Any nervousness Lillian Lacy experienced before Saturday’s cross-country sectional at Franklin wasn’t evident once the race began.

The same can be said for Claire Overfelt.

Lacy, a Franklin freshman, and Overfelt, a Whiteland freshman, placed second and third, respectively, in their first varsity postseason competition.

Southport sophomore Lexie Green took first in a time of 20 minutes, 7 seconds. Lacy finished in 20:45 and Overfelt in 20:58.

“I didn’t really know what to expect,” Lacy said. “It was after the first K (kilometer) I started to relax. (Second-place) wasn’t quite what I expected. I always kind of want more, but I’m happy with it.”

In the team standings, Center Grove (54 points), Whiteland (82) and Franklin (88) placed 2-3-4, respectively, which means they’ll continue their seasons at this weekend’s Shelbyville Regional.

Other Johnson County runners placing in the top 10 were Center Grove senior Tori Martin (fourth), Whiteland soph Taylor Leytham (seventh), Center Grove’s Nina Fujii (ninth) and Julia Arruda of Greenwood (10th).

Overfelt, who wasn’t happy with her eighth-place finish at last week’s county meet on the same course, felt determined to do something about it.

“I kind of struggled with the hills, so I have this big hill by my house and worked on it a bunch of times,” she said. “Today I just told myself I’ve got to get past the wind, get to the woods and I’ll be fine running the other direction.”

Besides Arruda, the Woodmen qualified Mallory Watson (29th) and Lauren Spencer (34th) for regional. Greenwood Christian Academy’s Anna Subris extends her season after placing 37th.

In the boys race, Franklin lived up to its No. 18 ranking by winning the team title with 56 points. Third-place Center Grove and fourth-place Whiteland also are taking their entire teams to regional.

A fourth-place effort by Franklin junior Andrew Bixler in 17:08 was best among county runners. He was followed closely by Center Grove junior Ethan Stanley (fifth), Franklin’s Wyatt McCullough and Isaiah Lindsay (sixth and seventh, respectively) and Center Grove sophomore Archit Malik (ninth).

“I enjoy running more when there’s a team atmosphere out there. I do better when I have someone with me,” said Bixler, who was paired with Lindsay early on before creating separation later in the race. “The goal was to stick together, but both of us were having completely different races.”

Given the windy conditions, Stanley figured out early personal-best times would be few and far between.

“When I woke up this morning I realized it wasn’t going to be a race for time,” he said. “But I’m fine with fifth. I was going to be disappointed had we not advanced as a team.”

Greenwood’s 137 points were five shy of fifth-place Perry Meridian, though seniors Brandon Albin (10th), Ethan Pine (12th) and Ian Rimer (35th) move on as individuals.

Greenwood Christian Academy senior Kegan Owen placed 20th to secure his spot at the Shelbyville Regional.

At the Brown County Sectional on Saturday, Indian Creek managed to qualify a boy and girl runner for the Brown County Regional. Junior Nate Decker placed 23rd in the boys race, while another junior, Shaelyn Biddle, was 15th for the Braves’ girls squad.

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