The Firelands Conference cross country championships were decided at Crestview High School and the wealth was spread around. Western Reserve senior Brendan Oswalt took first overall in the boys race while St. Paul freshman Lily Dowdell grabbed the top spot among the ladies. New London took the team championship in the girls race while also taking second behind Mapleton in the boys.
Oswalt ran a 16:38.62 winning by nearly six seconds. Oswalt has been battling conference rivals St. Paul’s Jared Arnold and Plymouth’s Nathaniel Redden all year long and bested his foes on Saturday. Arnold rolled in with a third place finish at 16:44.36 while Redden came in fifth with a 16:51.38. New London freshman Carson Coey crashed the Top 5 party with a gutsy come-from-behind finish in fourth with a 16:45.00.
“It was a very tough race and all four of us were battling it out then Carson stepped it up huge today,” Oswalt said. “With it being my senior year, I just wanted to finish my last conference race strong and I felt good coming to the back stretch, kicked it in and brought it home.”
Oswalt admitted it won’t be the last he sees of his FC competition, but Saturday was an enjoyable race.
“We finally got to race together in the same race,” Oswalt said. “It was very competitive and a lot of fun.”
On the ladies side, Dowdell took first place by the sizable margin of nearly 50 seconds as she strolled in with a 19:38.39. In her first season as a high school cross country runner, the freshman took the top spot giving all of the credit to her team.
“It feels great to do this my freshman year, but I am so proud of my team,” Dowdell said. “They push me every practice and I couldn’t do it without their support. My family and friends and all of the other people on other teams are always so supportive.”
Dowell admitted the course was in top shape, but it was the support she received throughout her race that led her to the top spot.
“It was a flat course with no big holes or anything,” Dowdell said. “People from other teams were out there cheering you on from other teams where no one else was and that was very nice and encouraging. I hope I continue to improve every race and push my team and myself to get better.”
The New London girls ran away with the team title scoring 25 points besting St. Paul’s 52 who was in second. Western finished in fourth with 102 and Plymouth took fifth with 122.
“We are not massively fast out front,” New London coach Keith Landis said. “We do have some great runners but our key was the pack. If we can get the pack going, we are in great shape. We has a lot of PRs (personal records) so we cannot complain about today.”
The Wildcats took five of the Top 10 spots led by Gabrielle Osterland with a 20:17.12 and a second place finish. Morgan Luedy took third with a 20:24.48 and Kaylin Williams took fifth with a 21:11.85. Savannah Shaver took seventh with a 21:31.93 and Sidney Allen took ninth with a 21:53.03. Angie Ruggles took 22nd with a 23:10.78 and Eden Copley finished in 23rd with a 23:19.03 to grab the win.
“There was great competition and the first half of the race went exactly how we had hoped it would,” Landis said. “We had some girls under the weather, but they came out and ran fantastic anyway. Gabby and Morgan have been at the front of the pack all year long and Sidney Allen had a great race today. She is our No. 5 but she stepped up and had a big PR.”
On the boys side, Mapleton took the top spot with 38 total points beating New London by 10 points as the Wildcats took second. Western came in at third with 80 points and St. Paul took fourth with 109. Plymouth rounded out in sixth with 131.
Leading the way for NL was Coey’s Top 5 finish. Curtis Joppck took seventh with a 17:09.04 and Dominic Albaugh took eighth with a 17:14.66.Jacob Allen took 14th with an 18:10.06, Mitchell Joppeck took 15th with an 18:05.42, Court Brott took 16th with an 18:10.06 and Austin Reed finished in 24th with an 18:42.39.
“We have five freshmen in that boys varsity race so they are still learning and still being very competitive,” Landis added. “We cannot complain about any of the performances at all.”
Western saw Trevor Tucker finish in 12th with a 17:52.64 and Eli Webb take 17th with an 18:12.68. Mason Church (23rd, 18:42.07), Breckyn Hunter (27th, 18:48.09), Gage Griffith (29th, 18:52.89), and Sam Beaudin (36th, 19:37.41) rounded out the scoring for the Roughriders.
St. Paul saw John Dowdell (20th, 18:18.60), Noah Avandano (21st, 18:28.19), Brandon McCall (32nd, 19:20.46), Sam Sigsworth (33rd, 19:21.98), Luke Ceccoli (34th, 19:27.21) and Owen Duncan (41st, 21:23.78) put up impressive numbers.
The Big Red found success with Ethan Elliott (13th, 18:03.26), Michael Collins (35th, 19:36.67), Nick Bowser (38th, 20:01.70) and Aaron Burnett (42, 22:20.41) running well.
Monroeville saw two competitors in the race in Kristopher Littlejohn taking 39th with a 20:34.45 and David Carey taking 40th with a 20:43.75.
On the ladies side, St. Paul saw Rachael Beat finish in sixth place with a 21:15.64. Anne Ware (14th, 22:09.13), Alexandra Abel (15th, 22:16.53), Ally Brown (19th, 22:48.28), Catherine Massie (26th, 23:33.69) and Abby Fitzgerald (29th, 23:45.72) round out the Flyers scoring.
For Western, Tabi Pausch (16th, 22:33.49), Brooke Perkins (18th, 22:38.39), McKenna Woodruff (20th, 22:50.16), Allison Shawver (25th, 23:30.11), McKinley Shawver (28th, 23:43.68), Bell Good (33rd, 24:31.48) and Julia Church (40th, 26:38.71) all recorded competitive times.
The Big Red was led by Claudia Caudill’s 10th place finish with a 22:02.37. Gracie Roberts (21st, 23:03.50), Eliza Redden (31st, 24:11.95), Jessica Porter (32nd, 24:12.22), Natalie Snyer (36th, 25:31.89), Hannah Hardman (42nd, 27:37.37) and Kelsey Blankenship (44th, 28:59.00) gave the Big Red solid efforts.
Monroeville again saw two competitors as Kristin Smith took eighth overall with a 21:47.59 and Rachel Carey took 30th with a 23:51.02.