MARION-Strong runs by a pair of Adams County female runners at the IHSAA cross country regional Saturday at Indiana Wesleyan University turned out to earn qualifying spots in this coming Saturday's semi-state race at the Plex in Fort Wayne.
South Adams' Hannah Moore and Bellmont's Cadence Faurote both will move on in semi-state Saturday with top 15 finishes. Moore crossed the line in seventh for South Adams with at 19:41.75 while Faurote blazed her way to 11th spot with an amazing 19:58.49 clocking.
Faurote's performance was especially impressive given the fact she finished the sectional last Tuesday at Bellmont with a time of 20:56.
"What a run that was for Cady. No one could have predicted that she'd take practically a minute off her best time of the season at this stage of the year, especially with the strong wind and weather. The Wesleyan course runs a little faster than ours since it's a straighter course with fewer turns but Cady was well-prepared both physically and mentally," analyzed Bellmont coach Carl Risch.
Risch noted Faurote charged out of the gate early with the leaders "and started faster than usual. She was among the top five early in the race and did a nice job keeping up her pace for the rest of the race. "
As a freshman last year, Faurote had established a personal best time of 20:31 at the regional and finished 30th. Her effort last Saturday was an all-time best time for a sophomore runner at Bellmont in school history beating a 20:05 time established by Stephanie Thatcher in 2000. In addition, Faurote's time Saturday places her fourth over-all all-time for a Bellmont girl runner behind Wendy Mahlan at 18:49, Jordan DeLong at 19:48, and Allyson Hammond at 19:54.
Despite the efforts of Moore and Faurote, neither South Adams or Bellmont will be able to advance their team to the semi-state. The top five teams move on to the Plex from the Marion regional meaning team champion Huntington North at 55, Homestead at 71, Columbia City at 83, Norwell at 109, and Eastbrook with 124 will have their entire crew run again.
South Adams' Kristen Muselman just missed out on another Saturday run as she turned in a a 20:22.94 time for 19th (the top 15 runners advance and 11 of the top 15 runners were on top five teams. Other individual runners in the top 15 were Brenda Diaz of New Haven in fifth, Emily Lehner of Southwood in eighth, Moore and Faurote),.
South Adams scored 148 points to finish sixth out of 10 teams while Southwood had 185 followed by Bellmont 204, Marion 217, and Southern Wells 259. Columbia City's Samantha Roush, a sophomore, truly dominated the event at Marion winning the 5K race by a huge 1:03.37 with a time of 18:11.78. Sophie Seward of Eastbrook was over 300 meters behind Roush in 19:15.15.
Jenna Smith of South Adams was the third Starfire finisher in 28th with at time of 20:47.11 while Adams Central's Kayla Isch was the only Jet harrier in the regional race and she ended up with a solid 21:03.31 time for 33rd place.
Other Adams County participants included Sarah Garner of Bellmont, 44th in 21:41.52, Allison Amstutz of South Adams, 45th in 21:44.44, Allyson Norby and Alexis Harvey of Bellmont, who were back-to-back at 50th and 51st in 22:05.84 and 22:21.34, Aleesha Goodwin of South Adams, 56th in 23:24.43, Amanda Noonan of Bellmont, 57th in 23:28.38, Sydne Zuber of South Adams, 60th in 23:53.55, and Amber Loshe of Bellmont, 66th in 26:58.09.
Risch again emphasized the significance of the run by Faurote by pointing out that while 11 girls broke the 20-minute barrier this year, there were 21 who did so last year in more favorable conditions. He added that both Harvey and Loshe had personal best times on the year for the Squaws with Harvey knocking four seconds off her previous best while Loshe had a huge cut going from 28:11 in the sectional to 26:58, a drop of well over a minute.
Risch said the Squaws are already excited about the possibilities for next year with several extremely strong middle school runners anticipated to make an immediate impact for Bellmont.
"Allyson (Norby) had a fine freshman season for us this year . She is also a varsity cheerleader so she'll probably have four varsity letters in her first year. Sarah (Garner) will be counted on next year as a senior as well. The only loss for the Squaws next year will be Amanda Noonan, the captain on this year's team.
The semi-state competition will feature 20 teams from four regionals and will include between 150-160 runners.