|Local teams, runners advance to Tiffin Regionals|
|Monday, October 21, 2013 12:25 AM|
By Charlie Warnimont
OTTAWA — Top four or top 16. It’s what cross country teams and individuals shoot for to keep their season alive when it comes to the second season.
A chilly, soggy day at Ottawa’s Memorial Park made that task a little more difficult for local runners. And when the sun decided to shine at the end of Saturday’s district cross country meet, six teams and four individuals from the area found themselves headed to Tiffin next Saturday and the regional cross country meet. The regional tournament will be held at Hedges Boyer Park starting at 11 a.m. with the girls Division III meet.
St. John’s will be one of the local programs making the trek to Tiffin as they had a pair of individuals advance in Curtis Pohlman and Megan Joseph.
Pohlman, a sophomore, finished 13th in the boys Division III, District 1 race in 18:07.1. Joseph, a senior, advanced from the girls District 1 race as she finished 11th in 21:23.9. This will be Pohlman’s second trip to regionals and Joseph’s third visit to the regional.
“We felt Megan would comfortably get in and she did,” St. John’s coach Steve Hellman said. “I thought she would run a little better than that but it’s all about placing in the top 16 and moving on. We knew Curtis would have to run a great race and he ran his race and finished 13th. Team-wise, we finished about where I thought we would. It was great to have teams this year as this was the first time since the 2007 season we were able to do that.”
The Blue Jay boys finished eighth in the District 1 field and the Blue Jay girls also were eighth in the girls District 1 field.
While St. John’s advanced individuals from these races, the Lincolnview and Crestview boys advanced as teams, as did the Spencerville girls.
The Lancer boys finished second in the District 1 race with 66 points and Crestview was third with 77 points. Minster won the district title with 62 points.
Lincolnview was led by junior Bayley Tow as he finished third with a time of 17:08.9. Lancer junior Alex Rodriguez finished ninth in 17:27.9, while Ben Bilimek was 17th in 18:12.6, Travis Lippi was 18th in 18:24.5 and Trevor Neate was 19th in 18:31.5 to round out the top five for the Lancers.
“I thought the boys ran really hard today,” Lancer coach Matt Langdon said. “We ran more competitively against Minster than what I thought we would. Our kids seem to excel in these kind of weather conditions. They were excited this morning when they saw it was raining. Bayley finished third and I thought Alex ran a really good race as he competed well against some other teams’ top runners. My sixth guy, Colton Snyder, ran really well as he was ahead of a lot of teams’ fifth guy today.”
The Lancers will be making a second straight trip to the regionals and will be looking to possibly make the next level after a fifth-place finish at Tiffin last season.
Junior Mycah Grandstaff led Crestview as he finished seventh in 17:24.8. Junior Charles Thornburg was 10th in 17:44.5, while junior Branden Clayton was 14th in 18:08.5 and senior Bryce Richardson was 16th in 18:10.6. The Knights fifth runner was sophomore Cody Mefferd, 30th in 19:12.1.
“The boys had a good day and ran well,” Crestview coach Jeff Bagley said. “When you get to this spot, you want to run fast, compete and you want to move on and we did all those things. We had four guys in the top 16, which I thought was nice and our fifth, sixth and seventh runners all ran well. We talked before about the weather conditions but I think we have a group of guys that thrive in these types of conditions and the big battle is your mindset and how you handle the weather conditions.”
The Spencerville girls ignored the weather and injuries to nab fourth place in the District 1 race. The Bearcats and Marion Local both finished with 105 points with the tie being broken on each teams sixth runner. Minster won the district title with just 17 points and Fort Recovery was second with 85 points.
Junior Cierra Adams led the Bearcats with an eighth-place finish in 20:53.9. Senior Karri Purdy finished 12th in 21:26, while senior Tori Hardesty was 19th in 22:32.6. Kacie Mulholland was 29th in 23:10.6 and Megan Miller was 39th in 23:51.2.
“We have a couple of injuries and were not 100 percent today,” Bearcat coach Brian McMichael said. “We were lucky to make it out. We didn’t run our best; we were kind of slipping and sliding all over the place but they ran OK. We are hoping to get a couple of injuries better and see what we can do next week.”
Kalida sophomore Katelyn Siebeneck finished fourth in this district in a time of 20:33.8. Siebeneck broke up Minster’s dominance at the top of the field as the Wildcats had the top three runners, then had the next two after Siebeneck broke up their pack.
One coach that was surprised by what his team did Saturday was Columbus Grove’s Terry Schnipke. The Bulldog coach felt his team would make it out but when they won the district title, it came as a surprise.
The Bulldogs won the District 2 team title with 45 points as New Bremen was second with 65 points.
Columbus Grove was led by Colin Grothaus as he finished third in 17:06.5. The Bulldogs’ efforts were helped out as they had three more runners in the top 10 as Jerry Kesselmayer was seventh (17:39), Logan Douglas was eighth (17:40) and Lee Altenburger was ninth (17:50). Bryce Sharrits rounded out the top five for Grove as he was 18th in 18:10.
“I was completely surprised and in a good way,” Schnipke said. “I kept telling people all week we were a comfortable fourth but I never expected to beat St. Henry and New Bremen and do it by 20 points. The boys ran really well today and something we talk about in training no matter what the weather is you have to go out and perform and they did today.”
Van Wert’s cross country teams both finished second in the Division II races to advance to the regional meet.
The Cougar boys finished second to Defiance. The Bulldogs won the district title with 37 points and the Cougars had 49.
In the girls team standings, Eastwood won the district title with 51 points and the Cougars were second with 56 points.
Connor Holliday led the Van Wert boys with a third place finish in 16:33.6. Connor Shaffer finished ninth in 17:07.7, while Jordan Butler was 11th in 17:22.9 and Cade Fleming was 12th in 17:23.2.
In the girls race, Andi Foster led the way with a fifth-place finish in 20:34.2. Schealissa Williams was ninth in 20:47.5 and Chloe Gamble was 10th in 20:50.2. Amanda Clay finished 13th in 21:06.5.
“It was a solid day for both the guys and girls,” Cougar coach Brendon Moody said. “The thing was to get out of here unscathed with no injuries. The course was pretty sloppy so the times were not that good. It’s all about competing and moving on, finishing in the top four and whenever you can bring home some hardware it’s nice. We are excited.”
Elida’s girls cross country team had reason to celebrate as sophomore Alyssa Turrentine advanced to the regional tournament. Turrentine finished sixth in the Division II race in 20:41.1. The Bulldogs were hoping Turrentine would make it out this season after just missing a trip to regionals last season.