|Lady Bearcats, Bulldog boys lead Tri-County area runners|
|Monday, October 29, 2012 1:33 PM|
TIFFIN — It’s all about next week.
The State Cross Country meet, for the second year in a row at National Trail Raceway in Hebron, was what all the runners have been shooting for from the start of pre-season conditioning in late July/early August to now.
The Tri-County area will have a number of youngsters running in that race in both the Division III and II ranks after performances at Saturday’s Tiffin Regional at Hedges-Boyer Park on a cloudy, chilly morning/afternoon.
The Lady Bearcats of Spencerville finished fourth as a team and will be going on, led by senior Karry Purdy, who clinched 11th place (20:14:05) on the muddy course.
“I didn’t run as well as I did in the NWC meet, where I set my personal record. However, you’re not going to run as fast on a course that’s this hilly and with the wet and slippery ground,” Purdy acknowledged. “I was here last year, so it helps to know a little bit about where you’re running.
“It’s great that we’re going as a team. It’s a lot better and a lot more fun knowing I won’t be training alone this week and we’ll still be pushing each other. We all had a goal of our time and place but Coach (Brian McMichael) told us not to worry about it.”
That was because the long-time mentor figured out the course wasn’t going to allow it.
“With conditions like these, those go out the window; you aren’t worried about the times nearly as much. All you’re worried about now is running your best and not trying to do too much,” McMichael acknowledged. “Our goal today was how many we could pass in the final 150 meters; that was going to help us if we wanted to advance as a team. I believe every girl passed at least one person in that stretch and that was key. We have a solid four girls anyway but we needed number 5-7 to advance; we did that.
“Karri ran a solid race today. We’ve been talking all year about running as a pack and running more and more up near the front as a team — which we have done as the season has progressed — but she’s the leader we need to help us along.”
Other Lady Bearcats were Cierra Adams in 30th (21:07.85), Tori Hardesty 50th (21:38.28), Kacie Mulholland 65th (22:00.25), Schylar Miller 86th (22:37.73), Jennifer Burnett 98th (22:51.27) and Tesa Horton 124th (24:18.44).
Two Kalida runners are going to Hebron: senior Jessica Doepker, making her third straight berth, in ninth (20:01.15) and freshman Katelyn Siebeneck in 14th (20:26.10).
“I was in the top 15 last year and want to do at least that and hopefully better this time. The pressure is on as a senior, knowing this was my last chance and wanting to do it again,” Doepker said. “Of course, the conditions aren’t going to allow you to really run fast but you want to run steady and make sure you’re on solid footing as much as possible. It’s all about advancing; where you finish isn’t that important except that it’s top 16.
“It’s unfortunate that we finished ninth as a team.”
Where Doepker seemed like “Steady Eddie” about going to State again, the freshman Siebeneck was excited.
“It’s my first time and I can’t wait. It’s nice to go with Jessica because she’s been there and I know she can help me stay calm,” she added.
For LadyCat coach Scott Miller, it’s bittersweet.
“Jessica has been strong all season. You know what you’re going to get with her and she ran a solid race,” Miller said. “Katelyn has been running very well as a freshman. We’ve had the big three all season but the third, (sophomore) Jackie (Gardner), was 19th (20:52.20). It’s nice to have the senior and the freshman go; it’s an exciting time for them and for our program.
“However, we’ve struggled with injuries all season, which finally caught up to us as a team. We had a couple even today that were running with nagging injuries and that isn’t helpful to running well when you have to; the competition is just too fierce.”
Other LadyCats racing this day were Becca Brinkman in 116th (23:48.21) and Katie Schmitz in 134th (25:46.50).
St. John’s junior Megan Joseph ended up 45th (21:35.21).
“I don’t know what happened. I don’t remember much,” Joseph said. “It just seemed like I hit the 2-mile mark and wondered what happened; I just had a funny feeling. I’m glad to race here again after not making it last year due to injuries. I was in the 30s as a freshman and am just trying to get back up to where I was then.”
For St. John’s coach Steve Hellman, who also had a freshman boy, Curtis Pohlman running Saturday at Boardman, it was still a good day.
“It was nice to see Megan back here again. It was frustrating for her last year because of the injuries and she managed to race most of this year without them,” he added. “For her and Curtis, who finished 86th (18:26) in a rainstorm there, it was all about experience. You want them to finish as high as they can but you also want them to gain valuable experience about running at this level against this stiff competition. It’s only going to help down the road.”
On the boys side, Columbus Grove also is going as a team, finishing in fourth.
Jake Graham took first (16:18.03) and Colton Grothaus was 16th (16:53.64) but head coach Terry Schnipke was not happy.
“I am disappointed because I felt we could finish in third or even second. We struggled on this course; we ran terribly in the Carnival race earlier this fall,” Schnipke acknowledged. “I’m happy for Jake — he’s just such a strong runner who doesn’t allow anything to bother him — and Colton; he ran well under tough conditions.
“However, Alex (Shafer) fell three times and I was expecting him to be in the top eight. Jerry (Kesselmeyer), who I expect to be in the low 40s, was 63rd (8:06.24). We have high expectations after returning most of the guys we had down at state last year. The good thing is I expect a better performance, especially Alex — I don’t anticipate three falls at Hebron.”
Graham didn’t run his best race time-wise but was still happy.
“My best time was at Celina (15:49) but you don’t worry about that today. I just wanted to run my race and just be solid, so I’m happy to win the individual title,” he said. “My goal is to win state as an individual and help the team to win it as well. Our goal was to get back there as a team and we did that; we had some things go against us but still advanced and that’s all you worry about. We were seventh as a team last fall and hopefully, we can move up a lot.”
Shafer finished 18th (16:56.62), Grant Schroeder 31st (17:24.11), Logan Douglas 67th (18:08.51) and Nick Schmiesing 97th (18:32.58).
The Lincolnview boys ended up fifth in Division III, led by the 26th of Bayley Tow (17:10.07) and Jeff Jacomet’s 40th (17:41.23).
“We ran the best we could. The top four teams that advanced out of here are four of the best in the state; you’re going to have to run very well to beat them,” Lancer coach Matt Langdon explained. “There were about six teams we knew were ahead of us and we had to run our best to catch them. We did that except for the top four; in all honesty, though, those four were going to have to run poorly and us our best to have a chance. We held up our end but they didn’t on theirs.
“We’re disappointed because the kids know they can do better than they did but that’s the nature of high school sports in Ohio.”
Alex Rodriguez was 45th (17:45.04), Skyler Whitaker 49th (17:46.42), Ben Bilimek 54th (17:51.50), Trevor Neate 71st (18:12.92) and Travis Lippi 77th (18:17.78).
Crestview has one runner advancing; sophomore Mycah Grandstaff; advance to state by ending up 11th (16:48.37). They finished ninth as a team.
In Division II, Van Wert’s boys had three members — Jared Fleming, Kase Schalois and Conner Holliday — advancing by finishing first (15:57.31), ninth (16:29.09) and 14th (16:37.81).
However, the team failed to make it, barely missing in fifth.
Running begins Saturday at 11 a.m.
|Last Updated on Tuesday, October 30, 2012 11:12 AM|