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With the Ohio Cross Country being moved up a week, no one expected Ohio to be represented at the Great American XC Festival in Hoover, Alabama. For most Ohio teams this week was Conference or League Week, which meant you were running to prove that you and your team are the best in the conference, unless you are Stephanie Morgan. (Click Here for a recent article on Stephanie Morgan).
The DIII defending State Champion decided to fly down to Alabama to test herself against some of the best female runners in the country. With Barnesville's Conference meet being last weekend, Stephanie had this week free to find a race to see how she could do against the rest of the country.
Morgan held her own as she finished fourth with a time of 17:55.3 in an impressive field that included both the Champion (Ashley Brasovan) and Runner Up (Kathy Kroeger) from the 2007 Footlocker Championship.
LaSalle was able to hold off St. Xavier in both the Division and Confernce race, squeaking by with a two point win in the division and three point victory in the conference. Travis Hawes (16:06.1) of LaSalle was able to hold off Andrew Trick (16:06.9) of Carroll for the individual title in close battle as both student athletes ran a 16:06.
On the girls side, Alter looked good as they prepare to defend their state title. Alter, ranked 2nd in DII was able to win their division and the conference, holding off the third ranked DI team in St. Ursula Academy, 48-57. Alter ran away with their division, winning 25-48 over Carroll. Individually St. Ursula Academy's Austin Perry took home the gold with a 19:32.7 effort. The silver went to C-J's Lizzie Gleason (19:42.1).
Medina was the double team winner for the Valley Division of the Northeast Ohio Conference. The Medina boys team won 30-52 over Solon, while the girls 50-58 over Hudson. Individually on the girls side, Hudson's Angela Williams paced the field while cruising to finish in a time of 18:40. The battle for second was between two freshman, Medina's Anna Boyert and Brunswick's Selena Pasadyn. In the end, Boyert was able to hold off Pasadyn, 19:00 to 19:07.
For the boys Donny Roys rolled to an impressive 15:12.02, which is the second fastest time in the state this year, and the twelfth best time in the nation. Roys looks poised to defend both his individual title and lead Medina to defend their team title. Colby Alexander of Strongsville finished second with a time of 15:45.
Stuart Edmonds was your individual male champion in a time of 16:09 while leading Twinsburg to the team title, 28-36 over Cuyahoga Falls.
The Girls from Cuyahoga Falls bettered their male couterparts by winning the Lake Division of the Northeast Ohio Conference, 31-49 over Mayfield. Individually Kayleigh Scourfield of Cuyahoga Falls was able to go sub 20 to take home the gold.
Springboro, Springboro, Springboro, Centerville, Centerville, Centerville. Watching the race it seemed like that is all you saw, for the girls Springboro, and for the guys Centerville. The Springboro ladies were able to capture the South Division 26-48 over Lebanon, and the Confernce title in a 40-76 win over Centerville. Sophomore Carly Hamilton of Springboro was the medalist, finishing in a season best time of 18:28.56, almost twenty seconds ahead of runner up Megan Wright of Miamisburg (18:47).
Centerville cruised to easy victories in both the division and conference races. Centerville won the Central Division by going 1-4 and scoring a low team total of 17 to Fairmont's 52, while in the Conference race Centerville was able to put up a mere 23 points to Fairmont's 83 by going 1, 3, 5, 6, 10. Shawn Roberts of Centerville took home the gold by punishing the final 600+ meter straigtaway and finishing in a personal record time of 15:24.92. Vandalia-Butler's Danny Neff (the 2008 DI State 1600m champion) was second in 15:40, followed by Centerville's Eric Scmidt with a 15:57.
Brooklyne Ridder (18:05) lead her Oak Hills (ranked 14th in DI) team to a conference championship and an upset victory over the 7th ranked DI team of Mason. Oak HIlls was able to place three in the top ten and only score 47 to Mason's 59.
Lakota West and Sycamore were able to beat out a Zach Wills-less Mason, the top ranked team in DI, in a tight team battle. Lakota West scored 73 points while Sycamore and Mason tied with 76, with Sycamore getting the runner up trophy on sixth place tie breaker. Lakota West's Aaron Gehring paced the field with a 16:01.
Kelly Karcher of Toledo Central Catholic may have felt like she was running from an angry mob because she was followed closely by four members of the Notre Dame Academy sqaud. While Karcher was able to win the individual race in a time of 19:18, the girls of Notre Dame Academy were able to come away with the team win by going placing 2 through 5. NDA won over TCC, 22-58.
