Justin Hoffman and Ethan Ehrhardt of the Kankakee Valley High School boys’ cross country team competed in the New Prairie Semi-state on Saturday, October 24, 2020. Hoffman finished twenty-fourth out of 178 runners; Ehrhardt, 131st.
In his second semi-state appearance, Hoffman, a junior, surpassed his PR time set at this meet last year, establishing a new mark of 16:41.3. “After missing six meets due to a stress fracture, after seeing Justin finish bike workouts or a pool workout hardly able to stand, after getting used to moving fast in running shoes,” explained Coach Adams, “it was exciting to see Justin race well and run his fastest. He worked hard to return to be here.
“Today he put himself in contention for the step to Terre Haute without panicking, without letting the moment get too big for him. The competition was fierce. A lot of quality runners, some of whom placed ahead of Justin at conference or Sectional or Regional, finished behind him, some of them in times considerably off of their best. Guys who are accustomed to scrapping out a top ten, top five, finish in a race found themselves in a sea of equally good runners…and faded to 60th.”
Four Regionals feed into one Semi-state. Runners advance to the State meet by virtue of running on a team that places in the top six or by being one of the top ten individuals from a non-advancing team. Post-season cross country in Indiana is not separated by classes.
Freshman Ethan Ehrhardt also competed, qualifying for his first Semi-state in his first opportunity. “Ethan had the unusual experience of leading us during the first half of the season. Here he faces a longer race distance, longer workouts, faster paces…and he did it all remarkably well. He hit a bump a Sectionals but rebounded with some tenacity at Regionals. There was only one other freshmen in today’s race whose appearance was not due to being on a qualifying team. He competed against older, more experienced runners all season. I am excited that he had this race experience today; it signals a promising future.”