NEW CARLISLE—Five lifetime best runs and four season best efforts on one of the toughest cross country courses in northern Indiana propelled the Bellmont girls to a sixth place finish in the mid-school division of the New Prairie High School Invitational Saturday out of 33 teams that participated.
"What a performance" exclaimed Bellmont coach Carl Risch in analyzing the results for the Bellmont girls. "Every week now we have been getting closer to where we want to be at the end of the season and when we have girls make a season best or lifetime best time on a difficult and challenging course such as the one at New Prairie, well I was just very proud of their finish," he finished.
One of the largest invitations in the United States, the New Prairie event hosts nearly 100 teams in a large school, mid school and small school division. "In looking at the times, I think we would have won or at least been real close to winning the small school division," noted Risch.
The veteran BHS coach said he was elated over the performance of the top Bellmont runner, Cadence Faurote, who finished 21st overall out of 192 runners in the mid school division in 20:10.8
"This was easily her best time of the year (previous was 20:34) but the thing I find amazing is that Cady ran 21:20 here last year and was 59th. She would have been 58th this year with that same time but she dropped well over a minute and improved 38 places. You just don't see most kids find this kind of improvement over one year," he noted.
Faurote's lifetime best time was at the IHSAA regional last year at 19:58 so she now has that target well in sight. "Saturday's run was realistically the best race she's ever run considering the type of course she ran on," praised Risch.
Freshman Bailey Beery had set her all-time best this year at the Manchester Invitational in 21:25 but shattered that mark with a 20:42 time at New Prairie to take 34th place.
Senior Sarah Garner ran 21:31 last year in this meet but on Saturday crossed the finish line in 20:45.2 for a lifetime best and improved her overall finish from 67th to 37th with the new time.
"An unbelievable progression of improvement" was how Risch labeled the run of freshman Emily Gunsett. Gunsett was the fourth BHS runner at 54th in 21:10.8 but in her past three races has shaved nearly one minute per race off her previous best. "She's already a good runner, works hard in practice, stays in pretty good shape and is really getting use to cross country (Gunsett along with Beery also plays soccer for Bellmont). No matter what the condition of the course is, she continues to post large improvements," Risch stated.
Sophomore Allyson Norby was the final Bellmont scorer and was 88th in 22:16.8. This time reflected a one minute improvement and "is a step in the right direction for Ally. I'm looking forward to seeing what she can do later in the season because she struggles a little with asthma so as we start running in cooler weather, her times should continue to noticeably improve," Risch said.
The sixth BHS harrier was Alexis Harvey who lopped off 1:24 from her previous season best of 24:02 to go 22:38.1 for 99th place. Another freshman runner, Marie Fisher, was 43 seconds better in 25:19.9 for 164th.