By Justin Sokeland
BEDFORD – And they ran, they ran so far away, they ran both night and day, trying to get away from bad memories.
Bedford North Lawrence’s boys cross country team, spurred by the lack of postseason success a year ago, went the distance to prepare for the 2019 racing season. The Stars logged mile after mile, in the summer heat, in the rain, in the mud, for a shot at redemption.
Last year, BNL was stunned in the IHSAA sectional on its home course, finishing sixth and failing to advance to the second round of the state tournament series. With a veteran cast returning, including a pair of semistate qualifiers, the Stars are chasing a deep run and new, sweeter memories.
“We thought we had a lot of potential last year, but I don’t think we lived up to what we had,” BNL senior Cooper Holmes said. “That really motivated us this summer to work hard. We had a good off-season.”
Holmes, who advanced to the regional and semistate as an individual (along with teammate Ethan Vaughn), will lead this pack in its pursuit. Holmes finished 130th in the semistate, while Vaughn crossed in 136th, and Brayden Lanham was an additional regional qualifier.
“I expect more growth this year,” BNL third-year coach Jon Calhoun said. “We have a solid group, and I feel we’re more talented this year than last, even after losing two seniors. Our overall depth is pretty good.
“That’s our motivation. We got upset at sectional. We had some good individual performances, but as a team our goal is to make it pretty far, to see if we can compete in the regional.”
Team success requires depth, with five scorers, and BNL will be counting on additional improvement from Isaak Gilbert and Colton Sons.
“We have to work together as a team, keep on pushing each other,” Calhoun said. “You’re supposed to increase your miles as your body matures, so they’ve really put in the effort. I feel like it will be beneficial.”
BNL will be senior driven, with nine upperclassmen on the roster. Holmes, who also had a successful season as a distance runner during the spring track campaign, will be among those leading the way.
“I’ve always been outspoken, so I like being a leader,” he said. “I like taking the responsibility.”
BNL will open the season on Aug. 17 in the Valley Kickoff Invitational on the Lavern Gibson Course in Terre Haute.