NASHVILLE – Bedford North Lawrence’s Cooper Holmes ran his final race, and Grace Tanksley had the most fun possible in the mud, during the IHSAA semistate race at Brown County on Saturday.
Holmes capped his high school career by finishing 42nd in the field in 16:56.1. The top 10 individuals who were not members of the six state qualifying teams advanced to the state championship meet in Terre Haute on Nov. 2.
Holmes missed that cutoff by 23 seconds as Shakamak’s Damon Kesler grabbed the final spot in 16:32.6.
“I ran the best I could today,” Holmes said. “I got out decent, but it just wasn’t enough. The course was in rough shape but the times were better than I thought they were going to be.”
The 179 competitors had to race through constant rain and slog through the muddy 5-kilometer course.
“I felt Cooper ran his best race I have seen him run the last three years, BNL coach Jon Calhoun said. “Yes, the conditions were horrible, but he battled every which way to give him a shot at making it to state.“
No.7 Bloomington South won the team title with 77 points, narrowly edging Columbus North (77). Bloomington North’s Paul Rushton was the individual champion in 15:50.6.
“It stings knowing I worked very hard for four years and still didn’t make the cut, but it just wasn’t God’s plan for me,” Holmes said. “But I’m beyond grateful for my coach, teammates and people that have supported me.”
“Cooper should be proud of the hard work he put in to get this far,” Calhoun said. “He improved every aspect of his running this past year by gaining more speed, more endurance and most importantly the mentality of racing.
“He is one of the hardest working and determined individuals I know, which is a trait that will make him successful in his future endeavors.”
Tanksley, a sophomore attempting to become BNL’s first state qualifier since 2010, crossed the line in 117th place with a time of 22:16.6. She embraced the conditions, rather than bracing for the worst.
“It was tough running through the mud but it was the most fun I have ever had during a race,” she said.
“She had a big smile on her face, and that was the most important thing for her,” BNL coach Jill Vance said. “We knew going in we wouldn’t get the times we were trying to chase because of the weather. So she went out to enjoy it and have a good time.”
Columbus North won the team crown with 57 points while Edgewood star Annalyssa Crain was the runaway individual winner in 18:02.6
Bloomington South 77, Columbus North 79, Floyd Central 97, Bloomington North 156, Jasper 173, Northview 196, Terre Haute South 211, Jennings County 223, Austin 239, New Albany 306, Castle 321, Eastern Pekin 341, Seymour 367, South Knox 372, Borden 412, Evansville Memorial 415, Gibson Southern 416, Vincennes Lincoln 425, Tell City 449, WRV 469
Top performances – 1. Paul Rushton, B North 15:50.6; 2. Matthew Newell, Col North 15:56.3; 3. Cael Light, TH South 16:04.9; 4. Jackson Miller, Jasper 16:06.2; 5. Uriah Guthrie, Pekin 16:07.2
BNL – 42 Cooper Holmes 16:56.1
Columbus North 57, Bloomington North 76, Floyd Central 124, Northview 154, Bloomington South 156, Edgewood 236, TH South 255, Forest Park 274, South Knox 275, Jasper 279, Barr-Reeve 307, Seymour 338, NE Dubois 344, Princeton 349, Mt. Vernon 353, Evansville Memorial 368, Charlestown 379, Columbus East 382, Jennings County 456, Corydon 491
Top performances – 1. Annalyssa Crain, Edge 18:02.6; 2. Sydney Liddle, FC 18:56.0; 3. Makenzie Barnett, Col North 19:05.4; 4. Alli Morphew, Ev Memorial 19:18.7; 5. Andi Vanmeter, Jasper 19:24.6.
BNL – 117. Grace Tanksley 22:16.6