The course and the situation beg for personal bests.
When area teams line up for the cross-country regional championships Saturday morning at the Ceraland course, the high stakes of moving on to semistate, perhaps a last chance to obtain a fastest time for 5 kilometers in 2020 and the goal of aiding a team will all be on the line for the Seymour boys, Seymour girls and Brownstown Central boys.
For Crothersville boys and girls and Brownstown Central girls, a good race will not help a team advance, but fast times hosted by Columbus North will still be there for the taking.
The girls race is at 10:30 a.m., and the boys start at 11:15 a.m.
The trio of full teams, plus individuals, from the others will be part of the field that progressed from last week’s sectional and want to keep running this fall.
To continue as a full team, a squad again must be among the top five. High finishers not on one of those teams go on if they are top 10 as individuals.
The Seymour boys, who won the sectional at Brown County, have the best chance to keep going as a group. The Seymour girls were third at sectional, and the Brownstown Central boys were fifth.
Columbus North’s boys are regarded as probably the toughest team in the state and held out some top guns last week. The Seymour boys saved some energy in the way they ran, as well, and understand the formidable nature of their task in this regional.
Five Brownstown boys ran personal bests last week and qualified for the regional for the first time since 2013. Top runner Nathan Koch was fourth overall, busting through the 17-minute mark in 16:50 by going out hard and staying near the front of the pack.
"He knew he wanted to be in the 16:00s," Braves coach Derrick Koch said. "I was pleased with how he did that."
Among the Braves girls, Jazzlynn Yeadon and Tori Lokey made it as individuals.
Seymour’s female scorers were Kinsley Folsom, Vivienne Siefker, Hayley Harpe, Samantha Jacobi and Grace Lewis. Jacobi returned after being out with injury. Lillian Sunbury, a top-five scorer all season, did not run and said an aching Achilles has put her out for the season.
Coach Spencer Sunbury planned to lighten the practice workload this week so his runners will be sharper.
"It will be a notable difference, where their legs will feel fresher," he said.
There is a consensus the Ceraland course is flatter than hillier, hence friendlier.
"The course is not my favorite, but it is a fast course," Folsom said.
Crothersville’s Kaylyn Holman, who had a bit of an off day in the sectional, may well be poised for a PR this week.
On the boys’ side, David Rose, just edged for the sectional title by less than one second, and Elijah Plasse are the Tigers’ representatives.
The Seymour boys are aiming for a big run with fast times, grouped closely together in the standings to provide team scoring strength. Ethan Dippold, Brandon Kleber, Michael Proffer and Jude Bane have all recorded times well under 17, and Clay Greenawalt and Connor Harris are itching to join them.
At sectional, Kleber predicted this week, Owl race times are "going to be way faster."