IR PRE-SEASON BOYS INDIVIDUAL ALL-STATE!
1. Gabriel Sanchez – senior – Lowell
Inccstats.com ranking: 1
State Meet History: 40th in ’17 (16:10), 2nd in ’18 (15:41)
2018 Cross Country Tournament: 1st in Crown Point Sectional (16:24), 1st in Crown Point Regional (16:08), 1st in New Prairie Semi-state (15:59), 2nd in IHSAA State Finals (15:41)
2019 Track Tournament: 2nd in Crown Point Sectional 800 (1:59), 1st in Crown Point Sectional 1600 (4:32), 2nd in Valparaiso Regional 800 (1:53), 3rd in Valparaiso Regional 1600 (4:22), 2nd in IHSAA State Finals 800 (1:51)
Outlook: Sanchez is the obvious number one here, though it is close. His story is one that any high school coach could use to recruit a promising runner to the cross country team. Sanchez did not run in the fall as a freshman, served as his team’s top runner in just one meet (the state finals) as a sophomore, and finished second to the top runner in the country at state as a junior. Like many on this list, Sanchez has displayed a penchant for performing his best against top competition. If there is any reason for pause in labeling Sanchez as the individual favorite, it would be lack of quality distance races in the spring. He appears on the leaderboards only in the open 800, but it’s hard to argue with success there as Sanchez finished second in the state track finals, as he did in cross country, to Cathedral’s Cole Hocker. His 1:51.73 time there is good for 23rd all-time in Indiana history. If we have learned one thing from Sanchez over his last two plus years as a distance runner, it is that he performs well in the most important races.
2. Reece Gibson – senior – Fort Wayne Concordia
Inccstats.com ranking: 2
State Meet History: 43rd in ’16 (16:35), 19th in ’17 (15:53), 8th in ’18 (15:58)
2018 Cross Country Tournament: 2nd in FW Northrop Sectional (16:08), 1st in West Noble Regional (15:44), 2nd in New Have Semi-state (15:39), 8th in IHSAA State Finals (15:58)
2019 Track Tournament: 1st in FW North Side Sectional 3200 (9:12), 2nd in Marion Regional 3200 (9:08), 3rd in IHSAA State Finals 3200 (9:07)
Outlook: Gibson has consistently performed at the top of his class. He was the second freshman, first sophomore and second junior in his three state meets already. This could be a very memorable senior season for Gibson as he is an individual title contender leading the number one team in Indiana after its best season in school history. In the track season, Gibson defeated the eventual state champion in the 3200 in the sectional round before finishing third at the state meet. Postseason, he ran 4:14 in the Monumental Mile, six seconds behind Cole Hocker. Though he doesn’t top our list here, Gibson is an individual title contender in every sense. It is very hard to envision him finishing outside of the top two in Terre Haute based on results over the last three years.
3. Lucas Guerra – junior - Highland
Inccstats.com ranking: 3
State Meet History: 11th in ’18 (16:04)
2018 Cross Country Tournament: 1st in Hammond Gavit Sectional (16:49), 2nd in Crown Point Regional (16:12), 5th in New Prairie Semi-state (16:20), 11th in IHSAA State Finals (16:04)
2019 Track Tournament: 1st in East Chicago Central 1600 (4:38), 1st in East Chicago Central 3200 (10:21), 2nd in Valparaiso Regional 1600 (4:17), 3rd in Valparaiso Regional 3200 (9:33), 10th in IHSAA State Finals 1600 (4:17), 25th in IHSAA State Finals 3200 (9:53)
Outlook: Guerra had a top-25 all-time sophomore season, finishing 11th at the state meet in cross country and missing the podium in the 1600 in the spring by just a couple ticks. Past tournament results show that Guerra tends to run as hard as needed in each race, performing his best against top-level competition. His 11th-place finish in Terre Haute was the best by a sophomore in the last two seasons, and inccstats projects him as the top individual in the 2020 season, an assessment with which we concur. Among our very top individual contenders, Guerra ranks right in the middle. He doesn’t yet have the cross country accomplishments of the top two, nor the track success of some of the others who finished further back in 2018. Guerra does have two years remaining, however, and the improvement curve for a junior tends to be steeper than for a senior.
