Area runners close at New Prairie Semistate

NEW CARLISLE — As long as an athlete gives his best effort, there’s not much more a coach can ask.
And since — realistically — neither Plymouth nor Culver Academies had cross country teams that expected to reach the state finals, Saturday’s IHSAA semistate at New Prairie was a chance to finish the season on a high note.
Or, at least, try to.
“Everybody ran reasonably well,” said Eagles coach Mike Chastain following the 5,000-meter tournament in New Carlisle. “Our job (next year) will be to improve. That’s what we will work on.”
Culver Academies finished 15th out of 20 teams in both the boys and girls semistate races. Plymouth’s girls, meanwhile, closed their campaign with a 19th-place finish.
Only the top six teams and top 15 individual finishers advance to next weekend’s state meet at the Wabash Valley Sports Center in Terre Haute.
Olivia Martinez of Culver Academies came the closest of any local runner to making it. She was 39th in the girls meet, clocking 20 minutes, 18.4 seconds. And midway through the race, she made a game effort to reach the cutoff mark.
“Olivia actually moved up to 30th, then the last 1200 (meters) or so, she lost a few places,” said Chastain. “I was pleased with Olivia, because she should have been in that position if she was running well.”
Hannah Buggein, who got off to a great start, ended up 59th for the Eagles, clocking 20:44.9.
Stephanie Ma (100th), Kennedy Thompson (110) and Sarah Jamieson (118) closed out the Eagle scoring.
Plymouth’s girls were led by Libby Read, who clocked 20:58.5 and took 69th place with a strong finish.
Abby Patrick and Brooke Wagner came in almost side-by-side, placing 86th and 87th, respectively. Both were in the 21:18 range. Shelby Harrell was 115th and Meagan Fisher 120th to complete the Pilgrim scoring.
At the least, Plymouth can celebrate making a third consecutive trip to the semistate.
Warsaw senior Ashley Erba — the defending state champ — continued making waves as the fastest female cross country runner in Indiana history. She clocked 17:06.9 to shatter the previous semistate record of 17:53.9 set by Culver Academies’ Waverly Neer in 2010.
However, Erba lost her “fastest ever” title about 90 minutes after the New Prairie race, as Mishawaka sophomore Anna Rohrer clocked 17:03.9 to win the New Haven semistate in Fort Wayne. It could be an epic battle for the state championship next Saturday.
Leopoldo Burguete of Culver Academies had realistic hopes of running in the boys state finals as an individual, but for whatever reason, Saturday was an off-day. He slipped to 47th place, clocking 17:04.9 in the boys semistate race. A week earlier, Burguete ran 16:20.9 at the regional.
William Hibbard’s 70th place finish (17:25.7) and Harris Allen in 86th (17:36.3) backed up Burguete. Landrum Neer was 104th and Brennan Hussey 135th for the Eagles.
“Besides Polo, everybody ran either close to their PR (personal best) or PR’d,” said Chastain of the Eagle boys. “We’re pleased with that.”
Alec Kostelnik of Morgan Township gave small school fans a reason to cheer by winning the boys individual title in 15:45.9. He passed Warsaw’s Jacob Poyner with about 1,000-meters to go, then held Poyner off down the homestretch.
West Lafayette’s girls and Valparaiso’s boys each claimed team titles.
• NEW PRAIRIE SEMISTATE
At New Carlisle
BOYS
Team scores: Valparaiso 45, Warsaw 60, McCutcheon 189, Hobart 189, West Lafayette 207, Lowell 209, Munster 210, Crown Point 211, LaPorte 230, Portage 231, Lake Central 249, Wheeler 279, Chesterton 302, Rochester 306, Culver Academies 384, Western 402, Lafayette Jeff 405, Frankfort 501, Twin Lakes 514, Carroll (Flora) 551.
