TERRE HAUTE -- Sometimes the toughest expectations to meet are those we set for ourselves.
No one understands that more than Greencastle runner Andy Weatherford, who finished 20th at Saturday's IHSAA cross country championship meet at the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course in Terre Haute.
Weatherford, a four-time sectional champion in cross country, finished 10th in last year's championship race and was hoping to do even better this season.
"Last year I was 10th, so this year I was figuring on the top five. That's where I wanted to be," Weatherford said. "I was feeling really good for most of the race, and at about the (3,000-meter mark) it just hit me."
The GHS senior finished with a time of 16 minutes, 39 seconds.
De'Sean Turner of Warren Central High School, Weatherford's chief rival in his appearances in the 1,600-meter run in the track-and-field state finals the past two seasons, was the top-finishing individual with a time of 15:54.3.
Warren Central also claimed the team championship, finishing with 100 points. Franklin Central was second with 123 and Carmel finished third with 132.
Weatherford's top-25 finish places him on the All-State cross country team, but he still had his sights set on bigger and better things.
"Andy sets high expectations of himself," Greencastle cross country coach Mike Schimpf said. "He's had a heck of a high school career in cross country, and he's been a great leader and motivator for the team."
The course conditions were not the best on Saturday, as rain covered the course at the Wabash Valley Family Sports Center with water and mud. Weatherford admitted that the lay of the land had a role in his finish.
"The course conditions didn't play into my favor at all," Weatherford said. "I'm not too great of a strength runner, and today it was a strength runner's day."
Weatherford qualified for the state championship meet with a 11th-place finish at the Franklin Central Semistate on Oct. 21 with a personal-best time of 15:54.26.
The plan for Saturday's race was for Weatherford to run the race full-steam, a decision Schimpf said that neither he nor the Greencastle senior regrets.
"The fact of the matter is that Andy was willing to take some risks out there," Schimpf said. "We could've played it conservative, but Andy was willing to risk it, and that's what you've got to do."
Although Weatherford has had a great high school cross country career, it was obvious that Saturday's finish is one that will be on his mind for some time.
"This was definitely not where I had hoped to be," Weatherford said.
And even though he has run his last IHSAA cross country race, Weatherford is looking forward to an opportunity to lessen the blow of this weekend's race in the future.
"There's a little sadness with this being my last race, but there's still the Foot Locker Series, so there's still a little hope of being able to redeem myself," Weatherford said.
At LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course
IHSAA Cross Country State Finals
Team scores -- Warren Central 100, Franklin Central 123, Carmel 132, Bloomington North 139, McCutcheon 166, Northridge 188, Fishers 213, Hamilton Southeastern 217, Chesterton 250, Plymouth 259, Fort Wayne Dwenger 261, Silver Creek 290, Elkhart Memorial 298, Huntington North 308, Wawasee 318, Munster 319, Andrean 320, Bedford North Lawrence 419, Bloomington South 487, Evansville Central 534.
Top 25 (all-state) -- 1. Turner (WC) 15:54.3, 2. Carr (Brown County) 15:59.3, 3. Hardacre (Pendleton Heights) 16:08.6, 4. Green (FC) 16:09.5, 5. Richardson (WC) 16:13.3, 6. Stockberger (Mc) 16:15.2, 7. Rich (Carm) 16:17.5, 8. Moldovan (Fort Wayne Northrop) 16:18.0, 9. Reifenberg (FWD) 16:19.3, 10. Spirito (Nr) 16:20.1, 11. Halmuth (Pike) 16:20.8, 12. Hoffman (BN) 16:22.4, 13. Shields (F) 16:23.6, 14. Dannemiller (Martinsville) 16:24.2, 15. Poore (Indianapolis Chatard) 16:26.8, 16. Mayhew (Terre Haute North) 16:32.6, 17. Crossman (Brownstown Central) 16:35.1, 18. Neidlinger (Pl) 16:37.5, 19. Disher (Southport) 16:38.4, 20. Weatherford (Greencastle) 16:39.0, 21. Roeder (HSE) 16:40.3, 22. Dye (EM) 16:40.7, 23. Kremer (Indianapolis Chatard) 16:41.6, 24. Siblisk (Peru) 16:43.3, 25. Mitchell (FC) 16:44.2.