A quick look at Saturday's cross country regionals at New Prairie and Crown Point and what's in store for NWI distance runners…
At New Prairie, Valparaiso's boys are a prohibitive favorite. Morgan Township looks to have an edge on Chesterton for second, while New Prairie, Portage, LaPorte and Kankakee Valley will compete for the final two spots.
On the girls side, Valpo is also a solid pick to win with Chesterton and LaPorte a tossup for second. There's a pretty big falloff to fourth with Portage, Rensselaer and Morgan Township chasing the last two semistate berths.
At Crown Point (Lemon Lake), the Lowell and C.P. boys are clear one-two. Lake Central and Highland figure to be next with the final advancing slot going to Hobart or Munster.
In the girls race, Lowell and Crown Point are also the head-and-shoulders class of the field. Munster and L.C. look to be next with Highland and Hobart getting the other semistate ticket.
The top 10 individuals not advancing as a team also move on. If KV's boys don't qualify, Trevor Conley and Dean Schmidt should continue to next week. Michigan City's Loukas Karallas and South Central's Logan Tabor were the top individuals not with top five teams at the New Prairie Sectional. Several places could hinge on how the team standings play out. At Crown Point, E.C. Central's Enrique Romo and Hanover Central's Kevin Paszko project as individual qualifiers.
In the girls races, Wheeler freshman Hailey Orosz and North Newton's Ivy Allen are the top runners competing without a team at New Prairie. The same goes for Brendea McNeal (Merrillville), Megan Sullivan (Bishop Noll) and Trinity Austin (Griffith) at Crown Point. Again, individual advancements will swing on which teams qualify.
The latest girls poll has Valpo fifth, Lowell 16th, LaPorte 19th, Chesterton 20th and Crown Point 24th. The only other ranked team feeding into the New Prairie Semistate is No. 14 West Lafayette, so five local teams appear to have a chance to make it to Terre Haute.
Valparaiso's boys are sixth, just ahead of Lowell, with Crown Point 14th and Morgan Township 15th. West Lafayette is 19th and Warsaw 23rd among other ranked teams who feed into the New Prairie Semistate so it'll take some things falling the right way for any other Region teams to get to the state finals.