4. Jack Kovach – senior – Brebeuf
Inccstats.com ranking: 7
State Meet History: 81st in ’17 (16:28), 84th in ’18 (16:58)
2018 Cross Country Tournament: 3rd in Brebeuf Sectional (16:48), 5th in Noblesville Regional (15:50), 9th in Shelbyville Semi-state (15:59), 84th in IHSAA State Finals (16:58)
2019 Track Tournament: 2nd in North Central Sectional 1600 (4:16), 1st in North Central Sectional 3200 (9:26), 2nd in North Central Regional 1600 (4:17), 1st in North Central Regional 3200 (9:26), 5th in IHSAA State Finals 1600 (4:14), 8th in IHSAA State Finals 3200 (9:15)
Outlook: Kovach is ranked by potential rather than prior accomplishment (and for good reason). He has been a solid runner, competitive locally and a state meet participant twice in cross country. He was fifth in a competitive cross country regional that had the state’s top two teams. Nothing, however, foreshadowed his performances in the track season. His 4:14 was good for fifth at the state meet over 1600 meters, and he followed that up an incredibly challenging double podium performance with an eighth-place finish in the 3200. His 9:10 postseason race in the 3200 ranks 29th ever among juniors. Kovach may be one of the last accomplished cross country runners on this list, but his track accolades in totality probably outrank everyone else. It’s possible, though highly unlikely, that he is a vastly superior track runner that can’t translate onto the grass. We, however, think he’s an individual contender.
5. Luke Combs – senior – Lapel
Inccstats.com ranking: 4
State Meet History: 51st in ’17 (16:15), 27th in ’18 (16:20)
2018 Cross Country Tournament: 1st in Pendleton Heights Sectional (16:24), 1st in Delta Regional (15:51), 9th in New Haven Semi-state (16:06), 27th in IHSAA State Finals (16:20)
2019 Track Tournament: 2nd in Mt. Vernon Sectional 800 (1:57), 1st in Mt. Vernon Sectional 1600 (4:26), 8th in North Central Regional 800 (1:58), 3rd in North Central Regional 1600 (4:17), 3rd in IHSAA State Finals 1600 (4:14)
Outlook: Combs appeared to be the second best runner in the state for much of last fall behind eventual national champion Cole Hocker, though he did not race well in the final three weeks of the season by his standards. Still, his 15:18 adjusted performance was the second best among all individuals last season on inccstats. Combs had four sub-15:30 rated performances, a feat only eight runners accomplished at least once over the course of the season. In the spring, Combs did have his best race at the state finals, finishing third over 1600 meters in 4:14. If he can adjust his training to be at his best a month or two later in 2019 than in 2018, it will be very hard for anyone to beat Combs in November.
6. Spencer Carpenter – junior – Westview
Inccstats.com ranking: 5
State Meet History: 56th in ’17 (16:18), 55th in ’18 (16:42)
2018 Cross Country Tournament: 1st in West Noble Sectional (16:24), 3rd in West Noble Regional (16:01), 6th in New Haven Semi-state (16:03), 55th in IHSAA State Finals (16:42)
2019 Track Tournament: 1st in East Noble Sectional 1600 (4:28), 1st in East Noble Sectional 3200 (9:35), 1st in Marion Regional 1600 (4:15), 5th in Marion Regional 3200 (9:40), 23rd in IHSAA State Finals 1600 (4:30)
Outlook: Though this year’s race seems very open, we consider Carpenter to be the first of our serious title contenders. As a freshman, he was a scorer on his team’s third-place state meet finish, and the Warriors look poised to improve upon that in the next couple of seasons thanks to Carpenter’s frontrunning. Individually, he ranked 17th on inccstats in 2018, the seventh returner with his state meet race weighing that rating down quite a bit. On the track, his 4:28/9:35 double victory at the sectional was impressive as was his 4:15 performance in the regional 1600. He ran a gutsy, if inadvisable race at the state meet and paid for it in the second half of the 1600. Expect him to bounce back in the state finals twice in his junior year.
