Boys cross country: CP wins first regional since 2004
By John O’Malley Post-Tribune correspondent October 13, 2012 11:42PM
Munster's Tom Bolanowski (left) and Ryan Kritzer lead the pack early in the race during the Crown Point Cross Country Regional at Lemon Lake Park in Cedar Lake, IN on Saturday October 13, 2012. | Jim Karczewski~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 15, 2012 6:51AM
CROWN POINT — Munster’s Tom Bolanowski put himself in position to win the Crown Point Regional. But it was Lowell star Kyle Eller, the defending champion, who managed to overcome Bolanowski, hold him off, then keep him from winning the race.
Eller successfully defended his title at Lemon Lake County Park, winning in 16:08 on Saturday, while Bolanowski placed second (16:23) — five seconds ahead of Lowell’s Brian Blaylock (16:28) who was a surprising third.
Crown Point’s Alex Ray was fourth, and teammate, Tom Cierniak, was fifth.
The Bulldogs placed five runners among the top 20 to capture the team title with 59 points. Daniel Walters placed 11th, Jacob Langbehn, 19th, and Zane Celmer, 20th.
Hobart placed second (79), while Munster (84), Lowell (85) and Lake Central (91) all qualified as teams for next Saturday’s New Prairie Semistate.
Bolanowski, however, appeared to have a good strategy for the race.
“Basically, I wanted to start out and get as good a lead as I could, set as good a pace as I could,” he said. “I was trying to get a good distance between me and the rest of the field. I was trying to get some of the other runners to come up and run with me. I knew Eller would eventually catch up to me. I wanted to go with him after he caught and passed me. When he passed me, he got too far ahead and I couldn’t catch him.
“I was a little disappointed at the end, but I knew I still had a little left to catch Ray, and I got him on the uphill. I think it was definitely a good race for me, especially with Eller in the field.”
Crown Point’s Tom Cierniak was proud of his teammates after they followed up Tuesday’s sectional title with a regional championship. It was the Bulldogs’ first regional title since 2004.
“We wanted to get the streak started again and then hand it off to the next group to keep it,” said Cierniak, who placed fifth in 16:32. “I felt like I did well, but I was hoping to be a little bit higher today.”
Bulldogs’ coach Keith Iddings was thrilled his athletes performed at a high-caliber.
“Our top three carried us as they have all season,” he said. “The guys ran so well today. It was just a phenomenal effort by all of them. Our number four and five runners were right together, right where we needed them to be. Our five (Zane Celmer) has really come along and steadily improved for us throughout the season.”
While the weather conditions were anything but perfect — a windy and cold rain with temperatures dropping — but the Bulldogs didn’t let that affect them.
“The weather wasn’t perfect, but I guess for us, today, it was perfect. For us, it worked out great. The kids just did a great job.”
Iddings was particularly pleased his top three runners — Cierniak, Ray and Walters — could lead the team to a regional title.
“Those three have been running together for quite a while,” he said. “To have them see the fruits of their labor pay off like this is just great.”