Clay Meyer makes history as first ever Regional Champion

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In the entire history of Switzerland County High School – a period that spans more than 35 years – there have been some outstanding athletic teams and some gifted individual athletes.

Those athletes and teams have brought numerous conference and sectional titles to the county; but no team or no individual has ever captured a Regional title while wearing “Pacers” on their jersey.

Until last Saturday.

Running a blistering time of 16:10 to outdistance the second place runner by more than 15-seconds, the two-time individual ORVC Champion wrote his name in the school record books when he earned the individual championship of the Bedford Cross Country Regional.

“It’s pretty neat,” Clay Meyer smiled when discussing the historic significance of his run. “The course had more hills, more up and down. I usually do better with hills.”

Clay Meyer said that he started out a little slower than usual, heeding the advice of coaches Mark Boggs and Adam Dennis, staying with the lead pack through the first portion of the five-kilometer race.

Also in the lead pack was Brendan Chwalek of Silver Creek, who won last week’s Hanover Sectional. Clay Meyer had defeated the Silver Creek runner in the Madison Courier Invitational earlier in the year, so the regional was the tie breaking race of the year.

“He was ahead of me for the about the first 1 1/2- or 2-miles,” Clay Meyer said of the early portion of the race. “I remember that I passed him going down a hill, and then I pulled away from him as we ran.”

Once he left the Silver Creek runner, it was all Clay Meyer from there, as he finished 15-seconds ahead of second place Nolan Fifth (16:25) of Seymour. Brendan Chwalek finished fourth overall (16:30).

Coach Mark Boggs also had praise for his senior star runner.

“What a performance by Clay Meyer,” the coach said. “He just missed on a sectional championship last Tuesday, but I knew he was going to give the regional championship a shot. He was focused, determined, and driven to make it happen. It was a great accomplishment for a great kid.”

The individual championship propelled the Switzerland County boys team to a third place overall finish with a total of 91 points. Seymour won the regional with 69 points; followed by Silver Creek with 80. Bedford North Lawrence was fourth with 115 points; with Jennings County finishing in fifth place, also with 115 points.

The top five team advance to this Saturday’s Semistate being held in Nashville, Indiana.

Austin was sixth with 117 points; followed by Brownstown Central with 177; Mitchell with 194; and Paoli with 225.

The top 15 individual runners earn spots on the All Regional team, and also advance to the Semistate. Switzerland County Corey McFarland continued his outstanding season, earning All Regional honors with a 12th place overall finish in a time of 17:00.

Other Pacer runners included Tray Meyer in 21st place in a time of 17:22; Josh Hon in 25th place in a time of 17:35; Anthony Dennis in 49th place in a time of 18:19; Tanner Ross in 64th place in a time of 19:36; and Quinn Meyer in 67th place in a time of 20:21.

“These guys are champions,” coach Mark Boggs said. “I knew we had to run well to advance, but these guys went above and beyond. From top to bottom, each boy give it his all.”

The historic significance of the regional wasn’t lost on the coach, either.

“Our school has only been to the Semistate a hand full of times. Today, these guys became a part of history.”

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The Lady Pacer cross country team also participated in Saturday’s Regional, and although the Switzerland County team didn’t advance, freshman Bre Hinman will represent her teammates. She had an outstanding effort in the regional, finishing 10th overall to advance as an individual to Saturday’s Semistate.

“Brelynn ran a personal best time by knocking a full minute off of her best time,” Coach Mark Boggs said. “She was able to get out fast and establish herself throughout the whole race. I am very proud of her.”

Bre Hinman covered the course in a time of 20:41 to earn her spot in the Semistate; and also led her team to an eighth place finish with a score of 174 points.

Sectional champion Madison won the Regional with 44 points; followed by Bedford North Lawrence with 101; Jeffersonville with 110; Silver Creek with 115; and Brownstown Central claimed the final team spot with a score of 132.

Seymour was sixth with 148; followed by Paoli with 151 and then Switzerland County. Salem had 177 points; and Henryville finished with 212.

Along with Bre Hinman’s outstanding effort, the Lady Pacers saw Allie Mathews finish in 37th place in a time of 22:39; Amber Meli finish 41st in a time of 23:02; and Beth Abbott finish 50th in a time of 24:03.

Alexis Carfield finished 56th in a time of 24:36; Andrea Brogan was 59th in a time of 25:01; and Halie Thomas was 60th in a time of 25:05.

“Unfortunately the girls did not advance,” Coach Boggs said. “It’s been a good year for the team. We will miss our one senior, Beth Abbott. She has been the ideal student-athlete for our Lady Pacer program.”