10/31/2013 3:00:00 PM Pacers Whitley Schirmer advances to state meet
Switzerland County's Whitley Schirmer will find herself in elite company this coming Saturday. She is one of only 208 female runners to qualify for the Indiana High School State Cross Country Meet. Schirmer's time of 19:19 this weekend at Eagle Park in Brown County placed her 12th overall and earned her the right to travel to Terre Haute to compete against the state's top runners.
Whitley Schirmer will be the first runner since Amanda Hon to advance to the state competition and only the third runner in school history to have such an honor. This includes, Patience Meyer who also qualified, but Whitley Schirmer will be the first freshman and the first at the 5K distance.
At the start of the race Whitley Schirmer placed herself toward the front in about 14th position and never seemed to give up any ground. Around the two mile mark, she was battling with two runners for the top spot in a small group of five runners. Schirmer continued to look strong throughout the last mile and then kicked past two girls in the final stretch for a twelfth place final standing.
Whitley Schirmer's time of 19:19 was over 20 seconds faster than her previous performance on the same course the weekend before at the regional competition. Coach Cole commented, "It is evident that Whitley just keeps getting better each race. She beat several girls today who beat her at our sectional, and her final time was outstanding. It just says a lot about her as a competitor. I have yet to see her fail at accomplishing something she sets out to do."
Whitley Schirmer will finish her season this Saturday, November 2nd, at the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course on Indiana State University's campus. The boys' race will begin at 1 p.m. and the girls' race will start at approximately 1:45 p.m.
The Pacers were also represented by two male athletes. Talen Taylor, a junior, finished a strong 61st out of a field of 177 runners. His final time of 17:05 was not enough to advance him to the state meet, but was only a few seconds off of his season best. Talen Taylor finishes an outstanding season with an individual conference championship, all-conference honors, and all-sectional honors. Braden Burk finished his senior season with an unfortunate injury that caused him to pull out of the race and hampered most of his season's performances. Burk, however, will graduate as one of Switzerland County's most decorated runners having accumulated multiple all-conference, all-sectional, all-regional, and semi-state qualifications. Braden Burk plans to continue his running career as he moves on to college.