SHELBYVILLE – It wasn’t their strongest race of the season, but the Zionsville girls cross country team did what they needed to Saturday at the Shelbyville Semi-State – they survived and advanced.

They actually did better than surviving, winning the semi-state title for the second-straight year, topping Carmel 86-95 to win the title.

“Our philosophy is always just advance one step at a time and get through to the next round,” Zionsville head coach Suzanne Rigg said. “Especially at semi-state, because it is hard to put back-to-back best races together. We just wanted to move on and the girls did a good job of getting through the day.”

The conditions were less than ideal for all the runners, with heavy rains, wind and cold temperatures.

That is really the first bad weather day there has been for the Eagles to compete in all season, but it was good preparation for how to run in adverse conditions.

“It’s good sometimes to see how mentally tough they are,” Rigg said. “This is English cross country weather, I ran in this all the time, and you just have to realize how fun this can be. The girls were having fun on the course, because we made it fun. You can make it miserable, or make it fun, and if you make it fun, you can do well.”

Katelyn Wasson led the Eagles with an eighth-place finish, crossing the finish line in 18:39.04.

Anna Settle came in three spots behind her in 11th, finishing in 18:56.34.

Lydia Moore placed 21st in 19:12.95, with Margaret Allen placing 24th in 19:17.11 and Sarah Petersen rounding out the scorers in 44th in a time of 19:52.44.

Rigg said the girls did a good job of moving up throughout the race.

“It’s important to be able to do that,” Rigg said. “At the state meet, you can get lost in the pack, because there are so many girls around you that are so good. If we can try and keep in some type of pack, and be able to work our way through, it’s helpful.”

Grace Gongwer placed 46th in 19:56.43 and Lauren Rinehart was 56th in 20:11.12 to round out the line-up.

The Eagles are looking for another high finish at the State Finals, after winning the title in 2017 and finishing runner-up last year.

Rigg said all the hard work is done, now is the time to show it off.

“We call it ‘money in the bank,’” Rigg said. “We have made our deposits all year long with our training, and the State Meet is time to take that money out and use it.”

The boys race will be at 1 p.m. at the Lavern A. Gibson Championship Course in Terre Haute, with the girls racing at 1:45 p.m.

Will Willems is the Sports Editor of the Zionsville Times Sentinel and Lebanon Reporter. Follow him on Twitter @Will_Willems.

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