The weather at the 2014 OHSAA State Cross Country Championships was in the 30's with wind chills in the 20's and winds gusting to 30 mph. It was miserable. The races however were exciting, with the drama that comes with the expected and the unexpected and the exhuberance of those that fought the weather and ran well and the disappointment of those that did not.
Maplewood, led by Dahmen and Sparks, ran away with the Team title. The Maplewood boys had 67 points beating runner-up Summit Country Day who scored 113. Maplewood is a young team and will lose two seniors; #17, Derek Morrison and #25 Charlie Woodrum, but #22 Nate Keeney is a Junior and Sophomores #26 and #56 Jake Hall and Nick Cowger will all return. The number three spot on the podium went to McDonald with 142 points.
The D3 girls race featured two time and defending State Champion Brittany Atkinson of Liberty Center and her rival and 2012 State Champion Sarah Kanney of Coldwater. The two girls, joined by Jr. Athena Welsh of St. Thomas Aquinas, ran 44 seconds ahead of 4th place finisher Fallon Doyle of Bellaire St. John (18:51.09) and Rachel Wentworth of Garaway (18:58.06). Kanney outlasted Atkinson and Welsh winning in 18:00.11. Atkinson was 2nd in 18:05.54 and Welsh 3rd in 18:07.12. Despite the weather, the all three girls ran under Atkinson's 2013 winning time of 18:31.45. (Post Race Interview with Sarah Kanney & Brittany Atkinson)
The Team championship went to McDonald in somewhat of an upset and was determined on a tie breaking 6th runner score.. Minster had been ranked atop the poll and was having a great season, but they dropped to 4th, scoring 148. McDonald ran 7, 8, 27, 32 and 39th, scoring 113 points. The number two Garaway gilrs tied them with 113, but McDonald,s number 6 runner was 48th, Garaways, 90th. Minster was led by the #7 team runner, Jr. Hiedi Hoffman in 19:25.13. They are young with only one Sr., Their #5 runner yesterday, Bobbi Oakes. Fr. Malina Mitchell was the #2 runner (19:25.20), Jr.'s Brenna Rupe (19:57.14) and Rachel Perry (20:09.98) were the #4 and 5 runners. Their #6 runner was a Freshman, Ally Jamison. Russia finished in the third place on the podium. The Russia girls scored 148 points behind Sr. Emily Borchers, just edging out Minster and Liberty Center who was 3 point back of them with 151.
Jr. Joe Bistritz of Chagrin Falls won the D3 Boys championship, running 15:44.37. He was runner-up last year and finished almost 15 seconds ahead of the #2 runner Sr. Ryan Adams of CVCA. Adams ran 15:59.94. Tippecanoe Jr. Mitchell Poynter was 3rd (16:00.18) and rounding out the top five were Wauseon Sr. Quintin Reiser (16:03.14) and Shawnee-Springfield Sr. Will Holmes. (16:08.48). Adams took the lead at the 400 and pushed the pace through the mile with Bistritz at his side. They were 6 seconds ahead of Mitch Poynter and Quentin Reiser and the remainder of the pack. The two maintained their lead down the long straight into the wind and Bistritz lead at the two mile by .21 seconds. Bistritz took the lead just before they came out of the woods and led through the finish. (Post Race Interview with Joe Bistritz)
Tippecanoe was picked to win the Boys race and they did, scoring 94 points. NDCL had a great season and earned the #2 spot with 114 points. The #3 spot went to Shawnee-Springfield with 131 points. The Tippecanoe boys ran 1, 13, 19, 23, and 38th, led by Poynters #1 team place. The #2 runner for Tippecanoe was Sr. David Frame. The 3-5 runners were Sr. Michael Taylor and Jr.'s Jordan Penrose and Spencer Ranft. The 1-5 boys split 1:06.
