By Justin Sokeland
BEDFORD – Bedford North Lawrence’s Myra Roberts burst through a recent barrier, now she’d like to bring others along for a long run.
Last season, Roberts was the first BNL runner in five years to qualify for the IHSAA semistate race. Now the junior leader needs some teammates to surge forward as the Stars start the season-long chase for postseason success.
Roberts, now a junior, is one of the key returning veterans for BNL coach Jill Vance, who hopes to guide the Stars past the sectional for a third consecutive season. With a short-handed roster, everyone in a BNL uniform has to be ready to contribute.
“We have to hope everyone steps up,” Vance said. “We can’t afford to have anyone who isn’t working. Everyone will have a role in carrying this team. If they don’t, we don’t have anyone to step in and fill their shoes.”
Depth might be a concern, but talent at the top is not. Roberts finished 26th in the regional (with a career-best race time of 20:47.22) and 84th in the semistate. Grace Tanksley, another fixture in the scoring column last season, is also back to keep pace near the front of the pack.
Vance is also counting on significant contributions from Lynnae Greene. After those three, BNL will need instant help from young newcomers as Vance looks for replacements for departed veterans Autumn Spence (moved to Colorado), Emily Johnson (transferred to Lighthouse Christian) and Danielle Kittaka (graduated).
“It will be an interesting year,” Vance said. “We’re down on numbers, we lost some people to graduation and different schools, so it will be interesting to see how the pieces fall together. We don’t really know yet.
“It’s an open question right now, who will finish as our scorers. We’ll have to see how the other girls do and how they look.”
Despite the lack of numbers, BNL has not adjusted its prime objective.
“We definitely plan to get to the regional,” Vance said. “And we’d love to get to the semistate. We certainly have a chance to get more than one runner to the semistate individually this year.”
BNL will open the season on Aug, 17 in the Valley Kickoff Invitational on the Lavern Gibson Course (site of the IHSAA state finals) in Terre Haute.