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Trojans' Harvey, Dickey run at semi-state

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New Castle sophomore Skyler Dickey (450) runs the course through a downpour of rain during last Saturday’s Shelbyville cross country semi-state at Blue River Memorial Park. Dickey finished the boys race in 113th place with his second-fastest time ever at the 5K distance with a clocking of 17:20.95.
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New Castle freshman Lydia Harvey runs through a downpour of rain during last Saturday’s Shelbyville cross country semi-state at Blue River Memorial Park. Harvey finished 75th in the girls race with a time of 20:34.75.

By ANDY CARTER of NCHS

Sports editor’s note: This story was received too late to run in Tuesday’s edition of the Courier-Times. It is being run in today’s edition.

SHELBYVILLE — On Saturday, two members of the New Castle girls’ and boys’ cross country teams traveled to Shelbyville to compete in their third meet of state tournament competition, the semi-state meet.

The meet was held at the Blue River Cross Country Course on the grounds of Blue River Memorial Park in Shelbyville. New Castle had one boy and one girl who had advanced out of the prior week’s Rushville regional into this week’s semi-state meet. Representing the Trojans were freshman Lydia Harvey and sophomore Skyler Dickey.

The weather conditions at race time were challenging, at best. Rain was coming down from the time the team got off the bus until they got back on the bus to head for home.

Temperatures were in the low to mid 50s which would have been ideal without the rain and wind. During the warm-up and during the boys’ race the rains were steady and the winds were a stiff 12 to 15 miles per hour out of east with occasional gusts. When the girls lined-up for their start, the rains became heavier and the course became more soggy.

With a field of 180 quality runners in each race, the bar was high to advance to the state meet on Nov. 2 in Terre Haute. To advance out of the semi-state meet in high school cross country, a team must place in the top 6 in the team standings and individual athletes must place in the top 10 athletes not on those 6 advancing teams.

Harvey and Dickey were competing for one of those 10 individual spots. Both knew that they would have to run close to 45 seconds faster than they ever had before in order to have any chance to advance to the state meet.

Girls Meet

Freshmen Harvey represented the Trojans at the semi-state meet because she placed among the top ten individuals the previous week. Harvey had gained valuable racing experience throughout the season and this day was another test.

Despite the pouring rain and wind in her face the first 800 meters, Harvey ran near her typical first mile pace, hitting that mark in 6:09, and was in the top quarter of the field.

The middle mile of the race was a challenge as the rain continued to pour down, but, Harvey posted one of her best two-mile splits of the season by running a 6:30 second mile.

The last mile of the race was grueling as the competitors were totally drenched from head to toe. Harvey dug deep and finished strong in the very competitive field. Harvey’s finishing time of 20:34.75 was just fractions of a second off of her time from the previous week and was good for 75th place.

Since girls moved up from the 4K to the 5K distance in 2007, only four other Trojans have advanced to semi-state as an individual and Harvey is the only freshman to do so. Also, only NC school record holder Claire Hinshaw has placed higher and ran a faster semi-state time for the Trojans than Harvey at the 5K distance.

Harvey ends an incredibly impressive freshman cross country season with many accomplishments and many goals for the future.

Boys Meet

Representing New Castle in the semi-state meet for the boys’ team was sophomore Dickey. The previous week in the Rushville regional, Dickey had dropped his time by 47 seconds from his previous best and he knew he had to again this week drop the same amount of time in order to have hopes of advancing to state.

At the start of the race it was a sea of humanity with Dickey mixed into the middle of the pack. At the 1,000-meter mark, Dickey looked strong and confident as a steady rain covered the field. Eclipsing the first mile in 5:17, Dickey had hit the mark faster than he had in any race this season.

During the second mile, Dickey continued to hold tough keeping pace with other competitors around him. In the final mile of the race, Dickey was gaining ground and passing other runners one by one.

At the finish line, Dickey had run his second-best ever 5K time covering the distance in 17:20.95, which was good for 113th place.

Dickey’s sophomore season has been a culmination of a year and a half of dedication to his training as he dropped times throughout the season. Dickey was the first Trojan boy to represent NC at the semi-state since 2016 when then sophomore Britton Adkins and senior Chris Graham qualified.