Defending State Champion Wauseon Sr. Taylor Vernot ran a good race managing to place 3rd. Out front in the D2 girls race was Lexington Jr. Dominique Clairmonte, who won in a time of 18:17.10. Clairmonte was out as a sophomore and came back this year and dominated the D2 divsion and had the leading time in the State, as she ran undefeated this season. She ran a conservative race in the weather and won by 9.42 seconds. Another Jr. Rachel Iacofano of SVSM was 2nd. Iacofano ran 1:26.52. She was 7th last year and improved her time from 1:49.90 TO 18:26.52. Rounding out the top 5 were So. Mackenna Curtis-Collins fo Lexington (18:41.49) and Sr. Sammy Bockoven of CVCA (18:44.49). (Post Race Interview with Dominique Clairmonte)
The Granville girls were picked to take the #1 spot and won the top of the podium narrowly defeating a tough Lexington team 86 to 87. SVSM took the #3 spot. Granville was led by Jr. Micaela DeGenero who was 6th in the team race (18:45.61) The girls ran 6, 10, 15, 25 and 30th. Their 1-5 runners split .55 seconds. The #2 runner for Granville was Sr. Claire Lamb. The 3-5 runners were Fr. Kylee McFarland, Sr. Alyssa Atkinson and Sr. Cassidy Carey. The 33-5 spots for Lexington were all Jr.s Abby Miller, Keelie Spechert and Ashley Basham.
The D1 boys race was exciting. St. Xavier Sr. Michael Vitucci used his 800 speed inthe last 110 to pull away from Hilliard Davidson Sr. Colin Burdette. Burdette made a strong move with 110 left and Vitucci responded winning in 15:34.53. Burdette ran 15:38.74. Jr. Andrew Jordan of Watkins Memorial was 3rd in 15:40.04. Sr. Kyle Mau of Hudson, who had the leading time in the State, faded to 4th in the last 800 and Jr. Luke Wagner of St. Ignatius hung on to finish in the #5 spot. Sr. Dennis Maloney of New Albany led through the mile in 4:54, The eventual winners stayed back in the pack, choosing not to run out front in the weather. Vitucci was 15th. Burdette, 17th. Wagner 8th and Mau 7th. Things changed at the two mile as Kyle Mau surged into the lead and pressed the pace going into the woods. Vitucci and Burdette were right behind him. With about 800 to go, Vitucci took the lead and Burdette went with him. At the end of the race, Vitucci said that he hurt and was as tight as at the end of an 800. (Post Race Interview with Michael Vitucci)
The Team Championship went to Mason with 121 points. Hilliard Davidson was second in a very close race with 124. St. Xavier took the 3rd spot, scoring 141. Mason was led by Sr. Nick Grismer who finished 5th in the team race with a 15:49.12. The Mason boys ran 5, 25, 26, 30 and 35th. Splitting just .35 seconds. Sr. Tony Stewart was the #2 runner and he was followed by three Jr.'s; Justin Koehler, Jake Bauer and Alan Gordillo. The Davidson boys split just .56 seconds. All Sr.'s, they finished off their XC careers with a great season: Alex Steitz, Luke Hoover, Ryan Whitney and Johnny McKeown.
The D1 girl's race was won by Jr. Lainey Studebaker of Centerville. She was 3rd last year and with the noted absence of St. Ursula's Annie Hefferan, ran a very strong race, as she took command in the last 400. Studebaker ran 18:09.43 besting her 2013 time of 18:30.53 in winning and besting Heffernan's 2013 winning time of 18:13.90. The #2 spot on the podium went to Berea-Midpark So. Lindsey Scarton with a time of 18:14.51. Number 3 went to another So., Brunswick's Rebecca Craddock (18:16.49). Rounding out the top five were, Jr. Maegan Murphy of Mason (18:20.90) and Sr. Emily Stoodley of Worthington Kilborne (18:22.37).At the mile, Studebaker and Murphy were back almost 4 seconds as Scarton led Craddock in 5:33.57. This changed at the two mile after the long straight into the wind. Studebaker was leading the group of finishers in 11:43.35. She continued to press and would not allow anyone to catch her throgh to the finish. (Post Race Interview with Lainey Studebaker)
The Mason girls could not defend their title as a very stong Centerville team, led by Studebaker's win, won the title scoring just 59 points. Mason was 2nd with 92 and the Hiliard Davidson girls got the #3 spot with 154 points. Centerville split just 59 seconds between their 1-5 runners, running 1, 8, 9, 13 and 21st. Thier #2 runner was Sr. Kelsy Kohls (18:43.38). #3 was Sr. Alexa Jennings (18:48.73). The #4 and 5 girls were Fr. Kelli Walsh 1ith 18:55.71 and So. Laura Drew with 19:08.97. The Mason girls ran 12, 14, 30 and 33rd. So. Ellie Brush was 2nd for Mason. Another So. Ailee Henderson ran 3r. Sr.'s Erin Brush and Bethany Angstadt were the four and five runners.