OHRunners Preseason Division 3 Girls

Trying to figure out who is the best team is nearly impossible without running any races, but OHRunners has tried to do just that (solely based on last year's results and returning runners). Today we take a stab at the Preseason Division 3 Top 10 Girls Teams, Preseason Regional Top 5 Teams and the Top 10 Returning Times.

1. Minster

Orange and Black will stand the tallest on the first Saturday in November. I have not come to this conclusion based on mathematics or predictability but simply on honor and tradition. The Wildcats have raised our sports greatest trophy 5 of the last 9 years and I believe that they will do it again in 2008. Coach Jessica Magoto has created the expectation of excellence in Auglaize County and when the pressure is on, Magoto uses it to make diamonds. Minster will not use a front runner or even a one-two punch to take home the champions chalice but a solid pack of runners that will start streaming in at 19:30 and the seventh runner will embrace their team number one no more than 30 seconds later. Lei and Averie Bornhorst, Richard, and Dahlinghaus will make up a strong core and any of a number of up and coming 9th graders will fill in nicely. I feel that Seneca East, FortLoramie and Gilmour will look like the early favorites as their top runners stampede run into the stadium at Scioto downs but ultimately it will be their 5th runners that add too many points to win gold.


2. Attica Seneca East

After a disappointing 7th place finish of the 2007 campaign, coach Jeff Phillips will look for consistency from his squad to make a run to the teams first State title since 1998. Consistency will be a key because last year, at Troy, the Tigers trounced the tremendous field only to have one of its runners fail to finish the next week when it counted most. One stable thing in the Orange and Black line up will be the front running style of Brittany Stockmaster and her personal battle with FortLoramie number one Janel Olberding. Jessica Phillips, and the Szabo siblings will establish an incredible and quite formidable 2-4 pack. We know, however, that cross country is like poker in that you need five good cards. If the State decided to score only four runners in 2008, I’d bet my house that Seneca East wins the whole thing. So the key will be that runner who emerges as the pivotal 5th placer. If she (whoever she maybe) can break 20:20 the Tigers will no longer be made of paper and finish the task that slipped out of their hands last year in Columbus.


3. Fort Loramie

I am a fan of clutch 5th runners and I placed the Redskins here because I feel that she is alive and well on coach Stickley's squad. It helps when you have possibly a top 10 team finish in Kara Gasson and 1 team point in Janel Olberding (Stephanie Morgan of Barnesville may have a team this year). Just like in 2002 (State champs) and 2001 (state Runner’s up) Loramie will count on a tight 3-5 pack to try and unravel the balanced attack of Minister. If the Running Redskins can find the pack of Orange and Black from Minster and Seneca East deep in the race and stick with them, FT will win. The problem is, if they don’t get their pack in front of that magical 20:20 mark, they will be up ended by Gilmour too and finish as low as 4th


4. Gilmour Academy

Fast! The only way that I can describe the Gilmour Girls is fast. The quickness began in 2005 when the Lancers finished a surprising 3rd in the State finals after not even running the course the year before. In 2006 the Blue and Gray stunned the State when they knocked off seemingly invincible Minster. Last year, Coach Lindley missed the unimaginable Back to Back title by losing to Versailles by a single point. The Lancers lash their opponents by getting some of the fastest track runners in the State on the grass of Scioto Downs. Runners like Simko, Natalie King, and Frank could make the 4 x 400 on any school in the state. I have the pride of the NE in the 4th place because of their 5th runner, or lack thereof. Gilmour missed the great gift of repeating as champions because they lost 28 points to Versailles from the five spot alone. If the coaching staff at Gates Mills can train up a solid 4 and 5 to match 1-3, you may see teams 1-4 only be separated by less than 17 points (just like last year). This is going to be close.

5. Burton Berkshire

What if? What if the greatest demonstration in grits and determination had not happened? What would have been the outcome if that tenacious teen not broken her tibia? Speculation is not for the faint at heart but by my calculations, the Badgers would have walked away as the 2008 State Champions beating Gilmour on a six runner tie breaker both scoring 122 points. Is it so ridiculous? Coach Julie Cole had her team within 4 points of State Runner up Gilmour out of the Boardman Regional. The Purple and Gold will be led by Bowers and Noble, both of whom should run under 19:30. Jurcak, Sawyer and Dingman all have broken 21:00 last year and are seconds away from the mathematically important 20:20. I believe 2007 was the most competitive State meet in the 30 years of girls cross country. If the Badgers can get the work done in the summer, it could be just as close this year.


6. Versailles

Last yearsState Champions only lose one runner in their top five. The Tigers are lead by Mary Prakel, who has posted a 19:04 at the 2007 finals. With a big gun upfront one would expect Versailles to be ranked much higher then they currently are. For the Orange and Black to move up in position, they will rely heavily on the 2-5 pack. Unfortunately their main scoring group falls behind the packs of Minster, Seneca, and Loramie (has anyone noticed the three of the top four teams out of Troy have two things in common: All have the same school colors and all have a legitimate chance of being the 2008 Team Champion)! Anything can happen when the pressure is on and count on Coach Mark Pleiman to have his girls ready again. I would say that any of the schools in the top six has a shooters chance to claim the title with my odds on favorites going to the school that has the best number 5 runner.


7. Kansas Lakota

The Raiders out of Tiffin will be led by Reese and coaches own Windom. Lakota only loses one of their top five but lack mid-pack firepower that is needed to finish much better then the 2007 season. Coach Don Windom has done a great job since 2006 when his ladies finished in 11th place and has the advantage of having assurance that his team should make it out of the regional meet unscathed, whereas the teams out of Troy will have to run for their lives just to make it to the big dance. This opportunity might give the Navy and White the precious rest they need to move up a spot or two, but I doubt they will be able to breakup the NW stranglehold on the State meet.



