"Make it Happen:" Chesterton boys win New Prairie Semistate title
NEW CARLISLE -- "Make it happen."
Chesterton's boys cross country team adopted the simple yet profound mantra for the post-season earlier this month after its clunker at the Duneland Athletic Conference meet.
"You're not going to walk in and have anybody every hand you anything," Trojans coach Tim Ray said. "In anything, cross country, whatever, you've got to keep working at it. You have to go make it happen. You have to go run the race and live with the results."
Looking every bit of the team that won the New Prairie Invitational in mid-September as opposed to the DAC version, Chesterton stood atop the field in Saturday's semistate on the very same course, posting 92 points to ease past Warsaw (118) and Crown Point (119) for its first title since 2009 and third in program history.
"We did the win New Prairie Invitational in mid-season," Ray said. "Crown Point's a really good team. It was a telling point, a confidence boost that we could be pretty good, that we could battle to be in the top six here. If we give it our best, we'll be all right and if things fall into place, we'll have a shot to win. It was just a solid race. The message was we don't need to do anything out of ordinary. We've talked all year, just do what we've done the entire year, be ready to go, and we were. At conference, we were up tight. We just have to try to relax, and we were able to bounce back."
What figured to be a coin flip finish took a turn Chesterton's way when Crown Point's Anthony Saberniak, a fifth-place finisher in the C.P. Regional, lost a spike in the first 300 meters, ran the remaining 4,700 with just one shoe, and finished 43rd.
"It was just bad luck," Bulldogs coach Erik Forehand said. "(Chesterton) raced extremely well and deserves all the credit. Their top five was straight up better than ours. Even if he has his shoe and a great race, they still win."
C.P. had Quinton Bock surge late to finish second behind runaway winner Lucas Guerra, who defended his title with a personal-best time of 15:26.7. Chesterton was led by Matthew Streeter in fourth (16:15.8)
"I couldn't be happier for a kid," Ray said. "He had stress fracture his freshman year and was out seven months. He was banged up his junior year, but he had a successful track season (as a sophomore) and that carried over into cross country last year. We came out with cautious with him, but he had a good semistate and he's put together a solid season."
Streeter has also suffered from shin splints and didn't run as a junior until the conference meet due to a stress reaction.
"It's a great feeling," he said. "I haven't felt something like this since track my sophomore year, when our four-by-eight (relay) won the regional. I had some
Quinton Bock was runner-up in Saturday's
New Prairie Semistate, helping Crown Point
to a second-place team finish.
hardships, some races I didn't run, but I feel like everything came together. We like to race following people rather than having a target on us. We were confident, we just ran the race we needed to run, and the team was able to pull it off."
Cole Dolson was 15th (16:32.6) and Josh Dennington 21st (16:39.2) with freshman Evan O'Connor 35th (16:53.4) and Jackson Tuck 41st (16:58.6). Josh Tuck (54th, 17:11.7) and Reece Erow (104th, 17:47.6) capped the Trojans lineup.
"Our pack did what it's done all year," Ray said. "Evan and the two Tucks ran together well. They weren't with our No. 3, but they didn't panic. That's the last thing you want to do. Just stay smooth, stay the course and grind it out."
Outside of Saberniak's misfortune, Bock was the big story for C.P., roaring late to overtake Cole Raymond of La Porte for second.
"Quinton had one heck of a race," Forehand said. "He was in a good spot early on, then was able to make a move at the end of the race. It was one of those situations where Cole was out by himself and then (Quinton) was with the group of the next five, six, which makes it a lot easier. He was prewtty patient early on and then he worked off that and was able to outkick them. I'm really proud of him. We did OK. We were really going for the win, but it is what it is. We still advance to state, which is an accomplishment in and Matthew Streeter of Chesterton was the top
finisher for the meet champion Trojans in
Saturday's New Prairie Semistate.
of itself. We'll see if we can rebound there and maybe get top 10. That would be great."
For Lake Central (165), coach Jeff Rhody was breathing a sigh of relief that the Indians, one, got to run, and two, qualified. Jordan Duggan returned just two days prior from quarantine and finished 74th. L.C. was also without Kyle Birgel (eighth in the sectional) for the second week in a row due to mononucleosis.
"At first, we thought, oh my God, it's COVID and we could get shut down," Rhody said. "That's every team's nightmare right now. This isn't really what we wanted, but we've a lot going on, a lot of moving parts. We've had to overcome a lot of things. We came in with hopes of doing a little better, but in the end, we've fought through a lot. Josh didn't have a great race, he's disappointed with himself, but we're not dealing with a dual meet here, this is a big boy race. In the best years, it's a crazy meet. We came in with high hopes, high aspirations, but I'm happy with guys. We're going to the state finals. That's always a great thing."
Munster (222) claimed the sixth and final qualifying spot in what may be coach Aaron Brown's final year. The 30-year coach is mulling retiring, but isn't sure.
"I think it means more to them than it does to me," Brown said. "It was rough over the summer, not training with COVID. We weren't allowed to do workouts, but a lot of them did stuff on their own until to the point we could start officially training. We've been kind of up against it. We had a couple guys (Korey Allen and Ari Arzumanian) out in the sectional. I looked at the meet beforehand, there were five teams we couldn't beat, but nobody else could either. Six to 12, anybody could get out if they ran good enough. I think the big thing was we had seven runners ahead of some others' four and five. appeared to be slower times. It was the right formula to make it out."
The state berth is the Mustangs' sixth since its first time in 2006.
"I like the fact that speaks to our continued excellence," Brown said.