Cross country state: Valpo boys finish third in ‘super fast field’
By Dave Melton Post-Tribune correspondent October 27, 2012 8:06PM
Ari Coulopoulos, a junior running for Valparaiso High School, head to the finish line where he crossed with a time of 15:45.4 for a 15th place finish. The 67th Annual IHSAA Boy's Cross Country State Finals was held at The LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course in Terre Haute Saturday, October 27, 2012. | Doug McSchooler~for the Post-Tribune
Updated: November 29, 2012 6:58AM
TERRE HAUTE — One year after a disappointing seventh-place performance at the cross country state finals, the Valparaiso boys returned to the podium with a third-place finish at the 2012 state meet.
“Our guys executed the gameplan that we’ve set forth from day one,” said Valparaiso head coach Mike Prow. “I don’t have any complaints about how we raced.”
Carmel’s score of 93 earned them first-place honors, while Fort Wayne Carroll took second place with 116 points, ahead of Valparaiso’s 149. A faster-than-expected race caught some of the Vikings runners off guard.
“All of the sudden, I looked up and saw we were at the 4K mark. Then I heard someone yell 40th (place) to one of the guys in front of me,” said Valparaiso junior Ari Coulopoulos, who then surged to a 15th-place finish to lead the Vikings. “We were really far back with just one kilometer to go.”
Said Prow: “It was a super-fast field. The split times were fast for all of the leaders. Our guys came through the splits exactly when we wanted them to at every spot but they were still way back.”
A slow start out of the gate didn’t help the Vikings, either.
“At 400 meters, I bet we had most of our guys in the last 50,” Prow said. “But they didn’t panic, they just kept moving up. Our splits were all faster than they’ve ever been.”
After Coulopoulos finished 15th with a time of 15:45, the next Viking to cross the finish line was Peyton Reed in 29th place with a time of 16:10. Taylor Bissachi (30th place, 16:11) and Landon Davison (34th place, 16:12) were close behind. Andrew Lyp earned Valparaiso’s final points in 46th place with a time of 16:26.
Despite improving upon last year’s success, there was still some disappointment among Vikings over the final results.
“There are a lot of different ways to run a race. We picked one that we thought would work. It’s worked in the past,” Coulopoulos said. “We were just focused on running those even times and, all of the sudden, this whole course just flew by. Maybe we moved a little bit too late.”
Prow added: “We knew we didn’t run our best race as far as competing with other guys. But we said that, going into this race, we wanted to have blinders; we didn’t want to worry about anyone else. We wanted to run our race.”
“Maybe next year we’ll pick it up a notch at the beginning and try to be more competitive at the front.”
Making their first state finals appearance in school history, Lowell finished in 16th plave. Fellow NCC squad Hobart took 19th.