Wildcats split with Trojans
By John Estridge, Sports Editor
On a warm evening with low humidity, the Wildcats hosted Eastern Indiana Athletic Conference foe East Central Thursday, Sept. 5.
FC split with the Trojans with the girls winning their dual meet with their lady Trojan counterparts, while the Wildcat boys fell to a tough Trojan team.
It was a new course for both the boys and girls at the Franklin County High School campus. Starting in the field across Wildcat Lane from the high school, the runners went south around the middle school and around the west side of the high school to the baseball field. Then, they came across Wildcat Lane at the north end of the parking lots near the border with Hidden Valley Subdivision, to the area behind the tree line and bounded by a narrow arched bridge. Then back around the school and around the baseball diamond past Hidden Valley around a tight turn and then a straightaway to the finish chute.
“Our course changes each year because I'm trying to get it just right,” Nobbe said. “It used to be really confusing and was hard to make sure everyone ran the course correctly. This year, it was easy to follow and utilized the baseball field. I've already plotted a course for next year. I want to be able to practice strategy on our course without making sure a gate is unlocked or worrying about whether a team or group of kids might be planning to hit baseballs while we are trying to run. We did get new course-marking flags, and I think we are close to having a permanent, 'fast,' and more shaded course that is also friendly for spectators and coaches in that they have more viewing opportunities to cheer for the runners.”
The boys lost 17-44, while the EC girls had only four runners.
Sophomore Ben Maze kept the Trojans from sweeping the top five spots by finishing fourth, just three seconds out of third place with a time of 19:01. He is just 10 seconds off his personal best time and he's only a few meets into the season.
“Sophomore Ben Maze has an ability to dig deep and push himself to be faster than anyone expects,” FC cross country coach Stacey Nobbe said.
EC's Griffin Werner won the meet in 18:19. Nine seconds back was teammate Michael Schwebach at 18:28. Anders Fox took third at 18:58, just three seconds in front of Maze. Behind Maze were two more Trojans, Kasey Carr and Parker Fleming who ran times of 19:13.35 and 19:13.63, respectively, for fifth and sixth places.
Next to cross into the finish chute was junior Drew Grant in seventh place with a time of 19:30.
“Junior Drew Grant did an exceptional job, considering he has some really bad blisters on his feet from his spikes,” Nobbe said.
Hunter Marshall and Harmon Marshall, a freshman, came in ninth and tenth, respectively with times of 20:25 and 20:32, respectively.
Senior Harvey Marshall came in 14th with a time of 20:43, which was almost a minute faster than he ran on the same course two days prior to the EC race.
Another senior, Kyle Seibert, knocked minutes off his time. He came in 17th in 21:05. Adam Grant is coming off an injury and improving his times with each meet. He was 18th just three seconds behind Seibert with a time of 21:08. Klusman was next in 21:40. Just one second behind Klusman was Schwab in 21:41. An East Central runner was between Schwab and Selm as Selm came in 22nd with a time of 24:03. Hoskins and Brumback were the final two of the FC contingent. They were 26th and 27th, respectively with times of 25:04 and 25:33.
“We have some younger runners on the boys team and some new to the sport,” Nobbe said. “They are learning at every meet. Every single boy improved by almost a minute or more from their times on the same course two days prior.”
Junior Lauren Kelley, arguably the best FCHS female runner in the school’s 30-year history, easily won against EC. She finished the course more than 30 seconds ahead of the second-place finisher from EC.
EC's girls team had but four runners; thus, the Lady Trojans did not record a team score.
“Lauren has an internal motivation, and she loves running,” Nobbe said. “Her fast speed is comfortable for her. If she were to slow down, she would change her form, and it just wouldn't feel right for her. A slow, easy run for her, and a few of my boys looks way different than a slow, easy run for you or me.”
Two EC runners came in behind Kelley: Rachel Campbell finished in 22:27 while Wedding was farther back at 22:54.
Next for the Wildcats was senior Katelyn Meyer who came in fourth with a time of 23:02, just eight seconds behind Wedding, and she sprinted past another Trojan, Rachel Davis at the finishing chute.
“She fought for her spot throughout the whole race, sprinting into the chute to edge out Rachel Davis, from East Central, for fourth place,” Nobbe said.
Davis finished fifth in 23:14.
Hannah Doan from EC was the final Trojan to cross the finish line. She came in sixth in a time of 25:20.
The next three Wildcats were junior Josie Selm in 26:26, sophomore Katherine Apsley (27:43) and Kenzie Rogers (30:56).
“Junior Josie Selm looked great as she maintained even splits in the second and third miles,” Nobbe said.
“(Rogers) has a huge improvement for her season,” Nobbe said. “She has already improved by 10 minutes this year.”
According to Nobbe, the girls team is improving with each race.
“All of my girls improved, too, by at least a minute,” Nobbe said. “EC was a good pairing for us because they challenged us, and almost everyone had a competitor either close in front or close behind, forcing them to strategize and dig deep.”
Seton and Oldenburg
FC boys finished in second place during a three-way meet with Seton Catholic out of Richmond and Oldenburg Academy, Tuesday, Sept. 3.
The Wildcats were just five points against the winning Twisters from Oldenburg 30-25 while Seton scored 50 points.
While the Twisters took the first three spots, FC took fourth through eighth to make it a battle. First across the line for the Wildcats was Maze with a time of 20:30. Just five seconds behind him was Grant with a time of 20:35. Following Grant was Hunter Marshall with a 21:12. Harvey Marshall was seventh overall with a 21:26.
Once again the FC girls cross country team won against Oldenburg and Seton with 22 points.
Kelley was the individual winner with a time of 22:29. Both boys and girls ran at the same time, so Kelley got to see how she fared against the boys. She came in 12th out of 29 runners.
Meyer was second on the Wildcats and third overall.