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Girls cross country: Chesterton wins New Prairie Regional

LaPorte runner ElenLancioni heads towards finish line  during IHSAA New Prairie cross country regional Saturday Oct. 13 2012 Rolling

LaPorte runner Elena Lancioni heads towards the finish line during the IHSAA New Prairie cross country regional Saturday Oct. 13, 2012 in Rolling Prairie, Ind.| Joe Raymond ~For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: November 15, 2012 6:49AM



NEW CARLISLE — There was a comfortable feeling among the top runners in the girls race at Saturday’s New Prairie Regional.

LaPorte’s Elena Lancioni was more comfortable than on Tuesday when she earned her first sectional title, though it was hardly visible on the course as the junior accomplished another career first in winning a regional crown with a time of 18:37.1.

“I felt a lot better today,” she said. “Going to school during the day (on Tuesday) is kind of a drag. I got to sleep in today — got up at 7:15.”

Her effort also helped the Slicers finish third to advance to the semistate as a team for the first time in almost a decade.

Runner-up Kyleigh Werner, who keeps adding new experiences in her cross country career, considers New Prairie her comfort zone. After not advancing out of sectional as a freshman, the sophomore posted a time of 18:52 to advance to her first semistate — which is at New Prairie again.

“It’s weird being here a second time this year,” she said, referring to competing in the annual New Prairie Invitational last month. “I know this course by heart. I went to bed thinking about the course. It’s like home to me — I’m so comfortable here.”

The most comfortable group of girls on Saturday was Chesterton, which grouped its top five runners between sixth (Hannah Hoffman, 19:35.7) and 17th (Samantha Giordano, 19:58.9) to earn first place with 50 points. That was 18 points ahead of Duneland Conference rival Valparaiso, which had finished one spot ahead of the Trojans five days earlier at the sectional.

“These seniors have really stepped up,” Chesterton coach Brian Carden said about Hoffman, Giordano and Melanie Buckmaster, who was 14th. “Giordano has really improved.”

Giordano had set a personal record of 20:29 three weeks earlier at the Culver Invite. On Saturday she was 30 seconds better. Chesterton finished on top without one of its top five, Cassidy Scott, who Carden said was just resting a minor leg injury and should be ready for semistate.

“This is what we think we should be doing,” Carden said. “It’s nice to come out here and run well.”

Other teams advancing were New Prairie and Portage, which was led by Kyra Ball’s 11th-place effort. Wheeler’s Kelly O’Shea (fifth) and KV’s Michelle Kent (seventh) both advanced to semistate as individuals.



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