Ceraland to host big cross-country event

A new course at Ceraland will be home to the USATF Indiana Association Cross Country Championships this fall.

Ceraland, which cast the only bid for this year’s event after it was conducted at Northview Church in Carmel the past five years, will host the championships on Nov. 14.

“It’s a real opportunity to showcase this course,” Columbus Running Club president Randy Stafford said. “They’ve done a lot of work in the last year to make it a really nice venue.”

The new course hosted the Columbus North-Columbus East boys and girls dual meet Wednesday and the Columbus Christian Invitational on Saturday. The layout is a little different than the one North has used for its home meets the past three years.

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“This is much more varied because you get in the woods, you have more terrain within the woods and if you would have a hot day, a lot more of the course is going to be shaded,” Stafford said.

Ceraland will also host a Hoosier Cross Country Grand Prix Series event, the Columbus Classic, on Oct. 18.  The grand prix series features divisions for 8-and-under (2K run), 9-10 and 11-12 (3K run), 13-14 (4K run) and 15-16 and 17-18 (5K run). There also is an open division and several masters divisions beginning with age 40.

Rhandi Orme, 32, of Columbus was last year’s women’s open division champion, despite running in only the final race.

“I was surprised to receive the (championship) certificate in the mail,” Orme said. “I didn’t keep up with the series.”

Orme helped start the Columbus Pathfinders, Columbus Running Club’s cross-country team. She coaches the group, which has about 50 kids.

“Sometimes, it’s difficult to race for myself and be able to put the focus I want on the athletes,” Orme said. “So I just chose to participate in one race.

“Ironically, I was getting ready for a big race and had tired legs, but I wanted to kind of show the kids that we can race, too,” she said. “Josh Knight, one of our other coaches, had run the last few races, and he wasn’t running, so I thought ‘I’ll take my turn. I’ll run with the kids.'”

Orme likely won’t run in any of the grand prix events this year. She plans to run the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon the same day as the championship race at Ceraland.

The six-event grand prix series begins Sunday at Blue River Park in Shelbyville. The final event before the championship is Nov. 7 at Freeman Field in Seymour.

If you go

The schedule for this year’s Hoosier Cross Country Grand Prix:

Oct. 11: Shelbyville Classic, Blue River Park

Oct. 18: Columbus Classic, Ceraland

Oct. 18: Lowell Classic, Lowell High School

Oct. 25: Noblesville Classic, Guerin Catholic High School

Nov. 1: West Lafayette Classic, Purdue University

Nov. 7: Seymour Classic, Freeman Field

Nov. 14: Championship, Ceraland

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Ted Schultz is sports editor for The Republic. He can be reached at tschultz@therepublic.com or 812-379-5628.