7. Travis Hickner – junior – Noblesville
Inccstats.com ranking: 10
State Meet History: 21st in ’18 (16:15)
2018 Cross Country Tournament: 3rd in Noblesville Sectional (16:35), 17th in Noblesville Regional (16:17), 6th in Shelbyville Semi-state (15:57), 21st in IHSAA State Finals (16:15)
2019 Track Tournament: 4th in Carmel Sectional 3200 (9:40)
Outlook: Hickner ran two great races to cap off his sophomore year at the semi-state and state meet. Prior to that, his performance was steady though not a lot signified he would be a potential All-Staters. Those expectations certainly changed after finishing in the top 25 as a sophomore, the sixth returner. Hickner was good in the track season as well, running under 9:40 on a couple of occasions. His school has not made the state meet in cross country as a team in eight years, but they appear to have a great chance heading into 2019. Hickner is the chief reason for the Millers’ optimism.
8. Geno Christofanelli – senior – Crown Point
Inccstats.com ranking: 6
State Meet History: 36th in ’16 (16:28), 67th in ’17 (16:23), 18th in ’18 (16:12)
2018 Cross Country Tournament: 2nd in Crown Point Sectional (16:30), 3rd in Crown Point Regional (16:22), 2nd in New Prairie Semi-state (16:02), 18th in IHSAA State Finals (16:12)
2019 Track Tournament: Did not compete
Outlook: Christofanelli finished 36th in the state meet as a freshman, the best finish by a ninth-grader since eventual two-time cross country champion Ben Veatch in 2012. His inccstats’ profile over the last two years is littered with huge performances early that tend to fall off later in the season, though he was an individual medalist in his junior year (and the fifth returner). His race at the Rudy Skorupa Invite in the second week of the season was the third-best individual performance (limit one per athlete) on inccstats for 2018, and he had the 28th best performance among individuals in 2017. He also had great races early in the track season, including a 9:19 time in the 3200 at the HSR Finals for big schools. Christofanelli did not run in the track tournament. He could certainly contend for the individual title, but it is hard to get an accurate assessment heading into his senior season.
9. Paul Rushton – senior – Bloomington North
Inccstats.com ranking: 8
State Meet History: 135th in ’16 (17:30), 158th in ’17 (17:08), 12th in ’18 (16:04)
2018 Cross Country Tournament: 1st in Bedford North Lawrence Sectional (15:55), 3rd in Bedford North Lawrence Regional (15:49), 4th in Brown County Semi-state (15:48), 12th in IHSAA State Finals (16:04)
2019 Track Tournament: 2nd in Bloomington North Sectional 800 (1:57), 5th in Bloomington North Sectional 1600 (4:30), 3rd in Bloomington North Regional 800 (1:56), 12th in IHSAA State Finals 800 (1:56)
Outlook: Rushton has progressed magnificently over the course of four years. He ranked as the 11th best freshman, the 19th best sophomore and the fifth best junior per inccstats. Though he ran well at the state meet, it was not a one-time occurrence as he finished the season with five sub-16 performances on inccstats. Appearing on the leaderboards in the 800 and 1600, Rushton’s track season tells us a little less of his progress as he concentrated mainly in the 800, running in the state meet on North’s 4x8 relay and in the open 800. His 12th-place finish is good enough to be the fourth returner.
10. Alex Frey – senior – North Central (Indy)
Inccstats.com ranking: 12
State Meet History: 73rd in ’17 (16:25), 157th in ’18 (17:38)
2018 Cross Country Tournament: 105th in Shelbyville Semi-state (17:23), 157th in IHSAA State Finals (17:38)
2019 Track Tournament: 2nd in North Central Sectional 3200 (9:26), 3rd in North Central Regional 3200 (9:33), 6th in IHSAA State Finals 3200 (9:12)
Outlook: Frey gets this ranking on potential rather than past performance. He had one great race in dominating a good field at the MIC championship on his home course last fall. Yet, he was hobbled from that point forward, including missing the first two rounds of the tournament and running clearly below his ability level in the semi-state and state meets. His track season was brilliant, though. He ran 4:16 over 3200 meters (fifth among returners), 9:12 over 3200 meters (third best among returners), put his team in the lead in the 4x8 and scored four monstrous points to propel his school to a one-point victory at the state track finals. It is possible Frey finishes outside the top 25 at the state meet, certainly, but it’s no inconceivable that he could be the individual champion.
