Fireworks At Fortress Obetz: OHSAA XC Returns

Division I Scored race leaders Evelyn Prodoehl (#7388) and Sarah Peer (#7957)

Photo Credit: David Nguyen - MileSplit


By Mark Dwyer - MileSplit

OHSAA Early Season Invite Results

Obetz, Ohio -- 2023 OHSAA cross country got underway on Saturday at Fortress Obetz and Memorial Park with the annual state association sponsored Early Season Invitational

An eight race line-up featured Division I and Division II/III athletes contesting their own scored events plus a variety of Open category competitions compiled by combined divisions. 

All but a pair of races traversed what is the official OHSAA State Championship 5-kilometer course. The other two contests, intended to help showcase newer runners to the sport, ran a modified 2-mile route.

Girls Division I Scored Race

Girls from Division I schools were tasked with meet opening duties, as their race led off at 9:00 am.

The Mason Comets pursuit for a Division I state championship repeat in 2023 began with a victory in their first outing of the season. 

Led by sophomore Efa Paschka in 4th, Bella Teply in 16th and Carlie Condit, the 21st scorer, Mason put up 124 points to edge the runner-up squad from Lakota West, who recorded 127 points. 

The Comets scoring tandem was rounded out by Atalia Hawkins (38th scorer) and Addison Stephens (45th scorer). Mason entered the meet as the top ranked team in Division I according to the OATCCC Pre-Season Poll, where they gathered six of twelve first place votes. 

Lakota West, ranked No. 9 by the OATCCC, was anchored by individual race winner Evelyn Prodoehl, who clocked 17:29.44 and the 8th place overall finisher Ava Shepard at 18:47.82. 

Number 6 ranked Avon rounded out the top 3 in the standings with their 154 point performance. Kaitlyn Reese was their top individual at 6th overall in 18:38.93. 

Evelyn Prodoehl appeared in mid-season form, as she put her Fortress Obetz experience on display crossing the line first, decisively. 

The junior was the 5th place finisher at the 2022 state meet

Similar to Prodoehl, Westlake's Sarah Peer capitalized on her knowledge gained from previous trips to the venue, as she secured the second spot. Peer, who earned runner-up honors at last year's State Championships, launched her season with an 18:01.96 mark.

Bentley Thomas had a career best day on grass with her 3rd place showing. An 11th place finisher at the 2022 Voice of America District meet, Thomas' effort on Saturday bodes well for a big season ahead. The senior from Cincinnati Ursuline Academy clocked 18:05.05.

Boys Division I Scored Race

Showcasing three athletes in the overall top 15, Worthington Kilbourne took 1st in the team standings with 117 points. Ryan Smith in 1st, Steven Miller in 14th and A.J. Hawkins with a 15th place finish along with solid supporting efforts from Jackson Deisler and Levi Knuth in the 43rd and 44th scoring sports capped it for the OATCCC No. 8 ranked Wolves. 

A strong 1-2 punch from the Amherst Steele duo of Ty Perez in 7th and Luke Bowlsby in 8th guided the Comets to runner-up honors. They ended the day with 184 points. The team from Rocky River took 3rd overall with 202 points. 

Top individual performances were demonstrated by the aforementioned Ryan Smith, Thomas McMahon and Mick Temple

Smith, a senior with a host of big meet experiences across XC and track seasons, won decisively with a 15:25.04 mark. McMahon, a senior at Upper Arlington, and the sophomore Temple from Pickerington North followed in the second and third positions with marks of 15:43.09 and 15:47.60, respectively.

Girls Division II/III Scored Race

With an even 100 point tally, Lexington kicked off their XC campaign in the win column for Division II/III. The No. 8 ranked D2 team in the state leaned on a balanced attack that saw their scoring unit all reside inside the top 40. 

Brailey Slone led the charge for the perennial state title contenders with a 7th place overall finish (6th scorer) in 19:45.49. 

Individual champion Irelyn Johnson helped Marlington secure 2nd with 140 points. Johnson, a freshman, got her high school career rolling with an 18:23.60 mark for a 9-second gap on the runner up finisher, Sophia Szolosi out of Athens

Szolosi clocked 18:32.35, officially, while East Canton's Audrey Wade placed 3rd overall in 19:22.51. 

Boys Division II/III Scored Race

Marlington opened defense of their Division II state title from 2022 in resounding fashion with a 97 point tally that featured three Dukes inside the top 10 overall. 

Reigning individual state champion Colin Cernansky took the win in 15:59.27 with teammates Michael Nicholls and Luke Ryan capturing 3rd and 9th place finishes in times of 16:16.54 and 16:49.80. 

Marlington along with Woodridge have been the standard in Division II in recent years with the Dukes prevailing in 2021 and 2022 and the Bulldogs hoisting state meet gold the three straight years prior. 

Not surprisingly, the OATCCC have Marlington ranked at No. 1 in their pre-season poll with 11 of 12 first place votes going in their favor. 

Oakwood and Unioto achieved season opening success with 2nd and 3rd place performances. The Lumberjacks notched 164 points and the Shermans recorded 205 points to set the tone for their season's. 

Notably, on the individual front, Whiteoak's Landen Eyre dropped a 16:10.07 mark for 2nd place overall.

Open Division Rundown 

Team Champions

Girls Division I/II Open - Avon (39 Points)

Boys Division I/II Open - Ottawa-Glandorf (44 Points)

Girls 2-Mile All Divisions - Ursuline Academy (50 Points)

Boys 2-Mile All Divisions - Chardon NDCL (20 Points)

Individual Winners

Girls Division I/II Open - Madelyn Hovest / Ottawa-Glandorf (20:07.27)

Boys Division I/II Open - Ty Rosengarten / Ottawa-Glandorf (16:57.53)

Girls 2-Mile All Divisions - Grace McPherson / Claymont (13:47.33)

Boys 2-Mile All Divisions - Andrew Liberatore / Chardon NDCL (10:53.83)

Related Links

OHSAA Early Season Invite Completed Results

OHSAA Early Season Invite Live-Results

OHSAA Early Season Invite Pre-Meet Hub