Cross-country quest for state begins Saturday

Four semistates will take place across the state of Indiana for cross-country, and the top six teams and top 10 individuals on non-qualifying teams will punch their ticket to the state meet next Saturday in Terre Haute.

Both Seymour’s boys and girls teams and three individuals from Brownstown Central will be competing in the semistate today at Brown County, slated to start at 11:30 a.m.

For the Seymour boys, head coach Randy Fife knows it’ll be hard for the Owls to get out. In 2020, Seymour was predicted to finish 11th out of 20, but the Owls ended up placing 7th, just one spot short of qualifying.

“You never know,” Fife said. “We’re hoping to run well and let the chips fall.”

Leading the way for Seymour on Saturday will be Jude Bane. There’s a good shot that if Seymour doesn’t qualify as a team, Bane could make it as an individual.

He’s been running in the 16:20’s this season, and Fife thinks if he can get down to around 16:15, he’ll put himself in good position.

“Jude is ready to fun fast,” Fife said. “He has been going out strong. At our semistate, if you don’t go out strong, there’s not a lot of room to pass. I think he’ll get out strong and that’ll help him.”

Getting out fast is a big key at Brown County, which gets narrow in the first kilometer of the race and then again when the runners head into the woods.

Fife wants his whole team to get out strong, and if they do, they could find themselves in faster packs, which could help their times and positions.

“I think we should be very fresh this Saturday,” Fife said. “I think the kids are expecting to run fast.”

Even though the Brownstown boys team didn’t qualify out of the regional, Chance and Shane Ratliff both made to semistate as individuals.

The Ratliff brothers are freshmen on the Braves cross-country team, and head coach Derrick Kock is excited for their future.

The experience they will both get this Saturday will be valuable in the coming years of their careers.

The Braves’ girls team also didn’t qualify, but Paige McKain will be racing as an individual as well.

McKain has been the top runner for Brownstown all season long, and it culminated in a 23rd finish for her last week at regionals in 20:40.

McKain will be looking to PR on a very fast Brown County course today.

The team in Jackson County that has the best chance to make it to Terre Haute next week is the Seymour girls team.

Spots 4-8 in the Brown County semistate are all up for grabs, and Seymour is hoping to snag a top-6 finish.

“I was pleased with how we ran last Saturday,” head coach Spencer Sunbury said. “I’m hopeful with what we’ve done this week, we’ve gotten them ready. They have some extra energy to them this week.”

The start is important for Sunbury’s squad as well.

Seymour took it easy at the start of sectionals and regionals, but that won’t be the case for semistate.

“Gonna have to get out and fight through that pack,” Sunbury said.

Making her season debut for Seymour today will be senior Lillian Sunbury. Lillian has been battling injury since the summer, but she hopes to play a role in advancing Seymour to the state meet.

“That’s our plan. We’ll give her a shot tomorrow,” Spencer Sunbury said. “She ran a practice on Saturday and made it through and had a really good day of running this week.”

Spearheading the Owls’ pack this season has been Vivienne Siefker and Kinsley Folsom, who like Bane, have a chance to qualify as individuals if the team doesn’t make it.

But the goal is to advance as a team, and the girls have had a positive attitude throughout the week in training.

“Yeah, they’ve been staying positive,” Sunbury said. “We know it’s going to be a tough one. We’ve told them just be positive, keep an open mind, and if any day is to discover something about yourself, (today) is the day.”