HAMMOND | Taylor Austin thought about drafting behind another runner to deal with the winds at Dowling Park for Tuesday's Gavit Sectional in girls cross country.
The problem was nobody could keep up with the Griffith senior.
"I was going to see if anyone else was going to get up in front, and if they were I was going to just stay with them," Austin said. "But I just had to go out and run my race."
Austin's time of 19:08 was more than a full minute ahead of the pack. Munster's Emily McNicholas finished second at 20:16, a personal record.
"I think being around some great competition (inspired the personal-best run)," McNicholas said. "I was really just making sure that I stayed ahead of the (Lake Central) girls and that propelled me to beat my best time."
There were a lot of those Indians. L.C. runners took third, fourth, fifth and sixth place, led by Megan Zajac. Overall, L.C. took seven places out of the top 10 and won the girls side of the meet with 21 points.
Munster finished second with 47. Highland, Calumet and West Side will also advance to the Crown Point Regional Saturday.
The Mustang boys edged out their Lake Central counterparts, 39 to 38.
Tom Bolanowski posted the top time at 16:34.
"Today was more of just trying to keep pace with (my teammates) and try to bring them along with me," Bolanowski said. "The wind was really strong today, so it was more of a place thing and helping the team than my time."
Ryan Kritzer took second at 16:35 and Emmanuel Lopez took fourth with 16:51 for Munster. Lopez wasn't happy with his effort.
"I don't know what happened to me today," he said. "I don't know if I just fell back to early. I'm just not sure what happened."
Lopez was passed by Highland's Zachary Glick and couldn't catch him. Glick finished at 16:42.
"I think we did pretty well as a team, considering the hard course and the wind," Bolanowski said. "Me, myself, I think I'm progressing the way I want to and I'm going to be ready for semistate and hopefully state."
Lake Central's top runner was Zach Bencur, who finished fifth at 17:02. That's a personal course record by 35 seconds for the Indians senior.
"I would've liked to have gotten (Lopez)," Bencur said. "I was going to draft behind and try to catch him at the end, but he pulled away at the two mile."
Highland, Bishop Noll and West Side boys will also move on to the Crown Point Regional.
After finishing the race, West Side's Leonard Jefferies passed out and collapsed. He was taken away in an ambulance but teammates said he was expected to be fine.