INDIANAPOLIS — The difficult semistate hosted by Franklin Central lived up to expectations. The location and course had changed, but the talented field was still present.

At the course at Central State Park in Indianapolis, some of the top runners and teams in the state made a bid to reach the state finals next week in Terre Haute. The top five teams and top 15 individuals earn a trip to the finals.

One local runner reaching that goal is Rushville junior Jacob Laird. The Lion harrier ran up front the entire race and crossed the finish line eighth in 15:45.

The dream of the state finals was realized as Laird crossed the line.

“It felt awesome. When I saw the finish line, I knew I had reached my goal,” said Laird after the race.

Laird was in the front of the pack as the competitors made the long run up the initial straight-away.

“They (fellow competitors) went out a little slow, which was a surprise,” said Laird about the early stage of his race. “I felt good and smooth — the race started well for me.”

After some of the competitors tried to make a break from the others, Laird kept his pace and caught some of the competitors in front of him.

“I felt good mid-way through the race. Some of the guys that jumped out early came back to me, so I felt pretty good where I was,” said Laird.

Knowing he had to finish in the top 15, Laird kept an “unofficial” count of where he was throughout the 3.1 miles.

“I knew I was between five and ten. I didn’t want to drop below ten. If I could stay there, I felt pretty confident,” said Laird.

“I was a little fatigued at the last turn, but that’s to be expected. I still felt confident I could finish strong,” added Laird.

Pendleton Height’s Brock Hagerman won the race with a time of 15:03. Warren Central won the team title with 92 followed by Carmel with 121.

Rushville finished 17th as a team.

The next Lion to cross the line was Steven Cumberworth with a time of 17:09. Brian Marlatt crossed in 17:14. Drew Hood was next in 18:08. Cory Parks ran an 18:33. Keith Hoeing completed the course in 19:14 and Robbie Tompkins finished in 19:21.

For the girls, Carmel finished with 63 to edge Westfield (75) for the team title. Rushville was 20th.

Lawrence North’s Erika Utter won the race with a time of 14:38.

The Lady Lions were led by Emily Kemple with a time of 16:43. Kayla Hoeing was next to cross in 17:06. Becky Sorber finished in 18:06. Laura Neuman ran an 18:11. Amanda Miller and Amy Bare both crossed the line in 18:22. Kayla Gentry finished in 18:37.

Recommended for you