FORT WAYNE – A program once canceled because of a lack of interest, and resurrected later by a small die-hard group of running fans, joined a select group Saturday by reaching the state finals as a team.
Finishing sixth as a team in the IHSAA New Haven Semi-State, the South Adams boys’ cross country team advanced to the state championship meet, marking just the third time in school history that a team has made it to the state finals. The cross country team is the first in 31 years to make it to state for South Adams, joining the 1972 and 1982 baseball teams led by Dean Stahly. All three teams advanced in non-classed state tournaments.
The boys cross country team has come close in recent years, making it to semi-state the three previous seasons, but the best they could do prior to Saturday was an 11th place finish in 2011. The Starfires finished 12th last season and 16th in 2010. South Adams did get an individual to state in the 2011 season when Evan Liechty finished third at semi-state.
Carroll (Fort Wayne) won the semi-state title with 71 points and Northridge (near Elkhart) was second with 116. The next four teams were fairly even with Bishop Dwenger finishing third with 142 points, followed by South Bend Riley (149), Homestead (160) and South Adams (169).
The next closest team was Fort Wayne Concordia with 195 points. Huntington North, which beat South Adams by a point in a confusing regional the week before at Marion, was eighth with 211 points. Bellmont was 15th as a team with 397 points.
Runners representing South Adams Saturday at the semi-state were seniors Clayton Rhoades, Brody Shane and Daniel Velasco; junior Sawyer Miller; sophomore Daniel Steffen; and freshmen Briar Goodwin and Bailey McIntire.
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