Brooks Long
Brooks Long
Five county athletes will compete at the New Prairie cross country semistate on Saturday. A finish in the top 10 of the individuals that don't advance with a team will mean a trip to the state finals next week in Terre Haute.

On the boys' side, Southmont's Brooks Long and Crawfordsville's Davis Thompson will represent the county.

Long, who ran a 16:40 at the Harrison Regional is seeded 13th at the semistate. If he can match or improve on that time he will be in a position to get to state. For Thompson, there is some time to drop, but it's achievable. He ran a 17:16 at Harrison.

"Davis will need to run a 16:30 on Saturday," Crawfordsville head coach Megan Craig predicted. "This has been the magic number I have thrown out to three of the top boys all year. Davis had a bit of a set back before conference when he was out with an injury for 10 days. It's hard to come back mid-week of the sectional and be ready to race. I feel like he has had a few weeks to get back into the swing of things and is ready to go and get that time."

Long is in a unique position of being the only runner from his school that advanced. Thompson has Maddy Hurt on the girls' side that advanced and Hana and Haley Heide from North Montgomery both made it to semistate. He's had support from his teammates, as nearly all of them have continued to practice this week despite not being in the state tournament any longer.

"Our preparation is to maintain our workouts in anticipation of qualifying for the state meet, knowing as much as possible about the course and our competition and believing that we can do it," Southmont head coach Marvin Walters said. "Almost all of the boys have continued to practice every day with Brooks. Our course has enough variety of terrain to prepare us for anything that New Prairie has."

Walters explained in detail the preparation throughout the week, which includes of a variety of lengths and intensities.

Craig said that Hurt and Thompson have been working together this week.

"They are great motivators for each other," Craig said. "With such a small group everyone is very close. They do a great job of pushing each other and being positive influences."

Long and Thompson could also benefit from familiarity at the race itself on Saturday.

"I believe that Brooks and Davis have been friend and competitors throughout their younger years also. I am sure that it helps to have someone else in the county competing at this level also," Walters said. "I would think that as much as Davis wants to beat Brooks, Brooks wants just as much to beat Davis. The main thing for Brooks, however, is to make sure he qualifies for the next race. If they would both qualify, all the better."

The last Southmont boys to advance to the state cross country meet were Scott Rutledge and Chris Sering in 2003. Dick Berard is the only boy from Crawfordsville to make the state meet. He was third in 1971.

The top six teams will advance from each of four semistates. The next 10 individuals, not from those teams, will also advance. The action will begin at 10:30 a.m.