NEW PRAIRIE—The Bellmont boys cross country team recorded "excellent times" according to coach Randy Hisner as they finished 14th out of a strong field of 32 teams in the 44th annual New Prairie Cross Country Invitational, the largest such tournament in Indiana.
The Braves were paced as usual by number one runner Evan Boucher whom Hisner pointed out "ran an outstanding race" to finish eighth overall among a field of 205 runners in the Division 2 race (mid-sized schools). Boucher nailed down a season best time of 16:43 which eclipsed his previous best this year by 25 seconds.
It was also the best time the Bellmont senior has ever recorded on the tough, hilly New Prairie course in his storied career for the Braves.
"It's always great to have Evan up there competing with the top runners in a big meet and giving us such a great start to our team scoring with a single digit," analyzed Hisner.
Hisner noted what impressed him about the Bellmont performance on Saturday was that "we posted so many season and career-best times on that course which features two small hills and one monstrous hill which is steep and about 80 meters long known as 'Agony Hill.' Then, there's also an area with a long sand-covered stretch that considerably slows the runners down. Good weather helped, but mainly our guys gave a great effort and ran very well."
Josh Porter was the second Bellmont man in the race with an 18:20 finish for 75th place. "That was a season best by 14 seconds for Josh and a career best by four seconds. He ran exceptionally well and it reflected some hard work and excellent workouts in recent weeks," Hisner said.
In third place for Bellmont with an 81st position in 18:23 was Adam Corral while freshman Adam Garner continued to make gains in his racing with a huge season best of 22 seconds ending up 91st in 18:32. "It is exciting as a coach to see this rookie make the steady progress as one of our main varsity runners," Hisner related.
Fifth man Michael Braun sliced four seconds from his season best to take 110th place in 18:50. Sophomore Tyler Fenwick was 137th in 19:24, a 13-second season best and Aaron Macklin rounded out the varsity line-up in 168th in 20:29.
In a junior varsity race that featured 423 runners, Bellmont freshman Sean Andrews had a breakthrough race cutting 28 seconds from his season best to end up 142nd in 19:48. Right behind him were Adam Ralston, 168th in 19:53 (a 20-second career best), and Kris Piotrowski, 169th in a career-best 19:54.
Other BHS finishers were Dallas Piotrowski, 216th in 20:38 (28 second best), Logan Neher, 222nd in 20:43 (43 second best), Cody Fuelling, 291st in 21:35 (38 second best), Harrison Jacobson, 310th in 21:49 (a whopping 2:14 season best), Ben Helmrich, 326th in 22:18 (33 second best), Keith Johnson, 346th in 22:41 (a huge 1:44 cut), and Anthony Bertsch, 371st in 23:36 (43 second best).
Concordia won the varsity race with 91 points while Angola was second at 154 and Lowell was third at 168.
The performance on Saturday gave Bellmont am 18-13 mark on the day and for the season the Braves own a win-loss slate of 66-33.
NEW PRAIRIE—Two weeks ago, the Bellmont girls cross country team sported a record of 4-19 and had just finished eighth out of nine teams at the Manchester Invitational.
However, after a strong performance at Spencerville a week ago Saturday, the Squaws continued their improvement at the 44th annual New Prairie Invitational in LaPorte County and placed 15th out of 36 teams to bring their season record to 38-39 (34-20 in their last two meets).
The New Prairie meet is the largest cross country event in Indiana.
"Conditions were really good," commented BHS coach Carl Risch, adding "the course was in great shape and all of our girls ran fantastic races with some incredible improvements."
Risch said the New Prairie event featured nine of the top 20 ranked teams in the state, although most were in the AAA . Bellmont competed in the AA race with ranked teams West Lafayette and Concordia finishing first and second.
A total of 202 runners ran in the class AA race with Bellmont's best finisher being Cadence Faurote who was 60th in 21:20.5. Sarah Garner was 69th for the Squaws in 21:31.8. Both marks were season bests with Faurote slicing :34 off her previous best and Garner set a new time this year by :38.
Other scorers for Bellmont were Allyson Norby, 89th in 22:02.1, Alexis Harvey, 109th in 22:31.9, and Amanda Noonan, 126th in 23:09.4. Amber Loshe was the sixth BHS harrier and placed 195th in 28:26.2.
Risch was especially excited about the efforts of Norby and Noonan.
"Ally had a huge breakthrough race. Last week she bettered her previous best by over a minute and then Saturday she chopped another 32 seconds off. Amanda is our senior captain and had a personal best going from 24:20 to 23:09. We've been waiting for this from her and it was really neat to see her get it," he said.
He also said the run by Harvey was impressive as she registered a lifetime best by :26 beating her previous mark set last year in the regional. Risch said Loshe's time was a 1:02 personal best.
"We ran considerably better than we have all year. The course at New Prairie is a unique one with an 80-meter challenge hill in about the middle of the race they call 'Agony Hill.' There are also a couple of snake-like contours to the course making it different than most courses. The kids like it and it makes it more interesting.
"I think the competition at New Prairie also helped bring out the best times of our kids. It makes them step it up. It's hard to expect this type of improvement every week, but I still see room for improvement in our times. From where we started at the beginning of the year to where we are now, there has been tremendous improvement," he lauded.
The 15th place finish for the Squaws matched their previous best finish as a team, a position they claimed in both 2009 and 2008. In 2010, the Squaws were 18th out of 33 teams.
Bellmont ran two individuals in the junior varsity class AA race that featured a total of 416 runners. Peighton Morlan ran her first race of the season with a 27:43 clocking and Jessica Hedrick finished in 30:52.
West Lafayette's Bobbie Burgess captured the 5K event with a time of 18:34.8, nearly four seconds better than second place Ericka Rinehart of Angola. Concordia notched three finishes in the top 10 getting third, fifth, and eighth.
West Lafayette scored only 55 points for the win followed by Concordia 85, Bishop Chatard 111, Angola 124, New Prairie 128, South Bend St. Joseph's 190, Eastern 220, Culver Academies 297, Plymouth 305, Fairfield 327, Kankakee Valley 352, Rochester 263, Marian 376, Wheeler 419, Bellmont 435, Highland 464, Griffith 477, Boone Grove 455, Twin Lakes 500, Northwestern 517, West Side 518, Hanover Central 547, Andrean 551, Niles 581, Oak Hill 632, Jimtown 665, Tippecanoe Valley 701, and Rensselaer Central 734. The following teams competed but did not have full teams: Carroll-Flora, Hammond Gavit, Knox, Hammond Clark, Gary Lew Wallace, Western, Calumet, Peru.