8. Ansonia



Quite possibly the best team not to make it to November. If Coach Todd Miller could have one wish, it should be to move his school out of the SW Region. Ansonia will be the best school in the state to possibly not run in November. Katie Schmitmeyer, Renee Schmitmeyer and Jennifer Stone could be 19:40 or better and their 3rd placer will be under 20:00. Ansonia’s only weakness (and it’s only a weakness because they run out of Troy) is that their 4-5 are only 21:45 and that is not good enough to finish the job. Look for total confusion on the faces of the fans at the Troy levee as the Tigers of Ansonia will don the same colors as Minster, Seneca East and Versailles, Orange and Black.


9. Spencerville

Yes, six of the top nine teams in the State are located in or around Cincinnati. Brown, Gilroy and McConnell lead the considerable challenge of surviving the meat grinder that is the SW Region. Coach Brian Mcmichael has the luxury of not having the school colors of Orange and Black but the misfortune of having to race the schools that wear those hues.


10. Liberty Benton

The success of the eagles in 2007 rested largely on the shoulders of the front two runners who scored a paltry thirteen points and were able to break the elusive 19:05 mark. It took 71 runners and 90 seconds to elapse before the next Benton runner to cross the finish line though and thus a 9th place finish. The same type of situation will play itself out as Brynn Chaskel and her sub 19:00 leads the charge out of the Tiffin region. As for runners 2-5, look for Larson and Vaupel to run under 21:00.




Regional Predictions

(Assuming all teams that can choose their Region go to the same Region as last year)

Youngstown Region 9

1. Gilmour Academy

2. Burton Berkshire

3. McDonald

This is very young team with post season experience. After losing only one runner to graduation from their state qualifying team, McDonald will look to get back to Scioto Downs with sophomore Micheala Lepor leading the way.

4. Atwater Waterloo

Waterloo will look to crack the top ten at the State Meet this year after finishing eleventh last year. Waterloo will have to reload a little bit for this season after losing their 4, 6 and 7 runners from last year.

5. Trinity

After finishing sixth in the region last year, Trinity will give it a try to get into the top four. Replacing their number two runner could prove to be difficult though. Sophomore Angel Theurer will look to break 21:00 this year to lead this team from Garfield Heights.


Tiffin Region 10

1. Kansas Lakota

2. Liberty Benton

3. Ottoville

After only losing their seventh runner from last year from their sixth place regional team, a team that had two runners in the top 10 team scoring wise, Ottoville looks like a contender to take a run at making it to Scioto Downs. Look for Super Sophomore Shayla Siefker (5th at the State Meet in 2007) to make a serious drop in time this year and run sub 18:30.

4. Elmore Woodmore

While Woodmore loses one from their state qualifying team, this is still a young team that has some talent and some experience, which is a lethal combination. Sub 20:00 sophomore Lacy Nagy will look to carry Woodmore back to the horse track this year.

5. Gorham Fayette

While Gorham Fayette may not have any front runners, the one thing that they do have is senior leadership. With four seniors cracking their varsity seven, Gorham Fayette could have a shot at running in November.


Pickerington Region 11

1. Northmor

After finishing twelfth at the State Meet, Northmor will look to break into the top ten this year. Northmor could break into the top five if juniors Ashley Peters and Rosie Heilman can run with sophomores Alyssa Neer and Gabby Ditullio.

2. Newark Catholic

Newark Catholic loses one from their state qualifying team. This is an experienced and veteran team that could make some noise come post season.

3. Sandy Valley

Sandy Valley returns all of their scorers from their State Meet qualifying team from last year. Led by a pack of juniors that should all break 21:00, the strength of Sandy Valley is that they could have their five scorers cross the finish line all within a minute of each other.

4. Marion Pleasant

Pleasant returns all of their runners from a sixth place regional finish a year ago. If Pleasants 4 and 5 runners can close the gap on their top three runners look for Pleasant to be running at the horse track in November.

5. Barnesville

After finishing seventh in the region, Barnesville will look to make that jump from an above average team to a top notch team this year by qualifying for the State Meet. Senior Stephanie Morgan is best returning runner in the State and will look to pull her team along with her.


Troy Region 12

1. Minster

2. Attica Seneca East

3. Fort Loramie

4. Versailles

5. Ansonia

6. Spencerville



Top 10 Returning Times

1. 17:27.36 Stephanie Morgan OH Barnesville 2009 2007-11-03 OHSAA State Cross Country Championships
2. 18:28.75 Janel Olberding OH Fort Loramie 2011 2007-11-03 OHSAA State Cross Country Championships
3. 18:40.09 Brittany Stockmaster OH Seneca East 2011 2007-10-06 Octoberfest Invitational
4. 18:51.74 Shayla Siefker OH Ottoville 2011 2007-11-03 OHSAA State Cross Country Championships
5. 18:53.05 Monica Ciarniello OH Lowellville 2010 2007-11-03 OHSAA State Cross Country Championships
6. 18:56.18 Alexa Stults OH Old Fort 2010 2007-10-13 Midland Athletic League Cross Country Championships
7. 19:02.72 Mary Prakel OH Versailles 2009 2007-11-03 OHSAA State Cross Country Championships
8. 19:05.81 Bekka Simko OH Gilmour Academy 2010 2007-11-03 OHSAA State Cross Country Championships
9. 19:05.95 Jessica Phillips OH Seneca East 2010 2007-11-03 OHSAA State Cross Country Championships
10. 19:07.24 Brynn Chaskel OH Liberty-Benton 2009 2007-11-03 OHSAA State Cross Country Championships