IHSAA Boys Cross Country

1996-97 State Finals in Review


Carmel swept the 1996 IHSAA cross country state meets November 9, 1996 at Conner Prairie in Fishers, winning the girls championship by a 40-point margin over Columbus East and the boys race by a 20-point edge over defending state champion Ben Davis.

This was the fourth time that Carmel has swept the IHSAA cross country state meets. The Greyhounds also won both titles in 1982, 1987 and 1988.

For the top-ranked Carmel girls, it was their second straight championship and eighth in the 16-year history of the event. Each of the titles has come under the guidance of coach Chuck Koeppen.

Sophomore Julie Ham became the first Carmel girl or boy to win an individual IHSAA cross country championship with a five-second victory over junior Erin Womble of Chesterton. Sophomore Brandi Silvonek of Chesterton was another four seconds back in third place.

Running in windy, 35-degree weather with three inches of snow on the ground from an overnight storm, Ham was clocked in 14:50 over the wet and muddy 4,000-meter course that was serving as the state meet site for the first time.

Carmel's other scoring runners were senior Brooke Bryenton in 14th at 15:22, junior Cody Sohn in 17th at 15:27, junior Angela DeVoe in 21st at 15:30 and sophomore Erica Wolf in 47th at 15:55. For team scoring purposes, Carmel's runners came in at 1, 8, 10, 12 and 25.

For the top-ranked Carmel boys, it was their first state championship since 1993 and their 10th IHSAA title overall. Koeppen has been the coach of all 10 state championship teams.

As a team, Carmel was able to use team balance to overcome a one-two Ben Davis finish by junior Fasil Bizuneh and senior Brad Bernhardt. Bizuneh ran four seconds ahead of his teammate in 16:09. Senior Damian Sherck of Elkhart Central was another seven seconds back in third place.

Senior John Vyverberg led Carmel with an 28th-place finish in 16:58. Carmel's other scoring runners were senior Josh Trisler in 35th at 17:02, senior Tito Downer in 45th at 17:10, junior Matt Hettlinger in 47th at 17:11 and junior Andy Smock in 48th at 17:11. For team scoring purposes, Carmel's top five runners came in at 11, 15, 23, 24 and 25.

Overall, the two 1996 cross country titles pushed Carmel's overall IHSAA championship count to 56, tops among all IHSAA schools. This also marks the 13th consecutive school year that Carmel has won at least one IHSAA state title.

Nicole Nigh of Lake Central was named the 1996 recipient of the IHSAA Mental Attitude Award in Girls Cross Country. Nigh, who finished sixth in 15:04, ranks eighth in a class of 579 students. Bernhardt of Ben Davis was selected as the 1996 recipient of Charles F. Maas Award for Mental Attitude in Boys Cross Country. He ranks 28th in a senior class of 827.

Farm Bureau Insurance, corporate partner of the IHSAA, will award $1,000 scholarships to Lake Central High School in the name of Nigh and to Ben Davis High School in the name of Bernhardt.


Carmel 98
Ben Davis 118
Valparaiso 128
North Central (Indianapolis) 150
Portage 185
Lake Central 200
Hammond Gavit 207
Southport 218
Northfield 230
Terre Haute South 257
Floyd Central 292
Martinsville 314
Goshen 317
Fort Wayne Northrop 321
Franklin 349
Homestead 363
Richmond 383
Owen Valley 418
Bloomington North 419
LaPorte 435


1. Fasil Bizuneh, junior, Ben Davis 16:09
2. Brad Bernhardt, senior, Ben Davis 16:13
3. Damian Sherck, senior, Elkhart Central 16:20
4. Jason Hochstedler, senior, Northwestern 16:24
5. John Warmoth, senior, Mishawaka 16:25
6. Rusty Niccum, junior, Westview 16:29
7. Clay Malayter, senior, Hebron 16:29
8. Ayron King, junior, Pike 16:30
9. Steve Casebolt, senior, Richmond 16:31
10. Evan Cooksey, sophomore, Brownsburg 16:34
11. Chad Andrews, sophomore, Northfield 16:34
12. Jason Walker, senior, Woodlan 16:35
13. Tom Taylor, senior, Portage 16:38
14. Jeff Headrick, senior, Concord 16:40
15. Jason Cussen, senior, Northfield 16:41
16. Ryan Schreiber, junior, New Prairie 16:42
17. Benjamin Norton, senior, Fort Wayne Snider 16:42
18. Joey Byrne, junior, Floyd Central 16:44
19. David Rudy, junior, Northwestern 16:46
20. Jonathan Jacob, senior, Mount Vernon 16:47
21. Jeff Glant, sophomore, Southport 16:48
22. Maurice Robinson, senior, Gary West Side 16:48
23. Matt Bliss, senior, Yorktown 16:50
24. Greg Borlik, sophomore, North Central (Indianapolis) 16:51
25. Michael Watts, sophomore, Westview 16:52