By Justin Sokeland
BEDFORD – According to the official Grace Tanksley heat index, which is probably more accurate than those lazy indoor guesstimates from the Weather Channel, there’s “warm. Then super hot. And then super-super hot.” Guess where the temperature gauge fell during Monday’s blazing race in the Scott Hiles Invitational?
In the heat of the afternoon, with the thermometer hitting the mid-90s, with runners collapsing at the the finish line, when a splash of water on the head felt fantastic and heat stroke was a bigger threat than a virus, Tanksley was tougher – and faster – than most.
Tanksley finished third individually as Bedford North Lawrence settled for fifth in the meet named for the former coach of the Stars. The clock wasn’t the enemy, the elements were. In a battle of survival on the 5-kilometer challenge, Tanksley tripped and fell during her tour of the course and still churned home in 22:01.47.
She might be slight in stature, but she’s hardly delicate.
”It was tough,” Tanksley said. “My time was not very good. But with the heat, it was just a mindset.”
Seymour’s Vivienne Siefker won the race in 20:44.24, while teammate Hayley Harpe was second in 21:53.27.
The Owls won the team title with 26 points. The Stars totaled 113.
In the boys race, BNL was a shell of itself with six athletes absent because of virus quarantine. With only five runners available, the bare minimum to compete, the Stars were sixth in the field with 158 points. Bloomington North was a devastating winner with the top seven finishers and perfect score of 15.
“I’m just waiting for everyone to be back,” BNL coach Jonathan Calhoun said. “Looking at the scores, that’s not too bad.”
Cole Baker was the top finisher for the Stars as he came home in 19th place in 19:33.04. Cameron Haste was 39th in 22:17.30.
“Cole ran this time last week, in cooler weather and an easier course,” Calhoun said. “Last race he went out slow for the first mile. And he was at 5:30 this time, which I feel he can keep pretty consistently. I’m happy with his effort.”
Brax Huber (56th in 25:07.30), Clayton Flick (58th in 25:20.30 in the freshman’s first varsity race) and Lazarus Kageman (65th in 27:00.98) completed BNL’s scoring.
Bloomington North’s Jack Holden was the winner in 17:47.98.
The Stars will return to action in the North Harrison Invitational on Sept. 2.
Scott Hiles Invitational
Team scores – Bloomington North 15, Seymour 65, Orleans 86, Eastern Greene 104, Brownstown 122, BNL 158
Top performances – 1. Jack Holden BN 17:47.98; 2. Ethan Teske, BN 17:48.38; 3. Liam Arthur, BN 17:49.37; 4. Jack Nelson, BN 17;49.73; 5. John Rushton, BN 17:50.23
BNL – 19. Cole Baker 19:33.04; 39. Cameron Haste 22:17.30; 56. Brax Huber 25:07.30; 58. Clayton Flick 25:20.10; 65. Lazarus Kageman 27:00.98
Team scores – Seymour 26, Eastern Greene 48, Linton 101, Mitchell 103, BNL 113, Brownstown 121
Top performances – 1. Vivienne Siefker, Sey 20:44.24; 2. Hayley Harpe, Sey 21:53.27; 3. Grace Tanksley, BNL 22:01.47; 4. Samantha Jacobi, Sey 22:12.85; 5. Peyton Smith, Linton 22:19.05
BNL – 22. Ella Peek 29:32.95; 26. Emma Baumgart 31:47.58; 35. Tracey Hanners 34:31.09; 47. Shelby Slaughter 45:15.54