Martin Barco - 6th at Evansville
Calvin Seitz - 7th at Evansville
Alexander Pinckney - 8th at Evansville
Sawyer Mossberger - 9th at Evansville
Joe Zinkan - 10th at Evansville
Noah Nifong - 11th at Evansville
Neal White - 12th at Evansville
Racing for the Team Win