CARMEL — Nine Hendricks County runners, paced by the second place individual finish for Avon junior Malayka Abramson and the Avon girls team’s third place finish, advanced through the IHSAA Cross Country semistate at the Carmel Northview Church course on Saturday.
Abramson and teammate Taylor Nicholson, who took seventh, were the day’s top county finishers. Kelsie Mothersead (29th), Kate Bernicke (45th), Lauren Heeger (50th), Alissa Lustgarten (82nd), and Fiona Kelly (106th) made up the rest of Avon’s scoring.
The highlight race of the day turned out to be the girls race, as Carmel runner Kelcy Welch outran Abramson and claimed a new course record by almost 20 seconds (17:35.7).
Abramson, who also eclipsed the old mark and held the course record, was not able to keep pace with Welch to the end. Abramson finished in 17:44.9.
“I knew I had my work cut out for me,” Abramson said. “We usually run pretty close times, but (Welch) just got the better of me today. It is now just about refocusing for next week.”
The girl’s race featured a lead pack of ten runners with the top three teams — Carmel, Hamilton Southeastern, and Avon—having at least two runners in the group.
Nicholson was in that group, trying keep the Orioles high in the team competition.
“My coach told me to stay in the front the last couple of races, and try to stay in the front,” Nicholson said. “That helped me to stay focused. I am really excited to go to state as a freshman.”
Individually, Plainfield’s Samantha Woodford (16th) also qualified for state in the girl’s race.
As expected, Woodford led her Plainfield team’s effort, but Quakers coach Wes Woodson liked the effort of his team, which came in 14th.
“The team ran strong today as a group, but this is probably the strongest semistate in the Midwest,” Woodson said. “I felt our group really maximized their talent this year to get to (semistate).”