TERRE HAUTE —
Chanli Mundy made history Tuesday with a fourth consecutive girls high school cross country sectional title at LaVern Gibson Championship Course, and Jackson Bertoli helped Terre Haute South’s boys repeat as sectional champs.
Terre Haute North’s girls continued to reign at the Gibson course. The Patriots’ winning streak goes back well before Mundy was in high school.
“Just really pleased with how the girls ran today. Having Chanli repeat for the fourth time, that’s even more exciting to me. I’m sure she’s the first girl to ever do that at North high school. Pretty impressive,” North coach Mike Dason said.
Mundy, whose winning time was 19 minutes, 13.6 seconds on a windy afternoon, was accompanied throughout most her 5,000-meter race by senior classmate Jessi Conley, who finished in a personal course-best time of 19:33.7.
And if not for Shakamak’s Savannah Turner, who was fourth in 20:14.5, the Patriots would have had a perfect score for the second straight season. Laura Johnson was third for North Anna Nagy 5th and Lindsay Welker sixth.
Nikki Thiede led runner-up team Terre Haute South in seventh. The Braves had 51 points, comfortably ahead of Northview (128), West Vigo (152) and Sullivan (163). Those five teams will advance to Saturday’s Bedford North Lawrence Regional
Joining South’s boys will be Terre Haute North, who was second with 69 points, Northview (94), Clay City (160) and Shakamak (170).
Mundy and the No. 7-ranked Patriots were without a couple key runners, but it was still a strong start to what they hope is a special postseason.
“It was a great day for our team to get the postseason started,” Mundy said. “It was nice to have Jessi running up with me most of the race. I was glad to help pull her along the course. She ran great on a tough course on a tough day.”
The Patriots’ teamwork was on display during and after the race.
“Everybody talks about the team,” Dason said. “That’s what we are, a team. Whether you’re the best runner or a back of the pack runner, everybody is there to support everybody.”
Coach Kyle Walsh’s Braves were also the epitome of teamwork, displaying a tight, seven-man pack for most of the race but especially early.
Bertoli began to show why he’s a potential state title contender by the midway point, taking command on his way to a winning time of 16:31.6. He was followed closely by sophomore Spencer Danielson in second in 16:55.4. South’s No. 7 runner was ninth-place Logan Hambrock at 17:42.3.
“We came in with a gameplan. We wanted to get our top 7 in the top 10 and we did that today,” Bertoli said. “I think going in we knew that we were definitely one of the better teams here, and we showed that we were dominant. It was a really good race heading into the postseason meets, it’s going to be a good year.”
South coach Kyle Walsh said running well at Gibson was the plan in setting a precedent for when the Braves return for the state meet.
“That’s what the gameplan was. We wanted to race the team up there, have a presence of Terre Haute South Braves running as one group, one family. And that’s kind of been our motto lately,” Walsh said. “Guys are buying into it lately and you can just see heart and passion. We didn’t let the wind affect us today. It’s a Tuesday afternoon, the atmosphere’s a little bit down — we know we have bigger things in the future — we wanted to come out today and make a statement to ourselves that we can run well on this course. This will be our last time racing here until the state meet. We wanted a good competition to just perform how we wanted to.”
Terre Haute North’s Justin Clapp took third place, finishing strong despite discarding a shoe as he made the turn down the final straightaway.
“The final turn of the race it was loose so I decided to get rid of it and finish without my shoe,” Clapp said. “One of the biggest things for today was drafting. The wind was really strong. It started out kind of slow, which is kind of my style. I like to start out slower and build into the race so that really helped me out a lot today.”
Northview’s Nic Yocm was fifth to lead the Knights to third place.
“We’re probably the third best team here,” coach Chad Smith said of the Knights. “I think Nic let a couple guys beat him today that he normally wouldn’t. He’s probably not happy with his time, but we’ll be ready for Saturday.”
The West Vigo girls are regional bound for the second straight year.
Senior Acetha Tolerson paced the Vikings in 23rd, while Taylor Bunch was 24th, Shaelynn White 27th, Shelby Sparks 34th and Katy Jones 44th.
“They beat out seven other teams and two of those had beaten us earlier,” Vikings coach Steve DeGroote said. “They did the best they could. In the many years I’ve coached, this was a very competitive sectional when you get past North and South. Up against everybody else, I’m really happy.”
Tolerson is the Vikings’ only senior.
“Great leadership. She keeps the group together. She leads us in practice and those girls have worked hard.
Individual qualifiers on the boys side are Ethan Sparks (10th) of Owen Valley, Dean Danner (12th) of North Central and Janzen Franklin of Linton. Luke Sweet led fifth-place Shakamak in 15th place. Parker Ames paced fourth-place Clay City in 22nd.
Individual qualifiers for the girls are Kelsey Wright (12th) of Clay City and Bailey Hayes (13th), a Rockville freshman.