Sports and Outdoors

Monday, November 5, 2012

Sorrells, Erba lead Indiana all-star cross country teams

State champion Connor Sorrells of Barr-Reeve and record-breaking Ashley Erba of Warsaw lead this year’s Indiana All-Star Cross Country Teams.

The Indiana Association of Track and Cross Country Coaches (IATCCC) announced its 12-runner boys and girls lineups that will compete Saturday, Nov. 17, at the annual Mid-East Cross Country Championships in Kettering, Ohio.

Similar to the Indiana-Kentucky All-Star Basketball series, the Mid-East meet brings together top senior high school cross country runners from four states – Indiana, Ohio, Michigan and Illinois – for a unique state vs. state competition.

Last year, Ohio won the boys championship, while Indiana took home the girls trophy.

Hoosier team members were selected on the basis of their performance at the IHSAA state finals in Terre Haute on Oct. 27.

Sorrells, from tiny Barr-Reeve High School (enrollment 203), won his school’s first individual state championship by covering the tough 5,000-meter (3.1 mile) LaVern Gibson course in 15 minutes, 21.3 seconds. He passed early race leader Zach Panning of Fort Wayne Concordia and powered away over the final 800 meters.

Sorrells is the first champion from a true “small” (Class 1A) school since Gayle Lundquist of Battle Ground, who won the individual title in 1960.

Erba, the girls state runner-up, waged historic battles with state champion Anna Rohrer of Mishawaka throughout the entire cross country season. Rohrer is a sophomore and not eligible for All-Star consideration.

Erba, the 2011 state champ, broke course records almost everywhere she ran, including the huge Culver Academies Invitational and New Prairie semistate. At the state finals on Oct. 27, she clocked 17:29.2 and broke her own state meet course record by 36 seconds, but still finished second to Rohrer.

Erba won the IHSAA’s Mental Attitude Award. She has verbally committed to run for Providence College next year.

Erba is also a national high school champion in track and field. She won the girls 5,000-meter run at the New Balance Outdoor Nationals in June, 2012. Her 16:18.21 clocking in that race is the meet record.

Joining Sorrells on the boys All-Star squad are two pairs of teammates – Jonathan Harper and Alex Hess from Carroll  (Fort Wayne), as well as Warsaw’s Jacob Poyner and Robert Murphy.

The girls squad also has two pairs – Bobbie Burgess and Grace Lachmund from West Lafayette, and sisters Bethany Neeley and Brittany Neeley from Eastern (Greentown).

Elkhart Christian’s Joel Hartman – who didn’t even qualify for the semistate as a junior – is his school’s first representative on the All-Star team.

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