Cross country: Three runners erase bad memories at Chesterton Sectional
By Steve T. Gorches 648-3141 or firstname.lastname@example.org October 9, 2012 11:16PM
LaPorte's Elena Lancioni heads for the finish line and 1st place with a time of 18:43.8 during the Chesterton Cross Country Sections at Sunset Hill County Park in Valparaiso on Tuesday October 9, 2012. | Jim Karczewski~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 11, 2012 6:32AM
VALPARAISO — Through a brisk wind at Sunset Hill County Park on Tuesday afternoon, the scent of redemption was in the air, whether it was in the girls race to start the Chesterton Sectional, or the boys race to finish it off.
Elena Lancioni started by redeeming herself after the last two years of sectional efforts. They were pretty good — second as a freshman and third last year as a sophomore — but the LaPorte junior wanted to be the last girl announced in the awards ceremony.
Mission accomplished as she pulled away in the second half of the race to post the top time of 18:43.8.
“I was more nervous today than usual — it’s been a week since my last race,” Lancioni said. “I wasn’t worried about my time. I was just going for the championship. I felt it was time to win this race.”
She was followed by Rachel Thompson of New Prairie, Kyleigh Werner of South Central and Alison Mundell of Valparaiso, which won its third straight team title — and 20th overall to move into a tie for third-most in the state — with 51 points, 18 better than runner-up Chesterton.
New Prairie, Portage and LaPorte were the other three teams advancing to Saturday’s New Prairie Regional, while Wheeler’s Kelly O’Shea finished eighth to advance individually (top 15 runners move on).
Werner’s third-place effort was also redemption in that it was 13 spots better than last year as a freshman. Simple math tells you that put her one spot from advancing.
“Yes, that’s for sure,” she said when told about the improvement in placement. “I was worried about my time and improving it, and I did by a minute.”
On the boys side, Valparaiso’s Peyton Reed admitted he wasn’t happy with finishing fourth individually in the Duneland Conference meet 10 days ago. He redeemed himself by finishing ahead of everyone on Tuesday in leading the Vikings to a second straight sectional title and 16th overall.
And it wasn’t close with Vikings placing first, third, fifth, seventh and eighth for 24 points, more than 60 ahead of Portage. Just for good measure, Xavier Reed and Pat Dalton were ninth and 10th for Valparaiso.
“I definitely felt I had something to prove after the DAC,” said Peyton Reed, who topped his personal record by 10 seconds with 15:35.9. “I wanted to get first.”
Wheeler finished a surprising third while Chesterton and LaPorte will also head to the regional. Boone Grove’s Jon Hogg was the only individual from a non-advancing team to qualify for the regional as he barely finished 15th, four-tenths of a second ahead of 16th.
The Vikings stuck to their effective pack mentality, but coach Mike Prow also didn’t want any over-exertion.
“We’ve got one of the best sectionals in the state, so the competition spurs you on,” he said. “But we didn’t want to kill ourselves. Three races in 11 days can wear you down.”