Scores = Penn 51, NP 64, SB Riley 69, Elk Central 101, Mishawaka 104, St. Joe 129, Bremen 200, Adams 212, Marian 268, Jimtown 300, John Glenn 337
a marvelously excellent day to race, the New Prairie boys cross country team travelled to Oxbow County Park in Elkhart to race the NIC championship cross country race to determine the conference champions. Ranked 3rd of the 13 teams coming into this race, New Prairie had a challenge to face in order to have a shot at defeating an equally strong SB Riley team and the favored Penn squad. As the race developed, New Prairie runners put themselves into position to pull off the upset and take down perennial conference foes, Riley and Penn. Jacob Corbett and Tim O’Laughlin were in the lead pack of 11 runners at the Mile. Jarrod Michael and Brandon Corbett were 5 seconds behind in the top 15 while Quinn Beall and Tom Wykoff were only 3 seconds behind them in the top 25. Josh Baltes ran a brisk opening mile as well sitting in 31st. At about the 1.5 mile point, Jacob Corbett took a risk and took the lead while Tim O’Laughlin moved up 4 spots to seventh. Jarrod and Brandon also moved up 4 spots sitting in 10th and 11th respectively. Quinn and Tom faded by 3 positions but were still gamely racing to make final moves. In the final .8 mile, Jacob Corbett was passed by 2 runners, but was able to repass one of them using his blazing final kick to finish 2nd overall and run a career best time (by 24 seconds) of 16:21 and earning First Team All Conference. Tim O’Laughlin also ran a career best time (by 6 seconds) of 16:45 finishing 8th and earning 2nd Team All Conference. Jarrod Michael ran a season best time by 29 seconds and finished with a 16:56 and 13th place for 2nd Team All Conference. Brandon Corbett joined the sub-17:00 club running a career best time by 11 seconds finishing 14th and earning 2nd Team All Conference. Quinn Beall ran a career best time by 3 seconds finishing 27th in a time of 17:36 while Tom Wykoff joined the sub-18:00 club running a career best time (by 17 seconds) of 17:45. Josh Baltes also ran a career best time by 6 seconds in 18:08 and closely maintaining his spot on the varsity roster heading into Sectionals.
In the JV race, combining JV runners from two strong conferences, 21 teams total, The Northern Indiana Conference and the Northern Lakes Conference, the New Prairie Boys JV team raced in the earlier and even cooler temperatures. With mixed performances, the NP JV boys continued their strong seasonal racing finishing 7th of 21 teams. Tristan Balmer led the JV boys and ran 18:14, Alex Cicero, despite losing both of his timing chips from both shoes (the art of the double knot will be important for the future), ran a career best by 21 seconds in 18:35. Other season or career bests for the JV race were: Dan Reshan in 19:30 (career best by 16 seconds), Brenden Oden in 19:55 (career best by 38 seconds), and Jon Mondientz in 20:01 (career best by 36 seconds).
The New Prairie Cross Country teams head off to the IHSAA Playoffs but race on our famed home course for the next 3 rounds (Sectionals, Regionals, and Semi State) if we are strong enough to advance. The years of training, racing and dreaming for these young men seem to culminate in the journey thru the IHSAA playoffs. We will be running in a one-class system (all Indiana high schools facing off vs. each other regardless of school size) aiming to see who we can be as a team and as individuals in this amazing sport of cross country racing.