IHSAA Girls 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 56
Columbus East96
Portage 151
Michigan City155
Chesterton 158
Northridge 190
Valparaiso 193
Homestead 214
North Central (Indianapolis) 226
Lake Central 228
Floyd Central 280
Columbus North286
Center Grove 324
West Noble 334
Northeast Dubois339
Fort Wayne Snider 385
Northfield 458
Jeffersonville 473
Terre Haute South 489
Bedford North Lawrence 518


1. Julie Ham, sophomore, Carmel 14:50
2. Erin Womble, junior, Chesterton 14:55
3. Brandi Silvonek, sophomore, Chesterton 14:59
4. Amber Macy, senior, Columbus East 15:02
5. Amanda Bell, Clarksville 15:03
6. Nicole Nigh, senior, Lake Central 15:04
7. Heather Hartshorne, junior, Princeton 15:07
8. Maria Harriman, junior, West Noble 15:08
9. Allyson Hammond, sophomore, Bellmont 15:11
10. Nicole Williams, sophomore, Westview 15:14
11. Molly Dattilo, freshman, Madison 15:16
12. Aimee Fleenor, senior, Silver Creek 15:17
13. Kelly Keene, senior, North Central (Indpls.) 15:21
14. Brooke Bryenton, senior, Carmel 15:22
15. Jessica Chaplin, sophomore, Maconaquah 15:25
16. Marybeth Key, junior, Valparaiso 15:26
17. Cody Sohn, junior, Carmel 15:27
18. Talia Barwick, junior, Fort Wayne Northrop 15:28
19. Jacilyn Frechette, sophomore, Portage 15:28
20. Molly Sanders, freshman, Fort Wayne South 15:29
21. Angela DeVoe, junior, Carmel 15:30
22. Jennifer Wheeler, junior, Southport 15:31
23. Stacy Ketron, sophomore, Columbus East 15:34
24. Kimberly Snyder, senior, Plymouth 15:35
25. Amanda Hall, senior, Kankakee Valley 15:35