|Grothaus, Grandstaff All-Ohio at State Cross Country|
|Monday, November 04, 2013 12:00 AM|
By Charlie Warnimont
While runners are happy to make the state tournament, they want to perform their best on the “big stage”.
Only two local athletes left the state meet somewhat happy with their performances.
Crestview’s Mycah Grandstaff earned first-team honors in the boys Division III race, while Columbus Grove’s Colin Grothaus also picked up first-team honors. Teams competing from Lincolnview, Columbus Grove and Van Wert — boys and girls — were left a bit perplexed by their performances in their respective divisions.
Grandstaff, competing as an individual for Crestview, was pleased with his run in the Division III race as he finished 15th in 16:27.29. The top 16 runners in each division are accorded all-Ohio honors. The finish for Grandstaff may have come as a little bit of a surprise as his qualifying time was in the mid 30s for all runners competing.
“I feel great,” Grandstaff said. “I knew coming into the race, I was nowhere near the top 16; I was sitting between 35 and 40. I came out here and ran my best and I just pushed ahead. I did what I could.”
Making his third appearance at state was a big help for Grandstaff as he knew what to expect if he wanted to be near the front of the field.
“I sat back a little bit the first mile and I came up to the front a little bit between the first and second mile. Between the second and third mile, I held my position. This is my third year making it here, so I knew the first mile was going to be pretty quick. I came through the first mile at 5:06; I just ran my own race,” Grandstaff added.
Columbus Grove’s Grothaus, a junior, finished 21st in the race in 16:38.72. Although he still picked up all-Ohio honors, he was slightly disappointed in his race as he was looking for a better finish.
“I really wanted to get top 16 and get on the podium,” Grothaus said. “I didn’t PR or anything. I was aiming for all-Ohio and I think I got that. I was actually 16th with a mile to go but I didn’t have a great kick. My legs were pretty tired and I got passed by a few guys.”
As a team, the Bulldogs finished ninth in the Division III standings with 195 points.
Logan Douglas was the second Bulldog across the finish line as he was 65th in 17:19.53 while Jerry Kesselmayer was right behind him in 66th in 17:20.55. Lee Altenburger finished 76th in 17:31.65 and Bryce Sharrits was 100th in 17:52.61. Alex Tabler finished 103rd in 17:55.76 and Boone Brubaker was 132nd in 18:48.78.
The Lincolnview boys finished 12th in the Division III standings with 276 points.
“That was about where we were coming in,” Lancer coach Matt Langdon said. “This team did a phenomenal job just making it here. Every step of the way, they kept improving and they were very few people that thought we would be here, so for us, it was all about the journey of it. We just didn’t have the experience and emotion we needed for a race like this.”
Alex Rodriguez led the Lancers with a 44th-place finish in 17:01.57. Bayley Tow was 67th in 17:21.74, while Ben Bilimek was 81st in 17:38.95, Travis Lippi was 112th in 18:02.61 and Colton Snyder was 124th in 18:18.5. Trevor Neate was 131st in 18:43.7 and Tracey West was 135th in 19:00.6.
“Today wasn’t our best team race. I think last week (regionals) was our best race,” Langdon added. “We had tremendous support from the school and community and I think that may have taken its toll on the team. All the attention makes it hard to relax and you are tired; I know I was physically exhausted before the race started from all the emotion and I think that transferred to the kids. They ran hard and they enjoyed the experience. They are a little disappointed right now but once they get to reflect on what they did, I think they will be OK.”
One team that was disappointed in their race Saturday was the Van Wert boys team. The Cougars had some high expectations for state but things didn’t quite go their way as they finished 10th with 205 points.
“We’re disappointed,” Van Wert coach Brendon Moody said. “We had higher expectations than that; we know we are better than where we finished. We just under-performed for whatever reason, whether it was nerves or as a coach I didn’t get them mentally prepared for this and have them ready to roll. I’ll own up to that aspect of the mental preparation but, unfortunately, they have to own up to the physical preparation. We under-performed today and in this caliber of race, you cannot under-perform or you will get your clocks cleaned.”
Connor Holliday led the Cougar boys with a 32nd-place finish in 16:53.89, while Connor Shaffer was 46th in 17:02.75 and Daniel Perry was 54th in 17:07.05. Cade Fleming was 93rd in 17:34.43, Jordan Butler was 104th in 17:40.81, Nick Keber was 107th in 17:45.49 and Ryan Rice was 143rd in 19:06.36.
“You have to get out fast and that’s something you have to prepared for,” Moody added. “We know the race goes out fast and if you are not in it at the mile, odds are you are not going to be in at the 5-K. At the mile, we were ninth, at two miles we were ninth and at the 5-K we weren’t any better than that. It’s unfortunate; it really is. This is a great group of guys and they deserve to do better than that. The day they ran bad was the state race and that’s something we will have to evaluate.”
Western Buckeye League counterpart Defiance won the Division II state championship finishing with 107 points.
On the girls side, the Lady Cougars were 16th with 376 points.
Amanda Clay led the Lady Cougars at 68th place in 20:10.9, while Chloee Gamble was 88th in 20:28.8 and Schealissa Williams was 104th in 20:56.5. Natalie Riethman was 120th in 21:29.2, Andi Foster was 122nd in 21:31.1, Megan Barnhart was 128th in 21:48.4 and Whitney Meyers was 139th in 23:48.1.
“Finishing 16th is always tough. When you finish last in any race, it’s a tough one to swallow,” Moody said. “It was just one of those days where the girls didn’t run well. For me, I have to re-evaluate that as well. When you have two poor races that you coach and don’t run well, you start to question what you do and that is perfectly natural. We have five of these girls back next year, so this was a great experience for them.”
“Both programs have a lot to be proud of today; this is something to build on. It’s been a historic season for both programs to get down here. We’re happy to be here as there are any number of programs that would trade places with us but it doesn’t make it any easier to swallow.”