The Shelbyville Semi State presents the toughest road to the State Meet in Cross Country. Add to that a heavy, steady downpour of rain, and you’ve got a climax setting for a great story.
Going into the Shelbyville Semi State, Steven Schnepp was ranked 31st based on 5K times from this season (according to Athletic.net). 30 runners have gone under 16 minutes from this Semi State. To put things into perspective, of the other three Semi States, only 6 (New Prairie), 13 (New Haven), and 14 (Brown County) runners have gone sub-16. In order to qualify for State, he knew he’d need to at least be in the top-25, though even that wouldn’t be a guarantee (as it turned out, 23rd place was the last individual qualifier). When Saturday morning rolled around, rain was falling heavily throughout the state. With high winds, cool temperatures, and heavy rain falling, runners had every excuse available to not run well. However, the SP senior viewed the rain as a positive. He believed that others would struggle with the weather and not rise to the occasion. Steven was going to make sure he turned the poor weather into an advantage.
As soon as the race began, Steven immediately got out to a fast start and attached himself to the chase pack. Not even a mile into the race he found himself mixing it up with the top-25. Around 3K into the race he was in the top-20. The last mile is usually one of the hardest miles, especially if you’ve been running at a level you’ve never been at before. However, Steven kept his goal in mind and you could see the determination on his face. There was no way he was going to roll over and fall short of his goal. As Steven came down the final stretch, over 500m from the finish line, he showed amazing strength and determination. With a strong move to hold off those behind him, Steven was able to kick it in and finish 14th place overall. On a day when most runners are finishing way off of their personal best times, Steven matched his PR with another 16:00 and secured himself a spot to the State Meet.
At the start of the fall athletic season, Steven was planning on playing football. If he stayed on that path and things went well, he’d be gearing up for the Class A Football Sectional Championship. However, Steven made the decision to switch to Cross Country and now finds himself getting geared up to compete in the State Cross Country Meet that has no class system. He will be competing against the best runners in the state, regardless of school size, and he looks to prove himself as on of the elite runners in Indiana Cross Country.
The State Meet will be held in Terre Haute at the LaVern Gibson Cross Country Course on Saturday, Nov. 2 at 1:00 PM.