Cross country races for MIC Championship

Nick Wilson | Staff Writer

The boys and girls cross country teams hit the road this weekend for one of the most important meets of the year. They will be racing for the MIC championship against the seven other rival schools in the conference. With both the boys’ and the girls’ conferences having over five teams ranked in the top fifty in the state, the conference races are filled with rigorous and demanding competition.

“Our goal is to finish top half of our conference. We are looking forward to the challenge,” girl’s head coach Wes Dodson said. “We can not control the lack of success of other teams. We can only try to run to the best of our abilities. So as long as we compete and do our best, I will be happy.”

As for the boys team, their goals consist of placing in the top three teams, finishing with two runners as All-Conference and average a time of 16:40 for the top five runners for the 3.1 mile race.

The cross country teams step into this year’s meet with the boys team ranked 31st in the state (3rd in MIC) and the girls ranked 49th in the state (5th in MIC). The team steps into the MIC race with few races under their feet including the Flashrock Invitational where the girls finish 2nd overall and the boys 3rd, and the annual Halftime Meet where both teams defeated the conference rivals from Warren Central.

“For the team to do well, we all need to just run, not think about anything else, and remember the work we did at practice, and just run the race,” junior Archit Malik said. “The MIC meet gives us a chance to defend our stance in all the conference rivalries.”

Harrell also sees this as an opportunity to show leadership to younger teammates, as three of the team’s top 8 runners are freshmen or sophomores.IMG_6066

“I can encourage the girls to always do their best and to always push the pace not only in a race but in practice. Unlike the years prior, I am able to lead the team in practice and act as a leader to the younger girls.”

Both teams are also fairly young and inexperienced in high school cross country, with only one senior in the top five runners for both teams. Two-fifths of the varsity cross country point-scorers are also made up of freshman, including Raef Sauer and Christian Antal for the boys, and Hudson Gilstorf and Rebecca Stockman for the girls.

“As a newcomer, I have been able to step up to the challenge by just staying focused on my goals, my body, and always making sure to push myself to the limit on workouts,” Sauer said. “I can attribute my success so far to following Coach Harrell’s instructions and pieces of advice, and doing them to the bets of my ability every day.”

Gilstorf also has aimed to improve the team and herself stepping up to the conference meet.

“Looking up to the older girls on the varsity team has pushed me and has inspired me to step out of my comfort zone with running,” Gilstorf said. “I admire their success and determination. It has inspired me to step up to improve on each run.”

Saturday’s conference meet at North Central, a course the teams have not run in recent years, will be a chance for both the girls and boys cross country teams to run against some of the best competition in the state.

Cross Country gears up for important final races of the season

Aaron Toland | Staff Writer

  The Center Grove boys cross country team is nearing the end of their season and beginning to look toward important end-of-season and post-season meets.

  These next two meets— the annual MIC and county meets — are what the team has been preparing for the whole season. These meets act as the last opportunity for JV runners to get a personal record (PR), and also act as the final test for varsity before their vital state tournament meets. Coach Howard Harrell and the team are hungry for the results that they know they are possible of running this season.

Harrell has 17 seasons of CG cross country coaching under his belt. Each season he uses the Ben Davis Invitational as a measuring stick for how the team compares to past teams.

“The top five runners on a team are the ones that score for the team,” Harrell said. “Looking at the top 5 runners for each year [at the Ben Davis Invitational], this year’s top 5 runners are the 11th fastest out of 17 teams. This year’s team is just below average compared to other teams.

IMG_0430Although the team’s results at Ben Davis were just below average compared to teams in the past, Harrell knows the team is on track.

“We are right where I expected us to be at this point. All the big meets are at the end of the season, and that is when we run our best,” Harrell said.

There are two meets left in the season, but the meet that the team values exponentially more is MIC.

  “Varsity wise we aim for the MIC meet and the semi state meet,” Harrell said. “One can not peak for each and every meet, so we are not saying county is not important, but we are aiming to two different meets. Nevertheless, the team’s goal since day one has been to place third at MIC and first at county.”

Throughout this season, one varsity runner and one junior varsity runner in particular have pleasantly surprised the coach the most.

  “Archit Malik has to be the biggest surprise,” Harrell said. “ He ran JV track last spring, but over the summer he kept getting better and better.  All of a sudden he was varsity cross country.  Then he was top 5, then top 3, then, well, who knows exactly how high or far he is going to get.”

It’s not just varsity runners who have shown growth this season though.

“Michael Goebel might just be the next biggest surprise,” Harrell said. “His work ethic went through the ceiling about mid-season, and that is exactly when his PR times start to really drop.  He went from a mid-pack JV runner to running with the varsity on most days of the week.”

Harrell also lists several other runners as the X factors for the team’s success in MIC.

 IMG_0431 “X factor number one would be how well Nick Wilson runs,” Harrell said. “Early season he was one of our top runners but as of late he has experienced a rough spot.  If he can get back to where he was, he’ll be in the front pack.”

Wilson’s teammate, senior Sebastian Martin, also figures to be an important factor come race day.

“X factor number two would be how well Sebastian Martin races,” Harrell said. “He has been running great in practices but has not put it all together on race day. He continues to work hard, and I am confident his hard work will pay off soon.”

The team is also led by seniors Steven Mills, Chris Jones, Nick Ellis, Connor Walsh and junior Ethan Stanley.

  With MIC being this Saturday, the practice is over and the test is finally here. Harrell feels confident in the team’s potential for success.

