Siefker, Ratliff twins preparing for state cross country meet today


Vivienne Siefker of Seymour and Chance and Shane Ratliff of Brownstown Central will run in the biggest cross country race of their careers today at Terre Haute.

They will run in the high school state finals at the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course at Wabash Valley Sports Center with the boys race set to start at noon and the girls race will begin at 2:30 p.m.

Seymour girls coach Spencer Sunbury and Brownstown boys coach Bailey McIntire are familiar with the course. Sunbury has coached runners on that course in the past, and McIntire ran on that course all four years. He was on the South Adams High School team, then ran there as a member of the Purdue University men’s team for five years.

The Ratliff twins ran on the course when they were in eighth grade, while this is Siefker’s first trip to the course.

The runners qualified for the state by placing in the top 25 in their respective races at the Evansville Regional last week. Siefker placed 24th in the regional with a time of 20.03.8, while Shane was 21st in the boys’ race at 16:10.6, and Chance was 24th at 16:12.7. The Ratliffs said those were their best times of the season, while Siefker said she ran her best time in the Brown County Sectional at 19:48.8.

The runners said they have trained hard this week by running several miles, and doing some 400s each day.

Siefker is a senior and the Ratliff twins are juniors, and all three run distance events in track. Sunbury and Siefker went to the course on Friday night where she had ran on the course. McIntire is taking the Ratliffs to the course early this morning where they will go over the course before the meet.

Chance said after he found out he had qualified for the state.

“I was just super happy. I knew it was going to be close to making it out,” he said. “I was seeded 24th and I knew going into the race that anything could happen. I knew if I had a good race, I had a good shot at making it out.”

Ratliff spoke about how he felt during the postseason races.

“Luckily, everything fell into place. My body felt good, and I ran a really good race overall and I made it out so I couldn’t have been more happy with the day,” he said. “At regionals I went out really hard and I was able to keep that. I had a really good last kilometer and I caught a bunch of people and had the best finish I’ve ever had.”

“I would love to break 16, but because of the course, that might not be possible. I’m just going to go out there and run as hard as I can and see what I can do. It’s been great. I got a lot better (this season) than I thought I would. I’m looking to keep getting better. I’m not satisfied yet. There is work to do.”

Shane said he was seeded 34th at the regional and ran hard to finish 21st, and he was proud of that. “I just go out and try to get a good, hard first mile and just try and stay on that pace. I try not to get boxed in. At regionals, I ran on the outside because there were a lot of runners.

“I know (state) is a difficult course,” Ratliff said. “I’m just going to try and use the down hills to attack those up hills and try and run a good time. We’re going to try and be under five minutes (after the first mile). We were under five at regionals and it felt really good, and I ran a really good second mile.

“I’m usually around 10:30 after the second mile. At regional I was at 10:10. I’m just going to do the best that I can. I have no expectations for this race. I’m going out to have fun. It’s kind of a learning experience. The top 100 would be a good goal for me.”

McIntire said, “Terre Haute is a ‘cross country’ course. It’s very hilly, and it’s usually wet somewhere. It’s just a tough course, so if you’re not ready for a tough race, then it will chew you up and spit you out. I’ve been on good and bad days there.

“If you want to be good, running is an all-year-around sport if you want to be good at it. They have definitely put in the hours every day, all winter, all spring. Cross country training starts a week after state cross country. It never ends if you want to be good.”

McIntire said they are competitive with each other.

“They are twins, so there’s that rivalry going back-and-forth. They tend to keep it pretty friendly most of the time. It’s a good competition, it’s encouraging. It’s good to have those little back-and-forths. It works really well for the two of them.”

Vivienne Siefker spoke on preparing for different weather conditions later in the season

“The weeks leading up to regionals we were running in cold weather with rain. It was getting our lungs ready for that type of weather. Then regionals hit and it was perfect weather. It was good weather and fun to run in. (this week).

“I just want to enjoy my last high school running experience, and give it all I’ve got because this is my last race for high school. Hopefully, I’ll get to run in college.”

She began running in third grade and said, “I’m not a speed person. I don’t do well with sprints. I like to run comfortably. I just enjoy running. I would choose to run 10 miles over two. It’s just the more mileage there is, the better I do.”

She talked about the experience she has gained. “I’ve learned along the way that every course is different, so you’re going to race every course a little differently. I’ve kind of gotten a technique that’s helped me. I need to learn to be more open to any kind of race.

“I feel like it’s been a pretty successful year so far. Just being strong and not having any big injuries that stopped me has really helped. Making it to state was a big part of it. Now that the stress of trying to qualify is over, now I have nothing to lose.”

Sunbury said she ran a strong race at the regional.

“It was one of the best races that I’ve seen her run this year. She did everything she was supposed to. We talked about what it would take to get her out. She moved up every K (kilometer) in the race. The first K she was about 29th or 30th and she ended up finishing 24th. We didn’t worry about times, it was more about positions. She just kept going for runners.

“I’m pretty optimistic. She’s felt really good this week at practice.” He said sometimes runners get so hyped up for the regional that it is hard to get up for the next race, but he doesn’t see her having any trouble getting ready for state.

“She’s been really upbeat, really confident, so I’m looking forward to her going and having another good race like she did at regional. She’s come into herself these last couple weeks. It’s exciting to see her so fired up,” he said.

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