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While northeast Indiana girls cross country hasn't had a dominant performer this fall, there has been an unusually deep field. What that means for Saturday's IHSAA Cross Country State Finals is plenty of area runners to earn all-state (top 25) finishes.
Boys cross-country may have the quality (Concordia Lutheran's Zach Panning), but there is quantity on the girls side, with as many as nine runners holding all-state aspirations.
Here is a rundown in order of their finish at last Saturday's IHSAA New Haven Semistate:
Samantha Roush, Columbia City:
Roush is running for her fourth all-state honor, the 36th girl in state history. Roush started the season slowly, but always kept the state meet series in mind. She finished fifth at the Northrop Sectional and then fifth again at the West Noble Regional before placing seventh at semistate.
Madison Distelrath, Homestead:
As a freshman, Distelrath has seen her share of ups and downs. She appears to be on the upswing after placing eighth at semistate. Distelrath leads a young Spartans team.
Madison Fruchey, Carroll:
As a sophomore, Fruchey will be looking to make up for a disappointing performance at last year's state finals. She also shares front-running responsibilities on the area's top team. The Chargers have a solid chance at finishing on the podium (top five).
Marina Konow, Concordia Lutheran:
As a junior last year Konow sneaked in with a 25th-place finish. She was 29th as a sophomore. Konow is the Summit Athletic Conference champ has been consistently at the front all season. She placed 10th at semistate.
Stacey Metzger, Carroll:
The other half of the Chargers' dynamic duo, this junior was 11th at semistate. But Metzger has the ability to finish in the top 15 at the state finals.
Megan Doty, Carroll:
This junior has come on strong the latter part of the season and was the key reason the Chargers won their fifth straight semistate title. Doty was 14th at semistate.
Bailey Beery, Bellmont:
The area's top runner this season suffered through a disappointing semistate race (15th), but has shown the ability to race with the state's best.
Lindsey Marriott, Leo:
The area's top freshman, Marriott won the Northrop Sectional, beating the first six runners named above. She outran them all again with a second-place finish at the West Noble Regional before placing 16th at semistate.
Grace Walther, Homestead:
As a sophomore, Walther has been a steady No. 2 runner for the Spartans.
Hannah Aschliman, Norwell:
Aschliman grabbed the last individual qualifying spot (20th overall) at semistate.
When: 1:45 p.m. Saturday.
Where: LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course, Terre Haute.
Who: The top 24 teams and individuals, totaling more than 200 runners.
What: The top five placing teams and first 25 finishers will be honored.
Area teams: No. 4 Carroll, No. 16 Homestead.