Eastern’s girls cross country squad’s hopes of a return trip to the state finals have been dealt a fatal blow.
Freshman Kaylie Forgrave was diagnosed with a stress fracture in her foot following the Comets’ runner-up finish in last Saturday’s Culver Academies Regional. Eastern will enter today’s New Prairie Semistate having to compete as an incomplete team.
“We’re disappointed, but at the same time we’re just excited to still have four girls going on, and with no one graduating from this team, it’ll be an especially great experience at the semistate,” Eastern coach Brandon Mink. “No matter what happens, it’s been an awesome season and I like to focus on what it’s been and not the what-ifs.”
Eastern still has a strong chance of being represented at next weekend’s state finals in Terre Haute. Its top three runners, Carly Jones (19:30), Avery Ewing (19:40) and Jessie Sprinkles (19:54) finished 3-4-6 in the regional. With the new format of the top six teams plus the top 10 individuals on non-advancing teams moving on to the state finals, Mink likes his trio’s chances of moving forward.
“Our top three all have a shot of making it on to state, and it’s not a far stretch. They’re right there,” he said. “But, it’s difficult under the new format to know exactly where they need to be to advance. Placing in the top 20 is a fairly safe bet, and our top three are certainly capable of doing that.”
If regional times hold up, Jones, Ewing and Sprinkles, all have a chance to finish in the mid-teens. West Lafayette’s Lauren Johnson has the top seed time at 18:24. The Red Devils were ranked No. 3 in the final IATCCC poll.
Northwestern’s Taryn Thor finished second in the regional in 19:02 after winning the Logansport Sectional with a time in 18:15. A similar performance to the one she put forth in the regional would appear to put Thor in the top 10 today.