Cross country sectional preview

Races today at Vincennes University Jasper Campus; top five teams and top 10 individuals from
non-advancing teams move on to regional next weekend.

Jasper Wildcats

Boys lineup: Chris Backer, Tristan Backer, Seth Eckert, Cameron Eckstein, Jackson Miller, Drew O’Neil, Cody Schnell
Girls lineup: Melissa Bielawa, Kalen Jochum, Caitlin Knies, Leah Schnell, Alyssa Skorge, Kelsea Skorge, Kate Weaver
Last season: Boys finished second of 10 teams, with O’Neil the top returning finisher (seventh, 17:43); girls finished first of seven teams, with Schnell the top returning finisher (eighth, 22:02).
This season: Boys’ top time is Miller’s 16:23 from the Brown County Eagle Classic on Sept. 9; girls’ top time is Alyssa Skorge’s 20:44 from the Big Eight Conference Meet on Sept. 30.
Did you know: The Wildcat boys will try to knock off No. 14 Tell City, which has won the last three sectional titles. The Jasper girls, meanwhile, are the defending three-time champions but will have to fend off Forest Park, which finished ahead of the Wildcats in team scoring at two meets this season.
From Jasper: “We approach it just like every other race — the only thing you can control is what you do. ... It’s super important (to race on the home course). It’s a challenging course, and probably more of a mental advantage than a physical advantage. Hopefully we ... race the way we’re capable and we’ll be in a good position.” — coach Kevin Schipp


Southridge Raiders

Boys lineup: Ethan Bell, Dylan Bland, Jaffet Cruz, Cameron Giles, Corbin Neher, Owen Roy, Brody Voegerl
Girls lineup: Alex Hasenour, Ellie Hasenour, Evie Hasenour, Kaelynn Luker, Cheyanne Motteler, Grace Sickbert, Brooklyn Tretter
Last season: Boys finished seventh of 10 teams, with Cruz the top returning finisher (26th, 19:02); girls finished third of seven teams, with Tretter the top returning finisher (23rd, 23:54).
This season: Boys’ top time is Bland’s 16:50 from the Evansville Mater Dei Invitational on Sept. 9; girls’ top time is Tretter’s 22:13 from the Pocket Athletic Conference Meet on Sept. 30.
Did you know: Bland missed the Raider boys’ last two meets due to a shin injury, but he’s slated to race in today’s event. The Raider girls are receiving reinforcements in the form of Luker, who has not run since the season’s second race as the result of an injury.
From Southridge: “It would be awesome (for both teams to advance). That has been our goal the past few years, and this year is the year we could possibly have it happen. The boys have never advanced as a team to the regional, so it would be even more special if those teams could go the same year.” — coach Leslie Denu


Brittney Lohmiller/The Herald
Northeast Dubois' Shelby Livingston, left, and Forest Park's Magda Alvis will be among those competing today at a cross country sectional in Jasper.

Forest Park Rangers

Boys lineup: Ben Becher, Keenan Bertges, Garrett Betz, Caden Eckert, Ben Kluesner, Dustin Luebbehusen, Austin Welp
Girls lineup: Magda Alvis, Josie Berg, Abby Hauser, Claire Mehling, Ali Pund, Amber Theising, Mayson VanMeter
Last season: Boys finished fifth of 10 teams, with Luebbehusen the top returning finisher (16th, 18:10); girls finished second of seven teams, with Berg the top returning finisher (third, 21:06).
This season: Boys’ top time is Luebbehusen’s 16:51 from the Pocket Athletic Conference Meet on Sept. 30; girls’ top time is Mehling’s 19:16 from the Brown County Eagle Classic on Sept. 9.
Did you know: The Ranger boys have qualified for the regional round each of the last two seasons after missing out by one spot in 2014. The Forest Park girls, meanwhile, have played second fiddle to Jasper each of the last two seasons, placing second by a 34-60 margin in 2015 and a 38-56 ledger in 2016.
From Forest Park: “We’re going into it knowing we’re the underdog. We’re going to have to fight and scrape for every place because it’s (Jasper’s) home course, and that makes it even more tough for us to do well there. There’s always something to be said when you’re racing on someone else’s course. We’re coming in with the mindset it’s going to be a close race, and we want it to swing in our favor.” — coach Phillip Wolf


Northeast Dubois Jeeps

Boys lineup: Jaydon Arnold, Carter Beckman, Ethan Breitwieser, Pierce Brinkman, Trevor Buechler, Jeb Knies, Nathan Schnell
Girls lineup: Shelby Livingston, Hannah Schepers, Morgan Schepers, Claire Schnell, Shambly Sorrells
Last season: Boys finished fourth of 10 teams, with Knies the top returning finisher (ninth, 17:52); girls finished fourth of seven teams, with Livingston the top returning finisher (fourth, 21:10).
This season: Boys’ top time is Knies’ 16:50 from the Blue Chip Conference Meet on Sept. 30; girls’ top time is Livingston’s 21:13 from the Blue Chip Conference Meet on Sept. 30.
Did you know: Knies has led the Jeep boys in all but two races this season, giving way to Nathan Schnell at the Crawford County Invitational on Sept. 16 and the Jasper Invitational on Sept. 26. Livingston, meanwhile, has paced the Jeep girls in all but one race, the Forest Park Invitational on Aug. 17. She missed the event due to injury, and Hannah Schepers took the top spot.
From Northeast Dubois: “The last couple of weeks, both teams have really started to come on strong, the boys especially. There were a lot of improvements just through the workouts during the week, and at conference last weekend the whole team really had a great race. We’re getting fired up at the right time.” — coach Ben Gessner


Heritage Hills Patriots

Boys lineup: Nick Brinkman, Elliott Buechlein, Slade Hoffman, Mitchell Hopf, Noah Hufnagel, Sam Pinkert, Drew Priest
Girls lineup: Angie Ibilal, Ingrid Kern, Madison Klem, Elizabeth Lara, Caitlin Lueken, Elizabeth Williams, Katie Winkler
Last season: Boys finished third of 10 teams, with Hufnagel the top returning finisher (first, 16:44); girls finished sixth of seven teams, with Lueken the top returning finisher (first, 20:41).
This season: Boys’ top time is Hopf’s 15:43 from the Heritage Hills Invitational on Sept. 9; girls’ top time is Lueken’s 20:29 from the Heritage Hills Invitational on Sept. 9.
Did you know: The Patriots’ top runners on both sides surged at the sectional course during the Jasper Invitational on Sept. 26. Hopf and Hufnagel finished first and second, respectively, in the boys race while Lueken was third in the girls race and first among local competitors.
From Heritage Hills: “I think the guys could place as high as third, but there are several teams ready to take those 3-4-5 spots. We ran on the girls side several times against Southridge, and it went back and forth. That’s kind of what they’re gearing on, getting back in the driver’s seat against them. If we can beat them, we’re pretty confident we can move the girls team on.” — coach Kurt Denning

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