Girls Cross Country Dominates Halfway Through Postseason Run


Tommy Berry

Image provided by Tommy Berry on the Chesterton Athletics website.

Gigi Hanner

The girls cross country team may be halfway through their postseason run, but the girls are just getting started. The team heads to Semi-State this weekend after coming in second at the Sectional meet and taking home the Regional Championship last weekend.

At the Sectional meet, Chesterton placed 6 runners in the top 20. Senior Bailey Ranta led the team with a 4th place finish, and senior Catherine White was close behind her in 5th. Junior Alyssa Dunlap received 8th, senior Bree Gentry got 10th, and sophomore Ali Sierazy got 17th. Senior, Addison Leady rounded out the top 20 with her 20th place finish. 

At the Regional Championship meet last weekend, there were 3 Trojans in the top 10. Ranta led the pack once again with her impressive 3rd place finish. White finished out the top 5 and sophomore Ciara Bonner finished 8th. Junior Grace Carpenter got 11th, senior Isabella Smith got 22nd, Leady got 27th, and freshman Caroline Mills got 41st. 

An interesting new strategy the team has been using is rotating which runners run each week. At both the Sectional and Regional meets, two different groups ran. For example, Dunlap did not run at regionals, and Carpenter didn’t run at sectionals. This allows the girls to rest and save their full power for the remainder of post-season.. 

With Semi-State and State still ahead, it gives runners an opportunity to strategize for the coming weeks, but also reflect upon the season to this point. 

“I feel that the team performed really well, we definitely stepped it up from previous seasons,” Carpenter said. 

     Carpenter noted the differences between regular and postseason training, saying “Our workouts for postseason are more speed-based, while previously our workouts were based more around building endurance.” 

     Looking ahead to the rest of the season, Carpenter hopes for the team to finish in the top 5 at state in two weeks, and her teammates are right behind her.

“I’m really loving the new approach to racing that our coach gave us this year. During the regular season, she had Varsity runners race only on certain weekends, which saved our legs a lot for the upcoming races that matter most in the postseason. So many girls have really stepped it up this year, and it’s really exciting to look at those results on paper and see all the low times and placements,” White explained.  

     As for team bonding, White thinks it has improved, saying “It definitely helps a lot that all of the girls on the team are always cheering everyone on and supporting each other whether it’s a tough workout, a race, or just a normal run. It really helps keep everyone excited and motivated to work hard for not just ourselves, but for the whole team.”

     Additionally, White expressed her pleasure with this season, explaining “I’ve been pretty happy with my performance this season as well as the entire team’s. The fact that our coach hasn’t been running the team at full force with all the strongest runners, and us STILL being able to snag the DAC and Regional titles again is pretty promising for our upcoming goals for the semi-state and state meets.” 

As for goals, White wants to keep her momentum going.

     “Personally, my goal is to place top 25-30 as an individual at state, and top 10 at semi-state. After the state meet I have one or two more postseason meets that I have been invited to run at, and I’m really excited for some tough competition in the upcoming weeks to be able to really challenge myself!” White concluded.

With all of the hard work that the girls cross country team has put in, their endurance, motivation, speed, and perseverance will take them far! The Sandscript wishes them luck this weekend at the Semi-State meet, and next week at State as they will represent us wonderfully!