TERRE HAUTE—Solid performances were turned in Saturday by both Bellmont runner Bailey Beery and the SA boys cross country team at the annual IHSAA cross country state finals meet at the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course located near the Indiana State University campus.
Beery trimmed off nearly 40 seconds from her time at the New Haven semi-state that sent her as an individual runner to the state finals and her 18:33.6 clocking placed her 16th out of 208 runners. Beery had a slightly off-day at the New Haven race finishing 15th in a field of 177 but at the state finals, her time placed her higher than nine other runners that had topped her at the semi-state.
The South Adams boys were making their first appearance ever at the state cross country meet and coach Clint Anderson's squad finished 17th out of 24 teams. The Starfires ran an average individual time of 16:53 which was just a mere seven seconds out of 12th place.
Sawyer Miller of South Adams was a top 25 finisher on the boys side with a 16:13 posting that was good for 24th place. Teammate Bailey McIntire was 34th with an impressive 16:19 and Brody Shane also cracked the 17-minute mark going 16:52 for 71st in a field of 206 runners.
Daniel Velasco and Daniel Steffen rounded out the South Adams scoring with times of 17:21 and 17:44 for 120th and 144th spots respectively. Clayton Rhoades went 18:16 for the Stars and was their sixth man in 155th position and Briar Goodwin ended up 167th with a 19:29 effort.
The Terre Haute course is one designed for cross country only and has hosted numerous NCAA races in the past. Most of the runners Saturday posted slower times than they had in the semi states that were held around the state at Brown County, New Haven, Carmel, and New Prairie.
Beery's cut was the most significant drop of any of the top runners on the day as Leo's Lindsey Marriott (23rd in 18:46, an improvement of about 30 seconds) and Northfield's Jenna Haldeman (13th in 18:29.7, about a 20 second best) went faster at state.
"Bailey ran a very intelligent, smart race. Her strategy was picture perfect and that was not to go out too hard because we wanted her to save something for the hills later in the race. She ran most of the race battling for a top 10 position," noted BHS coach Carl Risch.
"A lot of people were waiting to see how Bailey would respond after having what for her was probably a sub-par semi state," Risch said, adding "she just came out Saturday and did a remarkable job to finish the season on a high note. I thought she really had a chance to finish in the top 10 but realistically our goal was top 20 which meant she would get a medal and be all-state."