Indian Creek girls cross country blazing new trails

The No. 1 runner on Indian Creek’s girls cross country team is from a family better known for a different sport.

As the early stages of this season have convincingly demonstrated, freshman Libby Dowty is comfortable blazing her own trail — literally and figuratively.

Dowty, whose father Pat is Indian Creek’s wrestling coach, and whose older sister Phoebe is one of the top female wrestlers in Indiana, has shown an ability to outdo herself every varsity race.

Libby Dowty had already improved upon the school record three times entering Tuesday’s Western Indiana Conference meet at Edgewood, where she was the individual winner. The standard is the time of 18 minutes, 18.9 seconds she clocked at the Eagle Classic at Brown County earlier this month.

Phoebe Dowty, a junior, is among the Braves’ top runners along with senior Abby Fleetwood, who was second to Libby Dowty at the WIC meet. Both also held the school record time earlier in their respective careers.

“I don’t know. I just needed a sport to do, so started running,” Libby Dowty said. “I started in fifth grade because my friends and my sister were doing it. This season has been fun.

“It’s been nice having people to run with. I was a little bit nervous at first, but I’m okay with it now. During the first meet (Indian Creek Invitational on Aug. 20), I knew I was helping my team.”

“I just want to do my personal best. Try get more PRs and get to state and place.”

With only six runners on the roster, Indian Creek is the perfect example of quality over quantity.

Coach Brady Devine’s other runners are Paige Iaria, Hannah Seitzinger and Alivia White. Together, they have done their part in helping the Indian Creek girls break into the state rankings for the first time in school history (25th last week).

The arrival of Libby Dowty is a factor, too.

“I’ve known her a long time because when I was in high school I wrestled for her dad,” said Devine, a 2014 Indian Creek graduate. “Libby’s sixth-grade year was when it was, like, wow. Every meet we have, she gets faster.

“Honestly, her fitness level just continues to get better, and her confidence, too. She’s starting to get used to the high school training. She’s starting to understand who these girls are she’s beating and running with.”

Fleetwood and Iaria are the Braves’ only seniors. The former, in fact, could be the No. 1 girls runner at many of the high schools in the state, but her freshman teammate makes it incredibly difficult.

To her credit, Fleetwood knows her points are going to count regardless of where she in in the lineup.

“Libby comfortable in that (No. 1) role, and Abby has really helped Libby become comfortable,” Devine said. “She’s been super supportive. Abby is an amazing leader.”

A month’s worth of October Saturdays are going to prove the ultimate yardstick for Devine’s squad.

The Johnson County meet takes place at Franklin on Oct. 1, followed by sectional and regional events on the same course. Indian Creek seems talented enough to qualify for the Shelbyville Semistate as a team — and, with a break or two, perhaps all the way to state.

Rankings mean well-deserved attention, which in turn results in the competition’s collective focus.

It’s been a long time getting here, but now the Braves have arrived.

“Honestly, the whole season we’ve kind of felt like we deserved it,” Devine said of the ranking. “We were just trying to earn it, and that’s been our motto all season: ‘Let’s go earn some respect today.”’