On the Boys Side, St. Johns Jesuit cruised to the overall title and had the top two finishers in Kevin Yarnell (15:30) and Greg Turissini (15:54). St. JJ was able to hold off St. Francis DeSales 27-67.
The girls from North Canton Hoover had a statement meet, posting a perfect 15 team score (and that even with another ranked team in the meet, Massillon-Jackson, who finished with a team score of 60). It has been reported that this is the first time a girls time has posted a perfect score at the Federal League Championship Meet. Individually Allison Peare was able to pull away from her teamates that formed the chase pack and finished in 19:00, while Erin Garfield (19:23), Sara Polatas (19:26), Emily Hoff (19:27) and Sarah Tirrell (19:28) finished off the sweep.
In the boys race, Massillon-Perry was able to hold off Hoover with a score of 39-45, in a slight upset as Hoover was ranked 18th in DI, and Massillon Perry was ranked 20th. Hoover again was able to put their first five accross the line in order, just like the girls, but this time Hoover's five crossed the line in 7th through a 11th place. Massillon-Perry was able to take advantage of going 1-2 with Josh Tormasi holding off Brandon Wollenberg 16:05 to 16:07.
In what is arguably the most stacked Conference in Division III girl cross country, the Midwest Athletic Confernece Championship featured the first, third and ninth ranked teams in the state. The OATCCC Coaches Polls seem to have this meet figured out as the top ranked team from Minster was able to hold off both third ranked Versailles and ninth ranked Coldwater by winning 21-53-69 respectively. Minster was able to put six girls in the top eight spots at the meet, which is really impressive, and shows why they are the unanimous number one team, when you look at the caliber of the conference. Individually, Minster's Jessica Albers was able to hold of Versailles Tammy Berger, 18:43-18:49.
On the guys side, the MAC featured four teams ranked in the OATCCC Coaches Poll, ninth ranked Minster, tenth ranked New Bremen, sixteenth ranked St. Henry, and eighteenth ranked Coldwater. The Polls may look a little different this week though, as New Bremen took the team title 56-57 over higher ranked Minster and Coldwater (73 team points) finished third in the conference, one spot ahead of St. Henry (77 team points). Individually, Doug Ranly of St. Henry took home the gold in a time of 16:41, comfortably ahead of the second place finisher, Jeff Kremer (16:50), from New Bremen.
The boys of Unioto almost had a perfect score, but had to settle for a low team total of just 18, fifty points ahead of second place Zane Trace. In the Individual race, Unioto swept the top four spots with Adrian Ross taking home the medalitst honors with a 16:41 and was followed by teamate Mark Flury who ran a 16:58.
For the girls, the roles were reversed as Zane Trace took the top three spots with Taylor Hatfield (19:26), Megan Roll (20:36) and Lydia Weaver (20:44) going 1-3. Zane Trace won the team title 23-45 over Unioto in the girls varsity race.
This might have been the closest race of the Conference/League Weekend in Ohio. Bay and Rocky River tied at 43 all, with Bay winning on the sixth place tie breaker 17-19. Now that is as close of a race as many have ever seen. Bay was helped by going 1-2 with Michael Brajdic winning in a time of 16:06, while his teamate Jordan Hawkins finished second in 16:17.
For the girls, Rocky River ran away from the competition here, putting all five scorers in the top ten and scoring a low team total of only 30 points. Second place Avon was 30 points back at a score of 60. Fairview Park's Jessica Zangmeister hammered her way through the 5K course, running a personal record time of 18:04, nearly 8 seconds faster than her previous best, and recording the 7th fastest time in the state this year by a female. Brittney Towner of Rocky River finished in second with at time of 19:51.
For the Girls, the 18th ranked DI team of Tecumseh finished strong and handily defeated the 11th ranked DII team of Springfield Northwestern, 39-71. Individually Alison Steinbrunner of Tecumseh paced the way by running the eighth fastest female time in the state this year with an 18:07, distancing herself by over 40 seconds to the runner up, and fellow Tecumseh runner, Jasmine Redman who finished in 18:48.
Tippecanoe, the top ranked DII team on the boys side, rolled through their conference with a 48 point victory, beating Bellefontaine 36-84. Tipp was lead by their 1-2 punch of Jason Salyer (15:57) and Kevin Fink (16:05).
