When Hobart qualified for the state meet last year, it marked the first time in 39 years the Brickies made the big show. This year’s team wasted little time in between state final appearances, qualifying last Saturday with a fourth place finish at the New Prairie Semistate.
“We just knew it was going to happen,” said senior Zach Spain, who’s a four-year varsity runner. “No one ever said, ‘What if we don’t make it.’ It was going to happen regardless of what came our way.”
Hobart’s state-qualifying feat is also its first back-to-back appearances at state since the 1957 and ‘58 seasons.
“It’s not an easy thing to do,” Hobart coach Ty Artherhults said. “You have to take it when you can get it.
"I hope our team can do it with a little more frequency in the future. It’s tough to make it, and that’s why I’m really proud of them this year.”
What makes the accomplishment even more amazing is Hobart didn’t win the sectional or regional, placing second in both to Crown Point, but came up big in the semi state, finishing three spots ahead of C.P.
“It was nice to finally come out on top in that battle,” Artherhults said.
Now, the Brickies want to improve on its 21st place out of 24 teams last year at the Indiana State University course in Terre Haute. Spain, who was the No. 4 runner for Hobart at the semistate, said last year they ran like they were just happy to be there, and they’ll run with more of a purpose this time.
“We’re going to be a little more intense,” he said. “It’s ‘let’s place better than people expect us to place.’ I think that’s our goal.”
Hobart has been getting it done with a solid one-two punch of Brent Dunn and Alex Cordova, while Collin Allen, Spain and Alek Seeley run as a pack near the top in the 3-4-5 spots.
“The two guys up front run together, and the next three, we try to work together,” Spain said. “Without the team we’re nothing.”
Artherhults said Dunn, who was ninth at the semistate, has been running on all cylinders.
“He’s just a real tough competitor and a very determined runner,” he said. “When he puts his mind to it, he’s very good. He really wanted to do it for the team.”
Spain is cognizant of Hobart’s cross country tradition of years past that includes state titles in ‘57 and ‘60 under coach Frank Kurth and the 17 previous state final appearances that were from the late 1940s to the early ‘70s. He said the back-to-back trips the current squad has furnished is special.
“We’re going to leave this experience for kids in the future to do the same thing,” Spain said. “We’re trying to rebuild that legacy.”