LIBERTY TOWNSHIP | After having three key seniors graduate and a hall of fame coach retire last year, Valparaiso girls cross country coach Boomer Nellessen said his team had something to prove Tuesday night against Crown Point and Chesterton.
After taking the top three spots and five of the top 10, the girls showed that they’re as competitive as last year, topping the Trojans 22-33 and also downing the Bulldogs.
“Expectations-wise, people kind of didn’t know where we were coming from,” Nellessen said. “We’ve got a really young group. The second and third runners were freshmen. They’re really young, but they felt like they had something to prove.”
Freshmen Ellie Joll and Sydney Nosbusch came in second and third, respectively, after sophomore Alison Mundell took first with a time of 20:14.
“I’ve known Alison for a long time, and my goal has always been to run with her,” said Joll, who ran a 20:45. “ My goal was to stay with her for most of the meet, and I tried as hard as I could. I’m pretty happy with it.”
Chesterton’s Melanie Buckmaster had a fourth-place finish, followed by teammate Kassidy Scott in fifth. The Trojans also took runners seven though nine.
“We came out and wanted to be competitive,” Chesterton coach Brian Carden said. “We knew where Valpo’s two runners would be, and we were eyeing them and seeing if we could stay with them as long as we could. It’s only the third meet of the season, so we have time to improve on things.”
Lexie Carpenter was the top finisher for the Bulldogs, in 14th place with a 22:16.
On the boys side, the Times No. 1 Vikings also took the top three spots, and seven of the top ten in downing No. 2 CP, 17-45, and No. 5 Chesterton 15-50. Taylor Bisacchi ran a 16:44, followed by Peyton Reed (16:50) and Xavier Reed (16:58).
“It was a surprise for me (coming in first),” Bisacchi said. “I did well in the last race, but this race it was all thanks to Peyton and Xavier. They ran with me the whole time. I didn’t really care for the win or the first place, I’m just happy I followed what my coaches told me to do and run 1-2-3 as a team.”
Crown Point’s Daniel Walters was fourth (17:03). Andrew Kearney had the fastest race for Chesterton, coming in 25th at 19:19.
“Beating two teams that are in the top of the Duneland year after year says a lot about how the kids bought into the training this summer and how hard they’ve worked,” Valparaiso coach Mike Prow said.