To say our Division 1 girls pre-season polls were a hit would be an understatement!
Thank you for the over 10,000 votes that were submitted! When the closing window finally struck on Wednesday evening, individually, it was Avery Blaszak who earned the top spot. The senior, representing the Shaker Heights Raiders, collected over 38% of the votes (2,229 in total).
Blaszak, who owns a 5k personal best mark of 18:18.20 on the grass, finished 14th at the state meet during her junior year. She clocked 18:19.40 at the National Trail Raceway.
Team-wise, it was Lakota East who led the way. The Thunderhawks captured an even 3,500 votes to run away with the win. They garnered 68% of the votes that were cast. The team out of Liberty Township checks-in at No. 2 in MileSplit Ohio's pre-season rankings and No. 3 on the OATCCC breakdown, which was recently released.
On the team side, for the boys, it boiled down to a pair of formidable Southern Region teams. In the end, Lakota West, with 421 votes, edged the 2019 state champions from St. Xavier, who claimed 404 votes.
Rice put together an outstanding freshman campaign in 2019, where he toed the line against the state's best at the OHSAA Championships and crossed the line in 25th place.
In terms of times on the clock, he dropped a season's best 15:43.00 mark at Thomas Worthington's Les Eisenhart Invite. Rice will be looking to add a high school state title to his resume, which would complement the middle school honor he earned in 2018.