Top 20 finishers: 1, Alec Kostelnik (Morgan Twp.) 15:45.9. 2, Jacob Poyner (Warsaw) 15:49.0. 3, Kyle Eller (Lowell) 15:57.8. 4, Robert Murphy (Warsaw) 15:59.4. 5, Ellis Coon (Warsaw) 16:03.4. 6, Ari Coulopoulos (Valparaiso) 16:03.9. 7, Taylor Bisacchi (Valparaiso) 16:07.4. 8, Nick Arndt (New Prairie) 16:12.2. 9, Anthony Didion (LaPorte) 16:13.5. 10, Landon Davison (Valparaiso) 16:14.1. 11, Dunn Brent (Hobart) 16:15.5. 12, Peyton Reed (Valparaiso) 16:18.3. 13, Cooper Williams (West Lafayette) 16:18.8. 14, Joel O’Shea (Wheeler) 16:20.0. 15, Alex Ray (Crown Pt) 16:20.6. 16, Tom Bolanowski (Munster) 16:22.3. 17, Jacob Wickes (McCutcheon) 16:24.9. 18, Pat Dalton (Valparaiso) 16:24.9. 19, Brian Blaylock (Lowell) 16:30.7. 20, Kevin Kenney (Chesterton) 16:31.6.
CULVER ACADEMIES: 47, Leopoldo Burguete 17:04.9 … 70, William Hibbard 17:25.7 … 86, Harris Allen 17:36.3 … 104, Landrum Neer 17:58.6 … 135, Brennan Hussey 18:48.6 … 144, Daniel Paulin 19:14.1 … 148, Steven Muthart 19:45.2.
GIRLS
Team scores: West Lafayette 38, Eastern (Greentown) 93, Valparaiso 167, Chesterton 172, Warsaw 180, Portage 184, LaPorte 194, Rochester 238, New Prairie 256, Lake Central 267, Crown Point 286, Harrison (Lafayette) 319, Hobart 341, Hebron 367, Culver Academies 382, Munster 391, Twin Lakes 396, Seeger 407, Plymouth 424, Frankfort 572.
Top 20 finishers: 1, Ashley Erba (Warsaw) 17:06.9 (SEMISTATE RECORD). 2, Bobbie Burgess (West Lafayette) 17:38.0. 3, Bethany Neeley (Eastern-Greentown) 18:18.3. 4, Elena Lancioni (LaPorte) 18:36.5. 5, Madeline Lilly (Twin Lakes) 18:51.1. 6, Anna Bearss (Rochester) 18:51.3. 7, Grace Lachmund (West Lafayette) 18:59.2. 8, Taylor Austin (Griffith) 19:00.0. 9, Lauren Johnson (West Lafayette) 19:05.0. 10, Sarah Ray (Warsaw) 19:05.1. 11, Kristen Johnson (West Lafayette) 19:08.3. 12, Cailey Daluga (West Lafayette) 19:11.3. 13, Rachel Thompson (New Prairie) 19:15.4. 14, Brittany Neeley (Eastern-Greentown) 19:17.3. 15, Delaney Barber (West Lafayette) 19:18.9. 16, Kyra Ball (Portage) 19:21.5. 17, Olivia Johnson (Harrison-Lafayette) 19:23.9. 18, Anna Meyer (Rochester) 19:38.4. 19, Sarah Wagner (Eastern-Greentown) 19:39.6. 20, Mindy Whidden (Hobart) 19:42.6.
PLYMOUTH: 69, Libby Read 20:58.5 … 86, Abby Patrick 21:18.3 … 87, Brooke Wagner 21:18.8 … 115, Shelby Harrell 22:03.4 … 120, Meagan Fisher 22:17.0 … 132, Miranda Hacha 23:13.4 … 140, Haven Winkler 24:13.4.
CULVER ACADEMIES: 39, Olivia Martinez 20:18.4 … 59, Hannah Buggein 20:44.9 … 100, Stephanie Ma 21:39.0 … 110, Kennedy Thompson 21:56.4 … 118, Sarah Jamieson 22:13.0.