11. Izaiah Steury – sophomore – Angola
Inccstats.com ranking: 15
State Meet History: 38th in ’18 (16:32)
2018 Cross Country Tournament: 3rd in West Noble Sectional (16:37), 8th in West Noble Regional (16:23), 13th in New Haven Semi-state (16:14), 38th in IHSAA State Finals (16:32)
2019 Track Tournament: 2nd in East Noble Sectional 1600 (4:29), 2nd in East Noble Sectional 3200 (9:39), 4th in Marion Regional 1600 (4:24), 6th in Marion Regional 3200 (9:42)
Outlook: Steury’s 37th-place finish at last year’s state finals is the third-best placing by a freshman over the last ten years behind only Crown Point’s Geno Christofanelli (on this list) and Carmel’s Ben Veatch (a five-time individual state champion). His track season illustrated great potential as well. He was the fastest runner in the regional round not to qualify for the state finals over 1600 meters, and in almost any other area of the state, he could have advanced in either the 1600 or 3200 (or both). We project him a year away from being a true individual contender, but a solid summer combined with his key experience as a ninth-grader could have him in the top five in Terre Haute.
12. Jesus Garcia – junior – Zionsville
Inccstats.com ranking: 11
State Meet History: 23rd in ’18 (16:17)
2018 Cross Country Tournament: 3rd in Ben Davis Regional (16:03), 7th in Shelbyville Semi-state (15:57), 23rd in IHSAA State Finals (16:17)
2019 Track Tournament: 3rd in Avon Sectional 3200 (9:54), 6th in Lafayette Jeff Regional 3200 (9:37)
Outlook: Garcia was All-State in his first high school cross country season after flashing potential in a freshman track campaign in which he broke ten minutes over 3200 meters. He ranked as the fifth best sophomore on inccstats and followed that up with a better track season in which he ran 9:37 at the regional over 3200 meters, missing a callback by just a few seconds. On a seventh-place team with a good amount returning, Garcia could be looking to be the top runner on his school’s first ever podium team. He is the seventh returner based on state meet results.
13. Matt Newell – sophomore – Columbus North
Inccstats.com ranking: 38
State Meet History: 77th in ’18 (16:55)
2018 Cross Country Tournament: 21st in Brown County Regional (17:01), 27th in Brown County Semi-state (16:35), 77th in IHSAA State Finals (16:55)
2019 Track Tournament: 1st in Columbus North Sectional 1600 (4:27), 1st in Warren Central Regional 1600 (4:26), 11th in IHSAA State Finals (4:17)
Outlook: Newell was a very good freshman in cross country, scoring for his team that finished just a hair from the podium. In track, he was an all-time great freshman with his 4:17 performance over 1600 meters the fourth best ever among ninth-graders in a race that nearly grabbed him an individual medal in his first high school track season. This came after a regional round in which Newell helped his team qualify for the state meet in the 4x8 prior to winning the regional championship in the 1600. With Newell and classmate Reese Kilbarger-Stumpf at the front of the line-up, the Dogs may be a team of the future.
