Sophomore factor for Whiteland

Whiteland recently debuted a board listing the 10 fastest 5K times in girls cross-country school history.

Sophomore Erika Walling, whose personal best of 20 minutes, 10 seconds is included, would like to spend the remainder of her career moving up the list.

“It shows how hard I’ve worked for it. I think it’s been a pretty good season,” said Walling, who has been either the No. 2 or 3 runner for the Warriors this fall. “When I look at my times from last season, I’m like, ‘Wow, I was that slow?’”

On Saturday, Walling placed 12th at the Mid-State Conference meet at Franklin in 21:18.89. She looks forward to returning to the Franklin course the next two weekends for the Johnson County Meet and the sectional.

Walling’s 2016 season was the first time she competed in cross-country.

Her initial sampling of postseason competition resulted in a 36th-place finish at sectional in 22:29. A week later she navigated the Blue River venue in 22:07 for a 54th-place performance at the Shelbyville Regional.

The objective this time is for Walling to break into the top 20.

“I would say Erika is exceeding expectations,” Whiteland coach Michele Batt said. “She’s running really well right now and has improved her ability to race and being able to compete for the entire distance.

“I would like to see her break 20 minutes. That would be the next jump for her.”

Author photo
Mike Beas is a sports writer for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at