Russia showed why they can be considered one of the top teams in Boys DIII this year. Russia was able to place six in the top 10, and all seven of their runners in the top 13. Very impressive for a team that has slipped to the five spot in the OATCCC Coaches Poll. Russia was able to hold off Fort Loramie by placing their pack in spots 6 through 10, and being helped by their front runner, Derek Bornhorst (16:23). Only Tyler Roeth of Houston was able to best Bornhorst's time by winning the race with a 16:16.
The Russia girls matched the boys team by capturing the team title 36-38, again over Fort Loramie. This was a bit of an upset as Fort Loramie was ranked 6th in the latest OATCCC Coaches Poll and Russia was ranked 11th. Russia was helped by putting two across the line before Fort Loramie's first runner. Katie Borchers of Russia took home the gold in a time of 19:16, while Jackson Center's Beth Zimpfer finished second with a time of 19:26.
The only way to beat a team that can take the top two spots and then goes 8 through 10 is to be a team that can take places 3 through 7, and that is just hard to do. Sylvania Northview was able to go 1,2 with Jacob Barnes (16:18) and Sean O'Connell (16:50). With the help of Northview's pack, they were able to put up a low team total of 30 points, which was good for a 33 point victory over Perrysburg.
The girls race looked similar to the guys in that the top two teams remained the same with Sylvania Northview winning 32-52 over Perrysburg. Northview's Meredith Wagner was able to hold off Perrysburg Kaitlyn Llewellyn for a 5 second victory (18:41 to 18:46).
Going 1-2 is one of the easiest ways to win a cross country Conference Championship, and that was proven by South-Willoughby. The ladies from south were able to win the conference championship in large part due to Lauren Allen's 19:16 and Jamie Clapacs 19:50 to take home the gold and silver medals. Even though Chardon was able to place their full scoring pack in place 8-14, this was not enough to overcome the 1-2 punch of South, and the slight jab of putting four in the top 10. South held on for the close team victory, 50-54.
Riverside-Painesville was able to take home the Premeir Athletic Conference Crown with a 39-54 victory over Chardon. Riverside was led by individual silver and bronze efforts from Shane Brandt (16:21) and Kevin DeGroot (16:48). North-Eastlake's Sean Naderer won the indvidual race in a time of 16:01.
In one of the first Conference Championships of the season the newly formed All American Conference started the Championship season off with an exciting team race on the boys side. In a very tight team race Lakeview and Poland Seminary went down to the wire to figure out the who would take home the first Conference trophy. Poland was able to put their five scorers accross the line in a span of just 40 seconds, placing 4-5-10-11-12, good enough for 42 points. But as we would see in later races, going 1-2 at the conference makes for a nice low team score. Lakeview was able to squeak away with the team title by scoring just 40 team points, even though their fifth runner finished in 18th place, by going 1-2-6 with there top three runners. Lakeview's Tyler Ames' 16:29 was good enough for a gold medal, while his teamate, Heath Harris, was able to take home the silver with a 16:38.
The girls race provided for an even more exciting team title chase. After 11 total runners had crossed the line, and four runners for both Salem and Poland Seminary, the score stood at 25 points for Poland Seminary and 26 points for Salem. Salem would have to win by two places to avoid going to a sixth runner tie breaker, and luckily was able to come away with a 1point victory when their fifth runner finished in 15th place, and Poland's finished in 17th place. Final team score for the girls Salem 41, Poland Seminary 42. Individually, only two ladies broke the 20 minute barrier. Poland Seminary's Anna Pompeo just snuck in under 20 by running a 19:59, good enough for the silver medal, while Salem's Lauren Shivers cruised in to the finish with a time of 19:45 and the gold.
Ontario ran away with the boys side of the meet, going 1-2-4-5-9 and scoring a low score of 21. Runner up Bucyrus was 32 points behind the victors with a team score of 53 points. Ontario's duo of Joe Davis and Brett Neutzling took the race down to wire, competing to be the best in the conference. Davis was able to beat Neutzling, 17:23 to 17:24.
The girls from Ontario were able to match their male counterparts and bring home the North Central Conference title. By placing Brittany Johnson (20:34), Becca Stevenson (20:57), and Emily Johnson (21:37) one, two and three, Ontario was able to beat runner up Wynford by a score of 42 to 67.