Despite no area runner cracking the top 30 and earning All-Ohio status, schools in the Reflector coverage area made themselves and their families proud by competing against the best in the state on a day when conditions were favorable for lightning-quick times.
Division II Boys
Norwalk, appearing at the State Cross Country Meet for the first time as a team since 1983, finished 15th with 350 points. Leading the way for the Truckers was senior Ethan Bores. Bores ended the race 90th overall in 17:00.3, while teammates Christopher Bores (100th, 17:06.9) and Robert Vazquez (101st, 17:07.4) followed close behind. Julian Go (129th, 17:21.7), Owen Lottman (134th, 17:26.7), Jose Dominquez (138th, 17:29.2), and Nicholas Berry (158th, 17:41.3) rounded out the team scoring.
Truckers head coach Drew Karnehm spoke about his team’s showing after the race.
“Our team ran very well today,” Karnehm said. “Time wise they all picked back up to where they were two weeks ago. Place wise we finished right about where we were going to. We were only three points behind 14th.
“We closed the gap on Napoleon, a team that was third in our regional race and pretty much destroyed us last week. Overall, I can’t say enough about these boys today. They ran really, really well.”
Karnehm was not surprised his Truckers earned a state berth this season as the team had high expectations after last season’s sixth place finish at the Tiffin Regional.
“We compared our times with the times at state last year, and we thought we could have finished between 11th and 15th last year. Despite losing some key seniors we had a good chunk of our team back.
“We found some athletes who stepped up and filled those shows well and we made it down here for the first time in 33 years.”
Two freshman from Edison had strong showings in the race. Running and racing together for much of the race, Tyler Coon pulled away from his teammate down the stretch to finish 74th overall in a time of 16:51.7. Fellow freshman Daniel Lambert finished 78th overall in 16:54.2.
Coon and Lambert ran neck and neck for much of the past few weeks, and despite his disappointment with not setting a personal best time, Coon was pleased with how his season went.
“It was a pretty good season,” Coon said. “I am glad we won the conference meet for the first time in eight years and we made the Regionals as a team”
Coon felt his summer work program paid off with his trip to state, although he said it was unexpected. He plans to work harder next summer and wants to come back again next year.
Lambert came away with a different feeling after the race. His amazement with the race was something he did not expect when the season as he was simply hoping to run in the 17:00s and help the team win the Sandusky Bay Conference title.
“It was crazy!” Lambert said. “It was like the (Tiffin) Carnival, but with a fifth of the runners. There were so many people out there. The whole time I was packed with other runners.
“The state was just…I have no words for that. The mile was insane because you’re still packed in and it’s impossible to move up.”
Lambert also mentioned he was glad to have a teammate to run with.
“We really worked together the past couple of weeks,” he said. “At the beginning of the season we tried to beat each other every week. But now we’ve been working together to get better times.”
Division III Boys
After a second-place finish at the Tiffin Regional Meet, New London finished 14th overall with 325 points. Freshman Dominic Albaugh led the Wildcats in a time of 17:05.4, good for 67th overall. Teammate Curtis Joppeck was 78th (17:10.2), followed by Carson Coey (17:11.2, 81st), Mitchell Joppeck (17:49.3, 136th), Court Britt (18:17.2, 160th), Austin Reed (18:21, 163rd) and Jacob Allen (18:31.3, 168th).
“It was a good race,” New London Coach Keith Landis said afterwards. “We had four freshman leading us. I’m not sure exactly how many, but I think at least three had personal bests today. So we were good at the right time.
“We finished 14th in the state and everyone gets to come back next year, so that is a good sign.”
New London is no stranger to running in the state’s last race. The Wildcats have made several trips to the state meet in the last 25 years, including a run of six straight years from 1991 to 1996. That dominance led to a state runner up finish in 1992 and a state championship in 1993. New London also competed in 2000, 2002, 2006, and 2012.
Landis believes that tradition is a part of why the Wildcats returned to state this year.
“We are fortunate at New London that we have had such a solid program, starting with Bob Knoll in the 1970s,” Landis said. “He really put started by laying down the foundation, and we are just trying to carry the torch.
“I have two former athletes that help me coach and work at the school, and I have some second and third generation kids on this team. We are just fortunate to have these kids show up every day with a great work ethic, but for them it’s just common place.”
Individually, Western Reserve Senior Brendan Oswalt finished 52nd in a time of 16:50.5. Plymouth Senior Nathaniel Redden finished eight spots back of Oswalt, finishing 60th in 16:57.3. St. Paul’s loan entry, junior Jared Arnold, finished 84th in a time of 17:31.1.
Oswalt was disappointed with his finish.
“It was pretty bad today. I just wasn’t myself,” Oswalt stated. “I got out pretty fast and I kind of gassed out. But I am glad that I got here. This was definitely my most memorable season.”
Arnold, too, was not happy with his performance.
“My race wasn’t very good. I’ve been sick,” Arnold said. “But it was a good experience. It will be good for next year as I plan to come back, not sick, and run for All-Ohio.”
Division III Girls
The area’s lone representative in this race was St. Paul Freshman Lily Dowdell. She finished the 3.1-mile course in 19:54.6. Her time was good for 59th out of 179 runners.
“This was definitely not my best race, but I had fun and I enjoyed the experience,” Dowdell said. “My goal was to get to state and I made it. It definitely was a great year for me and my family and friends.”
Division II Girls
Edison’s Ashley Sneider was the only area individual competing in this race. She finished in 20:29.9, good for 111th place.
“It was pretty cool,” Sneider said. “The race felt good. We had a plan to take it out slow, and my time wasn’t where I wanted it to be, but it great to be down here and to be a part of the state experience.
Team and Individual Champions
In an interesting twist, the Division II boys’ and girls’ races came down to a battle between Woodridge and Lexington, and Woodridge came out on top of both.
On the boys side the Bulldogs took home the title by a 72 to 106 margin, while the girls won 88 to 123. Remember, in Cross Country the lowest score wins.
Fort Loramie won the Division III Boys title over St. Thomas Aquinas, while Solon beat Hudson to claim the Division I title.
Minster, a heavy favorite in the Division III Girls race, had little trouble as they scored only 38 points, finishing well ahead of runner up St. Thomas Aquinas (95 points). The Division I Girls race was won by Centerville with 120 points, who’s ability to pack together allowed them to claim the title from Troy (145 points).
Individual state champions in the boys’ races included Dustin Horter (Division I, Lakewood East, 15:02.8), Zach Kreft (Division II, Buckeye Valley, 15:16.4), and Chad Johnson (Division III, Colonel Crawford, 15:18.4).
The girls’ races saw India Johnson (Division I, Hillard Davidson, 17:28.6), Leah Roter (Division II, Beachwood, 17:55.1), and Emily Sreenan (Division III, Lima Central Catholic, 18:01.8) all claim titles.