In sports, it’s not uncommon to find family names recurring. There are the Mannings in football and the Unsers in auto racing.
Now you can add the Daltons in the sport of cross-country.
At the IHSAA Cross-Country State Finals on Nov. 2, the brother-sister tandem of David and Allie Dalton from Greenwood Community High School grabbed top 10 finishes.
David, a senior, finished second in the boys race, while Allie, a freshman, took 10th place in the girls event. Both races were run on the LaVern Gibson Championship course in Terre Haute.
David Dalton won the semistate meet a week earlier with a time of 15:33.5. He was a hair off that pace in the finals, and the result was nearly as good. He finished the 5K race in 15:37, just over four seconds behind winner Jackson Bertoli of Terre Haute South.
Dalton closed strong to claim second. He said he simply got out of his rhythm in the middle of the race but has no complaints about his performance or his season.
“I felt like I got out of a groove,” he said. “It took me another 400 or 500 meters to get back in that groove. But once I did, I was able to keep that pace and finish strong. I’m really happy with how I did this year. It’s a lot better than I did last year.”
Dalton did not advance past semistate a year ago.
Greenwood coach Debbie Guckenberger said many people around the program saw the promise of Dalton’s performance in the finals months ago.
“Just based on some of his summer races and how he was finishing, I thought this was definitely a possibility for him,” Guckenberger said. “He didn’t race his best in previous semistates. I think he was pretty determined to change that history his senior year. We all knew he had the potential. He just had to learn how to put the race together.”
In the girls championship race, Allie Dalton was close to the front early but fell back into the main pack by the race’s midpoint. She rallied to claim 10th place with a time of 18:23.7.
Dalton, who said she had been fighting a cold, kept the goal of a top-15 finish in her head as she pushed forward.
“I didn’t feel great the whole race,” she said. “I knew deep down that I wanted to be on that podium. So at the end I just told myself to push it and go hard.”
She also gave credit to her brother for giving her an extra lift.
“I was so nervous for him that I was running back-and-forth, waiting for him to come to the finish,” she said. “I knew how much he wanted to place well. Seeing him finish like that just made me more pumped and ready (to race).”
We commend both athletes on their performances in the state finals. Given the thousands of runners who start the state tournament, just making the state finals takes significant talent and effort. Finishing in the top 10 is a major accomplishment.
Their pride in themselves, each other and their accomplishments is clear. It seems fitting that they were able to achieve their success together.