Practice makes a perfect race as Stars sweep Artesians

BNL’s Autumn Spence works her way through the BNL cross country course. Spence won the girls race as the Stars swept a dual meet with Martinsville on Tuesday.

By Justin Sokeland

BEDFORD – Cue the immortal Allen Iverson rant: “We’re talking about practice, man. We’re talking about practice.”

Bedford North Lawrence ran with that, treating the rare midweek dual meet with Martinsville as a glorified practice session. It served a dual purpose – improvement and victory. Any questions? That was a great answer.

With Autumn Spence and Grace Tanksley pulling away in the second half of the 5K, two-lap tour of the BNL course, the Stars raced to a 25-31 win over the Artesians in the girls meet. BNL doubled its pleasure, claiming the boys meet with a 23-37 triumph.

Spence, content to let Tanksley and Martinsville frontrunner Alina Worzella set an early target, made her move just past the midpoint of the race and churned to the individual win in 20:47.8, a time that vaulted her into 7th place on the BNL board for best times on the home trek. Tanksley finished second in 21:33.5, a vital 1-2 punch.

BNL’s Grace Tanksley chases down Martinsville’s Alina Worzella. Tanksley finished second.

“We wanted Autumn and Grace to go 1-2, and if they did we should win,” BNL coach Jill Vance said. “That’s how it worked out, and we didn’t rest them at all (after Saturday’s race at Brown County). They were coming in on tired legs.

“We did not come out here to approach it like a normal race. We treated it like a practice. What did they need to work on? Form things, race strategy, pacing, how to handle hills, what’s going on in the mind?”

If the race was a mind game, Spence played it well, zipping from third place to the lead and never relinquishing that position.

“People are really good about wearing themselves out at the beginning of this race, because it’s nice and downhill at the beginning,” she said. “It’s a little tricky to pace yourself. They wore out, and then I caught Grace and it was like ‘Come on, let’s go.’ And we made our move.”

BNL’s Myra Roberts was fifth overall in 23:27.3 while Kaitlyn Phillips was eighth in 25:20.2. Worzella settled for third in 22:13.3.

Colton Sons paced the Stars in the boys meet while finishing second.

In the boys race, Martinsville’s Carson Heath left everyone in his dust, charging to an unchallenged win in 16:50.2. But while the Artesians had the hound in front, the Stars had the dogs in the hunt pack by taking the next three spots.

Colton Sons was second in 18:08.7, Cameron Haste was third in 18:28.2 and Cole Baker was fourth in 18:45.5.

BNL coach Jonathon Calhoun was looking for improvement since BNL’s last race event on its own course last month.

“I wanted to see how far we’ve come, and learn how to race,” Calhoun said. “It’s mano on mano, and my guys really came to race. We worked on the second mile, and I was really happy with the finishes.

“Now my goal is 30 seconds off these times for the next home race (the Ted Fox Invitational on Sept. 26). I really want to bring it. I feel we’re peaking at the right time and we’re going to hit the sectional really ready.”

BNL will compete in the Big Blue Invitational at Jennings County on Saturday.

BNL’s Cameron Haste charges up the hill toward the finish line.

Boys results

BNL 23, Martinsville 37

BNL – 2. Colton Sons 18:08.7; 3. Cameron Haste 18:28.2; 4. Cole Baker 18:45.5; 6. Isaac Williams 18:56.1; 8. Brayden Lanham 19:11.4; 9. Zane Thompson 20:01.9; 11. Jacob Simmerman 20:21.5; 12. Ryan Wright 20:45.5

Mart – 1. Carson Heath 16:50.2; 5. Logan Worzella 18:55.8; 7. Griffin Worzella 18:59.6; 10. Easton Collier 20:04.7; 14. Everett Renner 21:18.0; 16. Hayden Miles 21:34.6; 20. Wyatt Collins 23:37.7

Girls results

BNL 25, Martinsville 31

BNL – 1. Autumn Spence 20:47.8; 2. Grace Tanksley 21:33.5; 5. Myra Roberts 23:27.3; 8. Kaitlyn Phillips 25:20.2; 9. Ella Peek 26:15.3; 10. Emily Bartlett 27:36.3; 13. Jillian Webb 29:21.9

Mart – 3. Alina Worzella 22:13.3; 4. Katie Reeves 23:10.0; 6. Anika Worzella 24:29.0; 7. Sophia Demoss 25:17.6; 11. Morgan Schrock 27:44.6; 12. Courtney Kitchens 28:30.9; 14. Laci Eddelmann 29:25.0