As they reached the top of the final hill running one-two with less than 500 meters to go in the state cross country championships at the Indiana University Golf Course Saturday, Bizuneh, the defending state champion, was simply out of gas.
"I was reallly surprised, but I wasn't going to stop and think about it," Phariss said. "I had never seen him run like that, but that wasn't my concern. I knew I had to make my move and run hard to the finish."
By the time he reached the short chute for the final 100 meters, Phariss was in command of the race. The North Central junior won the state championship with a time of 16:04.72 over the 5,000-meter course, nearly eight seconds faster than second-place Chad Andrews of Northfield at 16:12.04. Crowd estimates were as high as 5,000 spectators.
Bizuneh, whose face revealed a pained expression down the stretch, finished 19th with a time of 16:35.40.
"I can't explain it. I just had no energy at the end of the race," said Bizuneh, who won the state title last year and finished 13th as a sophomore. "I didn't expect the hills to be that much of a factor, but they were, especially over the last 2K. By the time I finished, I was just feeling total exhaustion."
Phariss, Bizuneh, and Brownsburg's Evan Cooksey have trained together on Sunday afternoons for the last two years at Eagle Creek Park. At the race's completion, Phariss sought out Bizuneh to comfort his friend.
"I just gave him a hug and told him how sorry I was that it worked out this way," Phariss said. "For a runner like Fasil to wind up 19th in the state, you just knew something wasn't right."
Valparaiso, which finished tied with Carmel for the No. 1 spot in the final state rankings this week, won the boys competition with 154 points. Fort Wayne Northrop was second with 180, followed by Carmel (182), DeKalb (188), Westview (218), and Southport (233).
Valparaiso's top finisher was Trey Wiesjahn in 20th with a time of 16:35.88. All five of the Viking runners finished in the top 70.
"This was truly a team effort," said Valparaiso coach Michael Prow, a graduate of Ben Davis. "Our strategy today was to go out and race in front, and that's what we were able to do. You don't want to get caught in the middle of the pack and have to work your way up in a race like this."
As expected, Carmel dominated the girls race to win its third consecutive state championshiop over the 4,000-meter course. The Greyhounds' top five runners placed in the top 37 as Carmel posted a score of 56 to outdistance second-place Chesterton (147) by 91 points. Rounding out the top five were Crown Point (174), Columbus North (195), and Michigan City (213).
"These girls are really something, and they just showed that again today," said Carmel coach Chuch Koeppen. "When you have girls like Cody Sohn and Julie Ham running up front, you know good things are going to happen. I'm very proud of the way we competed today."
Sohn placed fifth in the race and Ham was eighth. Lindsey Vannatta was 31st, Amy Marshall 33rd and Greta Hockett 37th. While only the top five runners count in the scoring, Carmel's sixth runner, Angie DeVoe, was close behind at 41st.
Chesterton, rankied No. 2 in the state all season, performed well under difficult circumstances. Just nine days ago, Chesterton coach Larry James died suddenly of a heart attack. Warren Central coach Dennis McNulty, serving as master of ceremonies, led the crowd in a moment of silence at the awards presentation.
Westview's Nicole Williams, who won the 3,200-meter run in the track and field state championships last spring, won the girls race with a time of 14:23.1.
Local notables in the girls race included Zionsville freshman Scotti Wilborne finishing third, and Waldron's Teresa Kamleiter placing seventh, the top state finish in the school's history. In the boys race, Southport's Jeff Glant was third at 16:14.98, and Franklin Central freshman Aaron Fisher was sixth with a time of 16:18.47.
West Noble's Maria Harriman, an all-state competitor for four years, took home the girls mental attitude award. The Charles Maas Award for Mental Attitude was presented to Lakeland's Matt Stout.
|18||Terre Haute South||413|
|2||Maria Harriman||West Noble||12||14:27|
|9||Casey Schneider||North Harrison||9||15:00|
|12||Crystal Meeks||North Newton||10||15:07|
|14||Dawn Boggs||Columbus East||11||15:10|
|16||Talia Barwick||FW Northrop||12||15:12|
|20||Jessica Deitrich||New Albany||10||15:18|
|21||Alyssa Pittman||Bloomington North||12||15:20|
|23||Katie Koallner||SB Adams||9||15:20|
|17||Terre Haute South||338|
|1||Bart Phariss||North Central||11||16:04.72|
|5||Joey Byrne||Floyd Central||11||16:18.21|
|6||Aaron Fisher||Franklin Central||9||16:18.47|
|7||Aaron Crague||Lake Central||12||16:22.04|
|8||Kevin Chandler||East Noble||12||16:22.04|
|11||Logan Wealing||Benton Central||11||16:24.53|
|12||Chris Powers||Muncie Central||11||16:25.73|
|13||Jason Floyd||Elkhart Central||12||16:26.75|
|18||Mark Hubbard||Twin Lakes||12||16:32.58|
|19||Fasil Bizuneh||Ben Davis||12||16:35.40|
|24||Tim Sweeney||Ben Davis||11||16:37.09|
|25||Joe Hinson||Western Boone||9||16:38.10|