  “We’ve been gearing up for the MIC meet from the start. We have gradually picked up the miles and the intensity the whole summer and season until this week,” Harrell said. “We are holding back a little this week to recharge the body for an epic race at MIC on Saturday.”  

Cross Country: More Than the Distance

Alainey Kovacs | Staff Writer

The common perception among most people tends to be that running track and cross country are very similar if not exactly the same. Most people believe that running is running no matter what, but they do not realize the differences between running cross country and track. Seniors Nicole Kissler and Tori Martin, who both have experiences running track and cross country, have a strong opinion about lumping the two sports together.

For Martin, cross country is more exciting because it’s a new course each week.

“In cross country you get to run on different courses each week where in track you run in circles,” Martin said. “Running the same course each time can be boring and repetitive. Running on different courses brings challenges. As a runner, you are always trying to get a personal record for the year and even for your entire career. Some courses are way harder than others depending on hills and the layout, so changing up the courses allows for more opportunities to get your fastest time on easier courses.”

Not only does cross country offer a change in scenery each week, but it also provides more team activities.

“For me, cross country is my favorite over track because team bonding is key in cross country,” Martin said. “Everyone runs together versus track where everyone has their separate events. We have a certain break down that we do before meets and after every practice, and we always do a team prayer before each race. Also, after morning practices we even try to go and get breakfast together as a team. On Fridays for practice we always have a different theme and creative outfits to make the practice fun.”

For Kissler, the atmosphere and the bond is essential on any team. She values the cross country rituals that track lacks.

“I like cross country way more because we are more of a team,” Kissler said. “Junior varsity and varsity always watch each other and cheer because we compete on the same day, which in track, JV and varsity compete on different days.”

nicole kissler xc

Nicole Kissler ’18 runs 4k at annual football halftime course while sun sets.

It’s not just meet days where JV and varsity come together though. It’s also outside of cross country.

“In cross country we do fun team activities,” Kissler said. “Every Thursday night we have team dinner at Fazoli’s. At the end of the season we do secret pals.”

While the team atmosphere is one highlight for Kissler, she also enjoys the simplicity of a cross country race.

“From a running perspective, I enjoy running a 5k over any type of race that track offers and it is nice to just have one race instead of worrying about multiple events,” Kissler said.

Whether trying to obtain a personal record on a different course each race or participating in a team ritual before every meet, cross country is more than just about the distance ran. It’s about supporting each other and working to get better every day.

Cross Country Draws New Student to Center Grove

Emily Putman | Staff Writer

Screen Shot 2017-08-22 at 10.56.11 AM

You can’t tell where a person comes from just by looking at them. Some students have been in CG schools their whole lives; others are new.

One of those new students is Sadie Schemmel, a freshman this year. But she’s not just new to CG schools. She’s new to school.

Schemmel has been homeschooled since she was in third grade. However, when she discovered that she could no longer run cross country competitively once she reached high school, she decided to go into public school.

Schemmel knew that cross country was her passion, so she made the decision to introduce herself back into the schooling system.

“I knew that it was what I loved to do, so it was an instant decision,” Schemmel said. She said she loves to compete and is eager to continue to run throughout her high school career.

Schemmel says she is adjusting to school life well: she’s made new friends and plans to join drama club.

“I want to do the drama club […] mainly spotlights, if possible,” she said.

She has a lot of experience. She’s been involved with productions of Elf, Beauty and the Beast, and Les Miserables. She plans on nurturing her love of drama as a student.

While she says she enjoys almost everything about Center Grove, there is one thing that bothers her: “The iPads. They’re definitely something I’m not used to,” said Schemmel.

Schemmel is a new student this year at CG like many others. However, her transition to the high school is pretty dramatic, all because of her passion for the sport she loves.


Singing and…Running?

Most people associate staff member Jennifer Dice specifically with music classes, but many are not aware that she has another particular interest, running.

“I started running in college, I actually ran track in high school and by ‘ran’ I mean I ran to somebody’s house and ate during practice and then came back, I hated running” Dice said.

Despite her dislike of running in high school, her opinion has since changed drastically.

“I started running in college and began to love it, and it was really a way to keep off the freshman 15 but then it sort of turned into an addiction.”

Dice has continued to run ever since, even taking part in the Boston Marathon in both 2005 and 2009. Her fastest run, however, was in 2011 when she was the second female to cross the finish line of the Carmel Marathon with a time of 3:25:47. Interestingly enough, as she neared the finish line in this race, she grew tired and slowed down to a crawl. She was about to stop, but at just the right time a biker rode beside her and gave her what amounted to a pep talk to keep her running; he would not let her slow down.

While Dice was thankful for the support, she said, “At the time I wanted to kill him.”

As the years went on, Dice’s love of running has extended past her own personal running. For five years, she helped coach the varsity girls cross country team with Wes Dodson, but had to stop after having children. She does, however, train with the team from time to time.

“I run with them occasionally, I’ve been a little more consistent in doing it a couple times a week,” she said.

Dice strongly encourages those who want to try out running to just go for it.

“You don’t have to just be in high school to run, you can be any age. There are tons of races every weekend, just pick one. I would encourage people to start with something small and set a goal, just go after it, once you’ve completed one, you get a sense of satisfaction in that you’re likely going to be compelled to do another one,” Dice said.

Dice fully acknowledges the irony in that running was once an activity she hated in her time in high school, only for it to turn into an “obsession” in her college days.

“I would say you try something once and maybe you don’t enjoy it but try it again later in life and see, because you just never know when things may click at that moment and it just works for you.”