Big shoes can be hard to fill. For IU sophomore Bailey Hertenstein, those shoes were All-American Maggie Davis, the Hoosier top cross-country runner who graduated last spring.
However, Hertenstein did not just fill Davis’ shoes, she replaced them with a new shiny version.
Hertenstein won the 6K women’s race of the Commodore Classic in Nashville, Tennessee on Sept. 14 to lead the Hoosiers to a third place finish. The Hoosier men placed 2nd paced by senior Kyle Mau’s 2nd place finish.
Hertenstein, a Florida native, had high expectations coming into her sophomore season after finishing 127th, 3rd of all Hoosiers, at the NCAA Championships last year. In her first race of the 2019 season, among a plethora of talented runners, Hertenstein shone brightest.
In a sprint finish she held off 2017 All-American junior Jessica Drop of Georgia by a half-second to win the race around Percy Warner Park.
As a team, the Hoosier women placed third of 20 teams, only being topped by No. 15 University of Mississippi and No. 26 Ohio State. With a young team, the Hoosiers found some depth for a strong performance.
Senior Kelsey Harris and freshman Sarah Schmitt placed 13th and 17th respectively. A pair of freshman rounded out IU scoring as Jenna Baker crossed the line 33rd and Mikaela Ramirez was 37th.
For the Hoosier men running their first meet with top runners, they fell just short of winning the Commodore Classic. Middle Tennessee State placed first by just seven points over IU, in large part to the Blue Raiders having runners finish first and third. Kyle Mau was sandwiched in between placing second.
Senior Ben Veatch, in his first cross-country meet since 2017, placed 5th, just 13 seconds behind 1st. The rest of IU primarily ran as a team but the 15th ranked squad was not able to stick with the top pack enough to garner a victory on Vanderbilt’s cross-country course.
Sophomore Arjun Jha was the lone Hoosier to break away from the pack to place 13th ahead of four Hoosiers that crossed the line 19th through 23rd.
For the Hoosiers, being unable to take first among 20 teams in Nashville may be a disappointment, but IU still has nearly two months until the postseason. Regular season meets do not factor into the postseason.
However, for the Hoosier women with Bailey Hertenstein leading IU, youth may be only a small number come November.
CORRECTION: In a previous version of this article, Ben Veatch was incorrectly referred to as a junior. The IDS regrets this error.
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