By Dylan Wallace | The Tribune
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Crothersville freshman Dirk Crater was fresh off a PR time last Saturday coming into Tuesday’s Hardy Lake Invite at Hardy Lake.

But Crater had only been to Hardy Lake once in his life, and it wasn’t for a race. After running three relatively flat courses to begin the season, Tuesday’s course was a rude awakening for the Tiger.

“I had no idea coming into the race what I was gonna do,” Crater said. “I’ve done hills in practice, training and all of that, but it was brutal today. I’ve only been to Hardy once in my life, so I just ran.”

Crater wound up finishing 44th place overall with a time of 21:54.99. Crater’s PR time last Saturday was a 20:31.84.

Crater wears a compression sleeve over his left knee because he injured his knee while running and there’s inflammation, so he wears the sleeve to put pressure on it.

The freshman said after the first two miles on Tuesday, he felt pretty fatigued, and that’s where he wants to get better at as the season goes on.

“My time and my endurance,” Crater said. “I want to be able to run the first two miles and not be done for. Today was brutal. I need to work on my endurance and I want to try to break 20 (minutes) before conference.”

After the boys race, which was won by Austin as a team with a score of 47, the girls took off across the hilly terrain.

Right from the start, Crothersville’s Kaylyn Holman was at the front of the pack along with Charlestown’s Jessica McCoy and Shawe’s Calli Alderman.

McCoy was able to pull away by the second mile, and she won the race with a time of 20:47.33.

Holman comfortably placed second overall, earning herself a medal with a time of 21:04.25. After the race, Holman instantly put ice on her knee, which she said has been bothering her for the past week.

“I raced pretty good, but my knee was hurting pretty bad throughout the race,” Holman said. “I think I went out pretty good in the race, but as it went on, it (my knee) hurt more and more.”

Holman said Hardy Lake is by far the hilliest course the Tigers will run on this season. But it is the location for Crothersville’s sectional, so Holman wants to improve at this course when that time comes.

She wants to get down to around a 19:30 for sectional, and then get closer to 18:30 as the postseason advances. Holman was running low 19’s in 2020, so the senior believes she can work toward those goals.

The next Tiger to come across the finish line was Ella Plasse, who placed 12th overall with a time of 23:30.80.

Plasse set a personal goal for herself for her senior season, which is to run under 25 minutes in every meet.

“There were definitely some times when I was running up a hill where I looked down at my watch and was like, ‘I don’t think I’m gonna get,'” Plasse said. “But luckily I made it.”

Plasse admits the race felt terrible, but she was happy with her place and time on Tuesday. She also believes her time was PR for Hardy Lake.

Plasse was sporting a fake red lightning bolt tattoo on her left forearm, which is a tradition she has started for the Tigers this year. All the girls on the team, and even Crater, had a lightning bolt tattoo somewhere on their arms on Tuesday.

Plasse found them at a store and thought there would be more of a variety, but it turned out there were about 75 lightning bolts.

“I was like Ok, guess I’m bringing these to meets now,” she said. “I don’t know why I started it. I thought it’d be cool and help us run faster maybe.”

Rounding out the finishers for the Crothersville girls were Kennadi Lakins in 24th place with a time of 27:17.83, and Kiarra Lakins in 31st place with a time of 28:39.03.

For Trinity Lutheran, the Cougars had two girls place in the top 25.

First was Cheyenne Campbell at 18th overall with a time of 25:43.25, and then Jocelyn Love placed 25th with a time of 27:18.27.

Holman received a medal for placing in the top 10, and Plasse, Kennadi Lakins, Campbell and Love all received light blue ribbons for placing in the top 25.

Love had a strong kick down the straightaway at the end of the race to get inside the top 25.

“It hurts a lot, but honestly if you get the place and time that you want, it’s worth it,” Love said.

Tuesday was the second race for Trinity’s racers, and since the Cougars can’t formulate a team score, running for time is the name of the game. For Love, she wants to try to get under 26 minutes.

“Just dropping time because placement isn’t really what matters,” Love said. “Dropping time is the main thing.”

Love and Campbell will be racing again this Saturday at the Brown County Invite, where Seymour and Brownstown will be as well.

As for Crothersville, they will next compete on Tuesday at the Eastern (Pekin) Invite at 5 p.m.

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