14. Krishna Thirunavukkarasu – sophomore – Brebeuf
Inccstats.com ranking: 14
State Meet History: 51st in ’18 (16:40)
2018 Cross Country Tournament: 4th in Brebeuf Sectional (16:49), 8th in Noblesville Regional (15:57), 15th in Shelbyville Semi-state (16:03), 51st in IHSAA State Finals (16:40)
2019 Track Tournament: 6th in North Central Sectional 3200 (9:58)
Outlook: Thirunavukkarasu had a stellar freshman season, ranking as the top ninth-grader in his class and the 25th best of all-time according to inccstats. His 51st-place state meet finish was the 12th best by a freshman over the last ten years, and he made his way through the tournament individually after his team was eliminated in the regional round. His track season was good for a freshman with many sub-10:00 3200 races, including a 9:41 race at the small school division of the HSR finals. Typically, boys see the biggest jump in performance between freshman and sophomore years. If that’s the case, Thirunavukkarasu should be among the state’s best.
15. Caleb Williams – senior – Harrison (West Lafayette)
Inccstats.com ranking: 19
State Meet History: 25th in ’18 (16:19)
2018 Cross Country Tournament: 1st in Harrison Sectional (16:26), 1st in Harrison Regional (16:10), 7th in New Prairie Semi-state (16:21), 25th in IHSAA State Finals (16:19)
2019 Track Tournament: 2nd in West Lafayette Sectional 1600 (4:23), 3rd in Lafayette Jeff Regional 1600 (4:19), 13th in IHSAA State Finals 1600 (4:19)
Outlook: Williams was All-State as a junior and had a solid track campaign to go along with a breakout cross country season, qualifying for the state meet over 1600 meters. He is the ninth returner for cross country based on state meet results but was leapfrogged by runners we anticipate to have steeper improvement curves either because of age or more outstanding spring seasons. Nevertheless, Williams is an obvious elite runner with a history of performing his best in the most important races.
16. Jack Gillard – senior – Bloomington South
Inccstats.com ranking: 17
State Meet History: 92nd in ’17 (16:32), 41st in ’18 (16:33)
2018 Cross Country Tournament: 6th in Bedford North Lawrence Sectional (16:57), 6th in Bedford North Lawrence Regional (16:02), 10th in Brown County Semi-state (16:10)
2019 Track Tournament: 4th in Bloomington North Sectional 800 (1:59), 2nd in Bloomington North Sectional 1600 (4:15), 10th in Bloomington North Regional 800 (2:02), 1st in Bloomington North Regional 1600 (4:18), 2nd in IHSAA State Finals 1600 (4:13)
Outlook: Gillard may be a tad better on the track than the grass, though taking both seasons into account make it impossible to leave him off our preseason list. He was solid last fall, running his best race of the tournament in the state finals and his two best regular season races on LaVern Gibson at the Conference Indiana and Nike Twilight meets. Gillard proved himself to be one of Indiana’s best distance runners by running 4:13 and finishing second at the state finals. He is the 18th cross country returner based on state meet results, the top coming back in the 1600 and may feel like he has some unfinished business in cross prior to his senior year.
17. Will Jefferson – junior – Whiteland
Inccstats.com ranking: 18
State Meet History: 85th in ’18 (16:59)
2018 Cross Country Tournament: 1st in Franklin Sectional (16:41), 1st in Shelbyville Regional (15:54), 8th in Shelbyville Semi-state (15:58), 85th in IHSAA State Finals (16:59)
2019 Track Tournament: 1st in Columbus North Sectional 3200 (9:33), 1st in Warren Central Sectional 3200 (9:27), 12th in IHSAA State Finals 3200 (9:22)
Outlook: Jefferson is certainly a runner to look out for after a great sophomore season ended with a slightly disappointing state meet in Terre Haute. His 9:22 race over 3200 meters at the state finals in track rank him as the 35th best sophomore ever in Indiana, right in the ballpark of the tenth-grade times of some all-time Indiana greats like Nef Araia, Mike Fout, Zach Panning and Chris Walden. Even if he doesn’t progress at the same rate as those future title contenders, Jefferson should be formidable in his junior year, armed with great experience from the last two seasons.
