It was an exciting day in Terre Haute on Saturday, Oct. 27. The sun was shining brightly and there was a smell of hamburgers grilling on the grill. There was a feeling of intense excitement with the anticipation of watching an exciting race.
The Valparaiso High School boys cross country team did not disappoint as the Vikings representing the Region well by coming out strong at Saturday's IHSAA State Meet, placing third with 149 team points. Carmel (93) took first and Fort Wayne Carroll (116) finished second. Valparaiso ran against the best of the best in the state making this year’s race one of the closest ever.
“The State race was deep. Everyone ran well; Carmel, Carroll, Warsaw; they all ran a great race,” head coach Mike Prow said. "I've got no complaints. They ran a great race; it was a great race ran by everyone on the field. Our guys did what we asked them to do and executed our game plan. This is a fast course, it was a fast start, splits were fast and our guys didn't panic, they came through. We wanted to run with blinders on and run our race. We are proud of the guys; they didn't deviate from our plan. They all finished strong."
Ari Coulopoulos is no stranger to the podium coming in ninth last year and this year placing 15th. The top 15 received a medal. Coulopoulos's time was15:45.
"I felt really good today,” Coulopoulos said right after the race. “We all went out there nice and easy. All the guys were in there for a long time. Peyton [Reed] and I were trying to keep the pace steady and just after the hill we started to separate a bit then all of a sudden at the 4k I knew we could be up there with those guys and we took off. I felt good and I felt like this was a good race."
Morgan Township senior Alec Kostelnik also placed in the top 15. His time of 15:42 put him in 11th place.
"I was 10th last year. I wanted to do better but I ran my hardest and gave it all I had and that's all you can do,” Kostelnik said.
Former Valparaiso cross country runner Jim Arnold was in attendance to cheer on the Vikings. He has inspired the runners motivating them all season. He left them with some words of wisdom as Carmel Boys took to the podium with their 1st place victory.
"Look up there; that can be you next year,” Arnold said. “These guys train 365 days a year. If you work harder than everyone else, that can be you. There is no reason why you can't do this. Don't hang your heads low. Come back stronger next year and that can be you.”
The 2012 Roster for the Valparaiso Boys Cross Country Team included: Ari Coulopoulos [11-15:45], Peyton Reed [44- 16:10], Taylor Bisacchi [46-16:11], Landon Davison [50-16:12], Andrew Lyp [66-16:26], Pat Dalton [71:16:30], Xavier Reed [124-17:06], Jordan Galligan, Zach Schwartz, Kevin Hickey, Andrew Jankowski and Corey Alfredson.
Elena Lancioni of La Porte had a great race running as an individual runner. Lancioni placed 16th, just shy of the podium. She had a great race and her time for the course was 18:35.
The Valpo girls team placed 15th with a team score of 405.