Wildcat harriers make it a clean sweep

Photos  by Kaitie Sullivan/The Herald
Jasper's Jackson Miller crosses the finish line in first place during Tuesday's Tri-County Invitational cross country meet at Huntingburg. Miller finished the race in first place. For more photos from Tuesday's meet, please click here. 


HUNTINGBURG — “The Show Must Go On” is a phrase often used in show business.

The expression could have been slightly altered to “The Race Must Go On” Tuesday evening as the temperature still hovered above 90 degrees at the start of the Tri-County Cross Country Invitational at Southridge.

With less than ideal conditions, the race was, indeed, run, and Jasper came out with team titles in both the boys and girls meet, as well as taking the top individual spots.

The Wildcats ran away from the field in the boys meet with a team score of 23, with second-place Orleans a distant 61 points out, while the Lady Wildcats nipped Northeast Dubois, 42-47.

Jackson Miller crossed the finish line first in the boys race in a time of 17 minutes, 2 seconds — three seconds ahead of teammate Drew O’Neil, and five seconds better than Southridge’s Dylan Bland.

“It was definitely super hot,” Miller said. “So my strategy, as well as some of our other top runners, was to just go out and run as easy as we can while still winning the race.”

Miller nearly had to alter that strategy in the beginning.

A pair of runners from Orleans jumped out ahead of the pack for the first few hundred meters.

Miller admitted he had not run against them before, and was not sure what to think.

“At first I was a little worried because I didn’t know them,” the Wildcat runner said. “But then I noticed they were starting to come back to us a little bit, so I was not worried after that.”

Orleans’ top two finishers came in 14th and 15th.

At the two-mile mark, Miller and Bland were leading the way, as the two competitors were running stride for stride. Then Miller made his move.

“I could hear him starting to breathe a little heavy and I felt just fine, so I decided I would pick it up to see if he would go with me,” Miller explained. “He didn’t really, so I decided I was fine to keep going.”

With less than half a mile left, O’Neil overtook Bland for second place.

Jasper placed six runners in the Top 10.

Pierce Brinkman finished in fourth place with a time of 17:17 as the top finisher for Northeast Dubois.

Forest Park, which finished six points behind Orleans in third place, was led by Bryce Troesch’s eighth-place effort.

On the girls side, Andi VanMeter repeated as individual champion for the Lady Wildcats.“The beginning was really hard because it was so hot, but as the race went on, I just kind of got used to the heat,” she said.Like Miller, the sophomore also talked about the heat.

The sophomore finished the 3.1-mile course in a time of 19:50 — a minute faster than her winning time last season.

“I was hoping to break 20 minutes today, so I am happy with that time,” she said.

Jasper's Andi VanMeter competes during Tuesday's Tri-County Invitational cross country meet at Huntingburg. VanMeter finished the race in first place. For more photos from Tuesday's meet, please click here. 

Unlike Miller, VanMeter decided to make her move earlier in the race.

Running with Forest Park’s Ellie Hall and Northeast Dubois freshman Jordan Schweikarth for the first mile, VanMeter started to break away.

“That’s kind of the point when I have decided to make my move in the first two races of the year, so I figured I would stick to that same plan today,” she said.

She also learned from her first two races of the year.

“I kind of went out too fast in the first mile, so I wanted to try and be more conservative today,” the sophomore said. “It worked, and I ended up having a lot more left today.”

Hall finished second — 35 seconds behind her teammate's pace — while Schweikarth finished with a time of 21:28.

Jasper’s Kelsea Skorge (21:53) finished fourth and Northeast Dubois’ Sara Livingston rounded out the Top 5 with a time of 22:06.

Forest Park finished third in the team standings, while Southridge placed fourth.

The Lady Raiders, who were running on their home course for the final time this season, were led by Evie Hasenour’s 11-place finish with a time of 23:15.

Jasper, Southridge and Forest Park will all participate in the Brown County Classic on Saturday, while Northeast Dubois will run in the Crawford County Class Invitational.

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