18. Wilson Whicker – senior – Fort Wayne Concordia
Inccstats.com ranking: 16
State Meet History: 24th in ’18 (16:19)
2018 Cross Country Tournament: 4th in FW Northrop Sectional (16:33), 6th in West Noble Regional (16:11), 5th in New Haven Semi-state (16:00), 24th in IHSAA State Finals (16:19)
2019 Track Tournament: 3rd in FW North Side Sectional 3200 (9:47), 7th in Marion Regional 3200 (9:44)
Outlook: Whicker was perhaps the state’s most improved varsity runner after transferring from Huntington North to Concordia for his junior year. That great leap forward culminated in his All-State finish in Terre Haute, making Whicker the eighth returner for 2019. His track results were average for a runner with his grass accomplishments with several races between 9:40 and 9:50 over 3200 meters. Like some others on this list, he could have made the state finals in the 3200 from a different regional, which may have yielded a better performance in Bloomington. Team considerations should serve as a big plus, and Whicker’s daily training partner is perhaps the best distance runner in Indiana.
19. Cael Light – junior – Terre Haute South
Inccstats.com ranking: 11
State Meet History: 26th in ’18 (16:20)
2018 Cross Country Tournament: 1st in Terre Haute North Sectional (17:08), 4th in Bedford North Lawrence Regional (15:50), 8th in Brown County Semi-state (16:09), 26th in IHSAA State Finals (16:20)
2019 Track Tournament: 3rd in Terre Haute North Sectional 800 (2:03), 2nd in Terre Haute North Sectional 1600 (4:38), 6th in Terre Haute North Sectional 3200 (10:51), 5th in Bloomington North Regional 800 (1:59),
Outlook: Light had an incredible state meet, finishing less than a half of a second from All-State as the fourth sophomore to cross the line. Based on state finals results, Light is the tenth returner. His team’s track schedule doesn’t lend itself to high levels of competition, thus we don’t get a clear look into his progress as a distance runner from this spring. He did run a pretty brutal distance quadruple (4x8, 1600, 800, 3200) in the sectional round before concentrating on the open 800 at the regional, finishing fifth to miss advancing to the state finals. According to his inccstats profile, Light’s two best races last year came on LaVern Gibson, his hometown course.
20. Nick Hruskoci – senior – Cathedral
Inccstats.com ranking: 39
State Meet History: 89th in ’17 (16:31), 45th in ’18 (16:36)
2018 Cross Country Tournament: 9th in Brebeuf Sectional (17:21), 4th in Noblesville Regional (15:49), 25th in Shelbyville Semi-state (16:21), 45th in IHSAA State Finals (16:36)
2019 Track Tournament: 5th in North Central Sectional 3200 (9:47), 2nd in North Central Regional 3200 (9:28), 18th in IHSAA State Finals 3200 (9:41)
Outlook: Hruskoci is undoubtedly one of the most talented runners in his class. His showed great range this track season in leading off Cathedral’s indoor DMR record with a strong 1200 leg, splitting 1:56 as the anchor on the Irish’s podium 4x8 and qualifying for the state meet over 3200 meters with a 9:28 regional performance. Hruskoci’s best cross country race was a 15:52 on LaVern Gibson at the Nike Valley Twilight meet a week before the tournament started, which was good for sixth in a field that boasted all four main team contenders.
21. Will Clark – junior – Fishers
Inccstats.com ranking: 9
State Meet History: 46th in ’18 (16:13)
2018 Cross Country Tournament: Did not compete
2019 Track Tournament: 6th in Carmel Sectional 3200 (9:48), 9th in Lafayette Jeff Regional 3200 (9:42)
Outlook: Clark ranked 23rd in Indiana as a sophomore, the third best in his class, though he was unable to compete after a September 8 meet in Illinois. As a freshman, Clark was the second-highest placing ninth-grader at the state finals, serving as his team’s third man on a runner-up squad. Clark’s track season displays a clear return to training and racing. His 9:42 from the regional 3200 was not enough to score, but it would have advanced from multiple sites around Indiana. As with five others on this list that we consider to be on strong team contenders, Clark should have big motivation all summer and fall to help bring a championship to his school.
