Rain sidelines boys, turns meet into ladies night

Herald Sports Editor

BRETZVILLE — Ladies first.

Sorry, guys.


The best cardio workout Forest Park senior Austin Haake got all night Thursday was when he scrambled to help his coach haul chairs and other equipment to safe cover when rain started pelting the surrounding cross country course at Cedar Crest Intermediate School. Otherwise, the chivalrous scheduling of the Forest Park Invitational turned into a workout and showcase for the girls only.

The ladies squeezed in their race, with Jasper (74 points) placing second behind Evansville Memorial (25) while Forest Park (108) was fourth and Heritage Hills had four runners finish and did not record a team score — though Patriot sophomore Sienna Crews led everyone by gliding to a 10-second victory. The boys got left out.

With teams lined up for the start of the night’s final race, organizers pulled them off the course about 15 minutes before severe storms trucked through Bretzville and washed out the meet.

A frustrating finish for sure, because rain hasn’t interrupted too many workouts lately. Typically, temperature has been the primary nuisance for runners who tried to maintain their mileage in one of the hottest summers on record.


Sydney Berger, meanwhile, simply ran more. Slowed by anemia a year ago, Berger felt her energy come back near the end of last season, and she logged about 40 miles per week this summer — about 10 more per week than she did the prior summer. She’d run with teammates at 6 a.m. workouts, then hit the pavement a few hours later on her own for another few steamy miles.

“I knew I just had to do it, and it would help me later on in the season,” Berger said of training in the heat. “I wanted to be up (near the top of the lineup) this season, because I didn’t really get to last season. It was kind of just fuel for this season.”

So far, it’s worked as Berger ran second for Jasper and 11th overall Thursday.

Third-place Hannah Welsh (21:34) was the top Wildcat, with Luci Hulsman 12th, Madison Dorsam 28th and Jennifer Lynn 34th. Placing 20th was Shelby Greis, who’d never run cross country before this season; she had signed up to run next month’s Heartland Half Marathon but put those plans aside when a few people suggested she’d be strong enough to run for the high school team.

“All the girls ran well. Really happy with how we are in the season, and a lot of room for improvement,” Jasper coach Kevin Schipp said. “Hannah Welsh ran a great race, a smart race; I really look forward to seeing what she can do. She ran a good time tonight on probably one of the tougher courses we run, one of the tougher courses in the state.”


The winding, hilly layout claimed a victim when Jasper’s Mary Lechner — who was running in the top 10 at the time — got entangled in a gully near the midpoint and sprained an ankle. Heritage Hills’ standout could empathize with Lechner. Crews ran side by side with Memorial’s Maria Mehringer before kicking out to a lead near the hilly stretch in the woods. She finished in 20:33 and showed no signs of some discomfort she’s feeling after a summer spent training conservatively.

“I think I probably could have trained more, probably could have done some more running, maybe (on the) weekends,” Crews said. “I hurt my ankle close to the end of June and I keep hurting it, and it’s just really weak now. I took some time off around the beginning of July and then I started back again, to try to give my ankle a chance to heal a little.”

Forest Park also expects to liven the pace soon.

Nicole Rahman ran seventh for the Rangers, followed by the cluster of Sabrina Becher (22nd), Savanna Haas (24th), Nicole Epple (25th), Sarah Brosmer (30th) and Braylee Graman (35th). Ranger coach Philip Wolf wanted to spend the first few weeks of the season building a base of fitness among all his runners who’d put in varying mileage — and with the accomplished, things get fast soon as the Rangers incorporate speed training.

“Where my middle pack was, my 2, 3, 4 and 5 (runners) weren’t too far behind (Rahman), I think they’re all going to move up as the season goes on,” Wolf said.

“Middle of next week, once I add on speed, they’re going to greatly move up and get closer to the front, and Nicole’s going to gain more speed to motivate her to run further up in the pack.”

And maybe next time, the boys will get to join. But it’s the fall season, which means Haake’s used to all brands of wicked weather.

“Last summer it was still pretty hot, and we were running in that. And by the time we got to semistate, the bus ride over to the race, our breath was turning in to ice on the bus,” Haake said. “We’re used to running in about everything.”

Contact Brendan Perkins at bperkins@dcherald.com.

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