COLUMBUS — For the first time all season, junior Kinsley Folsom compartmentalized her sadness and let running bring her joy.
With a clear mind in the clear autumn air, Folsom clocked her fastest time of the year and was the team’s top runner as Seymour took second in the IHSAA cross-country regional Saturday morning and advanced to semistate.
Folsom covered the 5-kilometer Ceraland Park course in 19 minutes, 43 seconds under a bright blue sky and in crisp, runner-friendly weather. The Owls scored 89 points behind Columbus North’s overwhelming perfect score of 15. The Bull Dogs took the first five spots for their score and also took sixth.
Seymour’s five scorers were Folsom, Vivienne Siefker (13th in 19:56), Hayley Harpe (16th), Samantha Jacobi (20th) and Grace Lewis (51st). The first four were awarded ribbons.
Folsom, a junior, was the team’s top runner last season, but disturbed by the death of her grandmother and a close family member’s cancer diagnosis, ran much more slowly in meets this year.
“I had a really bad mental block,” Folsom said. “I was trying to get back into my natural self. I’m very pleased with today. I’m happy with what I did. I’m happy.”
Brownstown Central was the other Jackson County team in the competition, the Braves placing 10th to end their season. Senior Paige McKain (20:40) led the squad in 23rd, and junior Maddie Schepman turned in a personal best 23:59.
“The cold weather was nice,” Schepman said of temperatures in the 50s. “I PR’d, and I was wanting to.”
Coach Maria Conklin liked the way her group of seven, including five underclassmen, performed. She was especially pleased with McKain, who qualified for semistate as an individual.
“We ran really well,” Conklin said. “Paige ran a great race going under 21. The training worked. Hard work pays off, and the weather today was perfect.”
The only other Jackson County school represented was Crothersville. Senior Ella Plasse finished 58th in 23:07. Tiger senior Kaylyn Holman qualified but did not run.
Seymour’s girls made the biggest noise among the local threats. Folsom, who pioneered wearing pink knee socks last year (she can be seen coming from far away), went out aggressively near the leaders on the route that is mostly flat and picked off some front runners as she strode.
“I thought I got stronger in the stretch,” Folsom said.
Siefker, whose own sartorial splendor committed to lime knee socks, said she had hoped to run better on a day that was so inviting for good running.
“I was ready for the race, but the race wasn’t ready for me,” she said. “As long as I finished, I was happy.”
The atmosphere carried a buzz, before, during and after the race, providing the big-meet feel that often leads to fast times. Siefker said she definitely prefers large gatherings more smaller meets.
“It definitely hypes you up,” Siefker said.
Jacobi was another member of the knee-socks club, displaying turquoise. She wore them more in support of her shin splint problem rather than to show off the color. Then she praised their vividness anyway.
“These things rock,” Jacobi said.
She and her teammates also hope they can rock and roll with fast times Saturday at semistate on the Brown County course.
“I’m really excited everybody’s doing well,” said Harpe, who ran 20:09 as the third Owl. “I’m just ready for next week.”
Coach Spencer Sunbury, who rated the regional showing as very satisfying all-around, said he hopes so, too.
“I’m very happy,” Sunbury said. “We knew it would be a fast race. The girls came out and ran well.”