Girls cross country: Elena Lancioni, Taylor Austin return to state
By Steve T. Gorches 648-3141 or email@example.com October 20, 2012 11:42PM
LaPorte's Elena Lancioni crosses the finish line in fourth place in the girls race during the New Prairie boys and girls cross country semistate held at New Prairie High School on Saturday October 20, 2012. | Charles Mitchell~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 22, 2012 6:56AM
NEW CARLISLE — If there’s one thing you can say about LaPorte’s Elena Lancioni, it’s that she put in the preparation for every race.
And heading into Saturday’s New Prairie Semistate, the junior knew what to expect while running one of the most challenging courses in the state.
“It’s rained out here the last few days and I come out here every Sunday and practice,” she said. “So I knew how wet it would be. It could have been worse.”
In some places it was wet. In other spots, especially on the infamous Agony Hill about halfway through the race, it was a little soupy. But Lancioni was able to handle it, finishing fourth with a time of 18:36.5, about a half second better than her first-place regional effort at New Prairie a week before.
It was one spot lower than last year at semistate, but that didn’t matter to Lancioni.
“Personally, I’m happy with my performance,” she said. “I’m hoping we get out as a team, though. That would be better than winning a race.”
She almost got her wish. This was the first time in 14 years LaPorte’s girls team had made it to the semistate, but the Slicers were just short in seventh place, 10 points behind Portage.
Valparaiso finished third while Chesterton was fourth to both advance tot he state finals. With five runners in the top 12, West Lafayette ran away with the race with 38 points, less than half as many as runner-up Eastern.
Winning the race individually was Warsaw’s Ashley Erba with 17:06.9. That set a state record for fastest girls time on any 5K — for about an hour. The previous low time was 17:14, but during the awards ceremony it was learned that Mishawaka’s Anna Rohrer posted a better time of 17:03.9 at the Fort Wayne Semistate.
The only other region girl to advance to the state finals was Griffith’s Taylor Austin in eighth with 19:00 flat. It’s the second straight year the senior will compete in the state finals.
“My goal was to finish in the top five, but I held on as long as I could and advance,” said Austin, who also had to matriculate Agony Hill very carefully. “It was pretty muddy and slippery. I ran along the sides of it where it was drier.”