Getting back to normal: Lake Central rebounds from nerve-wracking week; wins Bob Thomas title
LOWELL -- It wasn't a normal training week at Lake Central, where running and everything else took a pause and, thankfully, breathed a deep sigh of relief after a reported gun threat at the school proved to be a a false alarm.
"It was scary," the Indians' Taylor Kosiek said after Saturday's Bob Thomas Invite. "We were sitting there when over intercom it says there's an active shooter, and we're all freaking out in the classrooms. We didn't know what to think. Then our coach texted, no practice, and I thought, oh my gosh, this is not good. When they figured out it was OK, everyone was really relieved."
LC coach Morgan Kleinaman would've excused her team had they not run well, but that proved unnecessary as the Indians claimed the Red Division title with 53 points. La Porte (82) and Chesterton (93) were next.
"They did good, considering the week they had," Kleinaman said. "I told them, if you don't feel good, that's OK. There's no expectations. I was very up front that night -- it's going to be very tough the rest of the week and we'll start fresh Monday. It was a crazy week. They had to double (Friday) to make up mileage. I just said, go out and run, see what you can do. They handled it well. They had a good attitude about it."
Kleinaman cancelled practice and sent the team home Wednesday, then had a morning and afternoon workout Friday, when they normally do 'an easy three miles' before school.
"We got right back into it Thursday," she said. "I wasn't there, but I think (the incident) was mentioned a little bit, but I feel like more talk was about how well everybody did with it and how well they were handling it. A lot of the girls said their teachers were calm, their classmates were calm, which helped. I'd sent a message, if you need to talk, you have your teammates, coaches, family. They had counselors available. I'm just happy everybody was safe and got to go home, and thankful it was a false alarm."
Kosiek (seventh, 20:24.48) was joined in the top 10 by Mackenzie Smith (ninth) and Sydney Churilla, with Carly Davis 13th and Krista Kulacz 14th.
"When we got home, it was just make sure you rest," Kosiek said. "Workouts on Thursday were a little off. We weren't hitting our times as good as we could have been, but we stayed with it. You could tell we were thrown off. When we came back, we chatted, just went over everything that happened, trying to recover from that stressful day. We had to block out everything that happened. We can still do this."
The race meant a little more to Kosiek as well, as she was injured and didn't run last year.
"I was excited to run here," she said. "I'm hoping the rest of the year goes good. We haven't even gone through the first month."
Kankakee Valley's Emma Bell won the Black Division race in Saturday's Bob Thomas Invitational, leading the Kougars to the team title.
Emma Bell and Kankakee Valley won the Black Division title with 37, followed by Covenant Christian (60), Hobart (66) and Boone Grove (67).
"There's plenty of competition here," Kougars coach Lane Llewallen said. "It's the first meet our team's been at full strength, so I wanted to see how we did together. She would've done well in Red, but as she said, she wanted to get her revenge, and she sure did."
Bell was on her way to an apparent win in the race last year when she took a wrong turn coming out of the woods and by the time she was redirected to the finish, she couldn't chase down Boone Grove's Kyra Flesvig.
"It would've been nice to race with the bigger schools just because I'd have more people my speed so I can push myself more; plus the race was earlier, so it wouldn't have been as hot," Bell said. "But part of me is happy I ran with these schools so I could kind of avenge it. It wasn't as fast of a time (20:17.78), but it was hotter. I can focus pretty well when I'm running, but it was hard with the heat. My legs started getting tired."
At least Bell didn't have to hustle off to a soccer match since it had been cancelled.
"This season, we've lucked out; there's only two (Saturday) games," she said. "Last year, there were like five. Basically, when I'm done running, I hop in the car and go. That's one hard thing about doing both sports. We have two soccer games a week and cross on Saturdays. It kind of wears you out, but toward the end of the year, there aren't as many soccer games, and I think it helps in the long run. It's more important to be healthy at the end of the season. I might be wavering for next year. That's the year that all the colleges look at you, but I love soccer, so I don't really want to drop it."
After narrowly missed a trip to Terre Haute last year, the goal for this season is to qualify for state.
"I got 16th, but I was like the 12th individual," she said. "I was bummed about that. I'm going to go for the top 10. That's the only way I'm guaranteed."
Addison Johnson (fourth), Audrey Campbell (ninth) and Emilee Wilson backed Bell in the top 10 for KV.
Flesvig was runner-up in 21:08.67.