Although her 21st-place finish was a far cry from last year’s fourth-place effort at the IHSAA State Meet, Allie Dalton was content to come away with her third consecutive All-State cross-country performance.
A junior who transferred to Greenwood Christian Academy after two years at Greenwood, Dalton ran the 5,000-meter (3.1-mile) LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course in 18 minutes, 35.6 seconds.
She ran 18:03.1 last year.
“I’m not super happy with my race, but it’s still OK,” said Dalton, who finished 10th at the state meet as a freshman. “It’s just one season, and I think God has a plan for me and my future.
“It’s something I’ll have to come back from and do better next year.”
Dalton bounced back from a subpar race in the Carmel Semistate, where she finished 13th in 18:59.3.
“At semistate, I pulled back a little bit because I wasn’t feeling well,” Dalton said. “Going into this race, I knew it was all or nothing. It definitely helped me have a better race.”
Saturday’s state meet was a contrast in strategy to Dalton’s 3,200-meter state track race in the spring, where she ran with All-American Anna Rohrer of Mishawaka for most of that race before falling back to eighth. This time, she settled in the chase pack behind the leaders.
“I wanted to try to run a more even pace throughout the race,” Dalton said. “I thought maybe that would help me not wear my legs out as quickly. I think if I’d gone out faster, I would have fallen back a lot like I did at (track) state.”
Meanwhile, Center Grove junior Valerie Clark finished 48th in 19:10.3. She was making her first state appearance.
“I felt pretty strong going into the 2K, and I kind of moved up from there,” Clark said. “I felt really strong having my teammates here. We’re going to try to bring the whole team next year.”
Greeenwood senior Hunter Smith finished 46th in the boys race. He ran 16:09.3 in his first state appearance.
“He ran a great race at semistate and worked really hard in practice this week to get ready to come out here today,” Greenwood coach Blaine Williams said. “He performed very well.”