22. Jacob James – senior – Waldron
Inccstats.com ranking: 23
State Meet History: 126th in ’18 (17:20)
2018 Cross Country Tournament: 3rd in Franklin Sectional (16:53), 2nd in Shelbyville Regional (15:55), 11th in Shelbyville Semi-state (16:00), 126th in IHSAA State Finals (17:20)
2019 Track Tournament: 2nd in Columbus North Sectional 3200 (9:33), 3rd in Warren Central Regional 3200 (9:31), 13th in IHSAA State Finals 3200 (9:22)
Outlook: James was solid through the fall, breaking sixteen minutes in the tournament and easily advancing to the state cross country finals through one of the more challenging semi-states. He did not race particularly well in Terre Haute, but his track success over the longest possible distance in combination with his previous fall achievements showcase an ability to be among the state’s best. His 9:22 performance from this past spring is the seventh best of any current Indiana boy. If there is any cause for concern for James, it may be that his team’s schedule doesn’t prepare him for a highly competitive race like the semi-state or state meet the way that some of his big school counterparts enjoy through the fall.
23. Drew Smith – senior – Fishers
Inccstats.com ranking: 28
State Meet History: 32nd in ’18 (16:26)
2018 Cross Country Tournament: 6th in Pendleton Heights Sectional (17:23), 3rd in Delta Regional (15:59), 10th in New Haven Semi-state (16:09), 32nd in IHSAA State Finals (16:26)
2019 Track Tournament: 4th in Carmel Sectional 800 (1:59), 11th in Lafayette Jeff Regional 800 (2:02)
Outlook: Smith is the 12th returner in the state after a rapid improvement led him from someone outside the team’s top 12 to an important scorer on a title contender in a year. Team considerations for Smith (as well as our Carmel pair ranked below) could loom large in 2019. Though the Tigers were short of the championship last fall (by a scant 13 points and without a key contributor), Smith did get his first taste of a state title on Fishers’ 4x8 relay this past spring. Though it would be unrealistic to expect a second performance jump that matches last year’s, Smith should easily be one of the state’s top 25 with solid progression.
24. Grant Moon – senior – Carmel
Inccstats.com ranking: 22
State Meet History: 33rd in ’18 (16:27)
2018 Cross Country Tournament: 6th in Noblesville Regional (15:52), 19th in Shelbyville Semi-state (16:07), 33rd in IHSAA State Finals (16:27)
2019 Track Tournament: 8th in Carmel 3200 (9:50)
Outlook: Moon was a rock for Carmel in 2018, serving as the team’s number two runner on their state championship squad, after missing his entire sophomore season. As a junior, he scored in every race he ran for the Greyhounds, including serving as the team’s number one runner in the sloppy Eagle Classic and the regional. By virtue of his 33rd place finish in Terre Haute, Moon is the 13th returner. He was the fastest 3200 meter runner not to advance from the sectional round with his 9:50, and he ran 9:41 the week prior at the Hamilton County championship.
25. Ben Johnson – senior – Carmel
Inccstats.com ranking: 35
State Meet History: 40th in ’18 (16:32)
2018 Cross Country Tournament: 21st in Noblesville Sectional (17:46), 40th in IHSAA State Finals (16:32)
2019 Track Tournament: Did not compete individually
Outlook: This Carmel senior begins our list of preseason All-State individuals. Johnson’s junior senior is an enigma. He was the team’s number two runner in a close loss to Bloomington South at the Eagle Classic, but then he was absent from regular season meets for two weeks. After a sub-par race in the sectional where he was the team’s seventh runner despite four typical scorers sitting out, he was again absent from results until competing in the state meet and finishing 40th (the 17th returner for 2019) while helping the ‘Hounds to their second consecutive title. Johnson did have some good track results, though he was limited to relay duty in the tournament due to Carmel’s deep line-up.
Honorable mention: Jackson Carlile, Cathedral; Reese Kilbarger-Stumpf, Columbus North; Drake Kropf, FW Concordia; Ean Loichinger, Batesville; Will Murphy, Carmel; Robby Pratt, Zionsville; Drew Shellenberger, Southport; Leo Soriano, Harrison (WL); Paul Stamm, Cardinal Ritter; Eric Swinson, Hamilton Southeastern