Runners fight through heat to record solid times

Photos by Nic Antaya/The Herald
Jasper’s Andi VanMeter competes in the Tri-County Invitational cross country meet at Southridge High School on Tuesday afternoon. VanMeter won the race with a time of 21:05 and the Jasper girls team won the meet with a score of 25. VanMeter and the rest of the runners had to overcome temperatures that soared into the high 90’s at Tuesday evening’s invitational. For more photos from the invitational, click here.


HUNTINGBURG --- We may be five days into September, but everyone felt the last vestiges of summer during the Southridge Tri-County Invite.

The thermometer registered at different points in the mid-nineties, but it felt so much hotter for everyone involved in Tuesday evening’s cross country event.

“The heat was pretty tough tonight,” said Steve Sturgeon, the coach of the host Raiders. “You’re always looking to better the times, but when you have heat like this you can’t expect that. Guys were running where they need to be in this kind of heat this time of year.”

Southridge sophomore Dylan Bland and junior Brooklyn Tretter finished as the top runners for the Raiders taking fifth and 15th overall respectively in their races. Bland finished with a time of 18:20, while Tretter posted 25:18.

“Coming in I felt strong, then the heat took over,” Bland said. “Felt good for two miles, but the heat just got me.”

Northeast Dubois' Shelby Livingston competes in the Tri-County Invitational cross country meet at Southridge High School on Tuesday afternoon. Livingston placed seventh in the race. For more photos from the invitational, click here.

“I think we have a lot to work toward,” added Tretter. “I think we did what we wanted to do. I think we can only get better from here. We just need to put in more work and effort.”

Despite the less than ideal high temps the Raiders were able to boast top three finishes for both their boys and girls teams at the invitational. The boys finished in second place with 70 points and the girls tied for third place with Crawford County with 106 points. The Jasper Wildcats took first overall with the boys scoring 30 and the girls notching 25 points.

Jasper coach Kevin Schipp hoped to use this event as preparation for Saturday’s race, but still was proud of the improvements and gains he saw from his runners on Tuesday.

“I thought we had a strong night all the way across,” said Schipp. “It’s tough conditions and they did well. The boys were more conservative, because we’re really keying on Saturday’s race at Brown County. The girls ran really well. It’s good to see the improvement.”

Forest Park’s Spenser Wolf pours water on himself to cool down while competing in the Tri-County Invitational cross country meet at Southridge High School on Tuesday afternoon. Wolf won the boys race with time of 17:07 while Forest Park placed third overall on the boys side with a score of 77. Jasper won the boys meet with a score of 30. For more photos from the invitational, click here.

Junior Jackson Miller finished second overall with a time of 17:34 in the boys race and said that being familiar with this race and course helped make the run a bit easier than it otherwise would have been.

He said the team was also using the race to collectively work on their gas tanks, which tend to get extended after the first mile of a race.

“We (wanted) to save up for this weekend,” he said. “We went out, ran a hard workout. We were working on our second and third miles. We’re just trying to pace ourselves better.”

Wildcat freshman Andi VanMeter took first overall in the girls race with a time of 21:05. She determined while running that if she were to get the lead she would do all she could to keep it, despite the oppressive heat.

“I just wanted to take the lead,” said VanMeter. “It was hot but you just had to keep going.”

Forest Park also posted a nice showing as a team during the meet. The girls finished second overall with 41 points and the boys took third with 77 points. Rangers head coach Philip Wolf anticipated that his team would still be recovering a bit from their race last Saturday, but he felt the runners still came out and put their stamp on the event.

“I was pleased with their performances overall,” he said. “I think our kids came out and ran as well as they could have in this heat. I commend everyone that raced today.”

The freshmen brought home the bacon for the Rangers in both races, as Ellie Hall finished third overall on the girls side with a time of 22:11 and Spenser Wolf finished first overall for the boys with a time of 17:07.

“We all tried really hard and we go through it together,” said Hall.

Southridge's Kaelynn Luker, left, and Brooklyn Tretter pray with their teammates before the Tri-County Invitational cross country meet at Southridge High School on Tuesday afternoon. For more photos from the invitational, click here.

Wolf added, “We’re just a young team and we’re trying to get better every day.”

The Northeast Dubois Jeeps also made their presence felt with juniors Nathan Schnell and Shelby Livingston finishing fourth and seventh overall in their respective races. The boys team for the Jeeps posted an overall score of 98. No score was recorded for the girls.

“I actually felt a lot better than I expected with the heat and everything,” said Schnell. “Usually I get these side stitches and for some reason I didn’t today.”

“I feel like today was a hard meet for everyone,” added Livingston. “(We were) just trying to get through it, because we know if we get through this one it’s going to pay off the next three, four weeks.”

Northeast Dubois coach Ben Gessner echoed those sentiments when he talked about how this meet could be used to help the team get through these last couple of races before the postseason.

“Tonight was a miserable race,” he said. “(I hope) they use this as a mental boost. As far as our training, we’re getting in some pretty good workouts. I’ve seen over the last two weeks we’re improving, which is what I’m looking for coming into October.”

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