Franklin junior runner competes in first state meet

TERRE HAUTE — Franklin junior Andrew Bixler raced on Shelbyville’s cross-country course for his sectional, regional and semistate competitions, and that course is a lot less hilly than the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course, where Saturday’s state finals were held.

Bixler finished the 5-kilometer (3.1-mile) race in 16 minutes, 36.7 seconds to place 103rd in his first state meet.

This is the most running the junior has ever done in one year, and said he has a better idea of what to do next season to back to state for his senior year.

“I’ll know how to train a little better,” Bixler said. “Even though we have a flat course, I may train on hills a little bit more.”

Bixler remembers doing a workout on the Terre Haute course in the past, but he had never actually competed in a race. He said he wants to see the course a few more times next year so he can get more familiar with it.

Bixler said he did not feel that good his first time on the course because his body felt stiff. He hopes to feel more loose if he makes it back to Terre Haute next year.

Roncalli junior Nicholas Perkins placed 112th in 16:39.9.

Hamilton Southeastern’s Gabe Fendel won the boys race in 15:17.2. Carmel won the boys state title with 94 points, and Zionsville’s girls took first with 118 points. Greencastle’s Emma Wilson won the girls race in 17:45.9.