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Lauren Kelley wins SIRC Female Division

By John Estridge, Sports Editor

Franklin County High School junior Lauren Kelley is accustomed to success.

As a sophomore cross country runner, she won the Connersville Sectional, something not done by a FCHS female in its history, and she eventually advanced to the Shelbyville cross country semistate where she finished 39 out of 179 female runners with a time of 19:30.

At the sectional, her winning time was more than a minute ahead of the second-place finisher.

But this summer Kelley, 16, won something that may be even more coveted by her. She won the Southeastern Indiana Racing Circuit series for female runners with a total time of 1:43.49. It was 27 seconds ahead of second-place finisher Kim Johnston, 48, College Corner, Ohio.

SIRC is a circuit of five 5K races in southeastern Indiana. Cross country teams from each racing venue host the race and take in the funds from that individual race. They are held in Aurora, St. Leon, Brookville, Milan and Batesville.

Kelley's times in the five races are: 21:17 at Aurora; 20:51 at St. Leon; 21:05 at Brookville; 20:37 at Milan; and 19:59 at Batesville.

“With the conditioning I have been going through all summer, it was a relief,” Kelley said. “Now that I am fully dedicated to running, I am happy that I took the opportunity to participate in the circuit. It was a great experience, and I view it as a stepping stone in the hope of qualifying for state (finals) later in the fall. I look forward to participating in it next year, not only does it benefit our team but also the other cross country teams.

“While building up these cross country programs, you make everyone better,” she continued. “Also, speaking of building cross country teams, we are in need of more female runners. Currently, we only have five girls on our high school team, which is the minimum needed to qualify as a team at the fall meets.”

Marathoner Stacey Nobbe is Kelley's coach. She was able to run with Kelley during the five runs.

“Lauren is very competitive and has a drive to push past her perceived limits,” Nobbe said. “She progressively finished faster in four out of the five races. Her Lakeside 5K time dropped a little due to the long climb up to the Brookville Dam. She is an exceptional runner who gives nothing less than 100 percent.

Also racing and finishing on the female side of the ledger was Josephine Selm, 16, Brookville. She had a total time of 2:21:56, which was good enough for 10th. Coach Nobbe came in 15th with a combined time of 2:42:51. And one of her daughters, Moorea Nobbe, 14, Brookville was 18th with a combined time of 3:19:44.

On the boys side, JJ Stenger, 16, Brookville, was the best FCHS finisher as he came in fifth with a combined time of 1:42:44. Adam Hollowell, 17, Batesville, came in first in the male category with a time of 1:33:38. He beat out his Bulldog teammate Daren Smith, 15, Batesville who was second with a time of 1:35:28.

Other Wildcats in the male's races included: Joshua Selm, 14, Brookville, who came in 14th with a combined time of 2:14:54; and Adam Grant, 15, Laurel, who came in 18th with a combined time of 2:36:03.