By Justin Sokeland
BEDFORD – Without traction, without mud tires and 4-wheel drive, Bedford North Lawrence sloshed its way to impressive conclusions. Glancing at the runners ahead, rather than the watch on their wrist, powered the Stars through a wet Scott Hiles Invitational on Monday afternoon.
Running with the purpose of passing, BNL finished second in the nine-team girls race on its home course, totaling 90 points. Seymour won the team title with the top three finishers and a sparkling score of 19 points. The Stars were third among 10 teams in the boys race.
Splattered but not stirred, BNL sophomore Grace Tanksley glided over the muck and mud, crossing the line in fourth place (22:24.58) to help the Stars reach their target team position.
She’s had more fun on other race days, but mental toughness was Tanksley’s key. This was true cross country, with water hazards and murky trails to traverse and conquer.
“We were all in the same race, we were all suffering the same way,” Tanksley said. “You had to keep that mindset. Understand they were running thorugh the mud, too. It was bad. The mud was everywhere, too many times to count.”
Their shoes might never dry out, but it was worth it. Myra Roberts was 14th (24:36.21) and Lindley Steele was surprisingly quick (25:22.03) in the grime while finishing 18th. Lynnae Greene (20th in 25:30.63) and Emily Bartlett (46th in 28:22.59) capped the BNL scorers.
“We were running for position, that’s what we were worried about,” BNL coach Jill Vance said. “So I’m pretty happy with this. We were going for second, knowing Seymour was going to be dominant. And the course conditions were abysmal.”
Seymour’s Makenna Sunbury was the individual winner in 20:55.61.
In the boys race, Bloomington North – as expected – had a cavalry charge of leaders with four among the first five finishers (for a winning team total of 20 points). But BNL’s Cooper Holmes kept pace, just a few strides back, and crossed in sixth (clipped at the wire by .19 seconds for the next spot) in 17:34.19.
“We know they do that, so we follow them and stay within a good distance,” Holmes said. “We kind of use them as pacers. It was pretty sloppy, but I’ll take the place. We came in racing today, rather than going for times. It’s good to get races in.”
How sloppy was it? One runner made the finish line without shoes, lost somewhere on the two course loops that comprise the 5k track.
Seymour was second with 54 points while the Stars (with Isaak Gilbert, one of their top runners, sidelined with an injury) posted 81.
“I was very impressed,” BNL coach Jon Calhoun said. “We had less than two days rest (after the Tiger Run in Louisville on Saturday), and we knew it would be a messed-up course. But we weren’t worried about the times, just making sure we tried to compete. We got tested today.”
Colton Sons was 21st overall in 18:38.81, while Brayden Lanham was 24th in 18:54.96 and Ethan Vaughn was 25th in 18:55.57. Cole Baker, a freshman, was a surprise fifth scorer for the Stars, flashing across in 28th place in 18:59.97.
North’s Paul Rushton was the individual champion in 16:37.91.
The Stars will return to action at Columbus North on Sept. 7. The BNL girls will race in the North Harrison Invitational on Sept. 5.
SCOTT HILES INVITATIONAL
Team scores – Seymour 19, BNL 90, Mitchell 113, Brownstown 115, Orleans 127, Eastern Greene 128, White River Valley 138, Lawrence County Christian 180, Linton 219
Top finishers – 1. Makenna Sunbury, Seymour 20:55.61; 2. Grace Rennekamp, Seymour 21:55.55; 3. Kinsley Folsom, Seymour 22:24.58; 4. Grace Tanksley, BNL 22:24.58; 5. Christiane Davis, WRV 22:53.24
BNL – 14. Myra Roberts 24:36.21; 18. Lindley Steele 25:22.03; 20. Lynnae Greene 25:30.63; 46. Emily Bartlett 28:22.59; 70. Katelyn Moody 38:06.74
Team scores – Bloomington North 20, Seymour 54, BNL 81, White River Valley 126, Eastern Greene 148, Brownstown 175, Orleans 185, Mitchell 215, Linton 238, West Washington 316
Top finishers – 1. Paul Rushton, North 16:37.91; 2. Mason Childers, North 17:18.08; 3. Henry Streib, North 17:27.18; 4. Luke Plummer, Seymour 17:30.12; 5. Nolan Bailey, North 17:34.00.
BNL – 6. Cooper Holmes 17:34.19; 21. Colton Sons 18:38.81; 24. Brayden Lanham 18:54.96; 25. Ethan Vaughn 18:55.57; 28. Cole Baker 18:59.57; 35. Isaac Williams 19:20.27; 44. Andrew Rohloff 19:45.86.