GALION — Thousand of high school and middle school runners invaded Amann Reservoir Saturday for the 39th Galion Cross Country Festival.
The weather was better than expected as forecasters were calling for an 80 percent chance of rain, even as late as Thursday morning. But athough some showers did make an appearance throughout the day, it didn’t dampen the efforts of runners, especially Colonel Crawford’s Chad Johnson.
Johnson was the area’s only individual champion, finishing in 15:33 and helping the Eagles to a second-place team finish in the Division III boys race. Johnson’s time was the second fastest of more than 4,000 racers on Saturday.
Top Galion runners were Tate Braxton, who finished 58th of 133 racers in the Division II varsity race, with a time of 18 minutes, 25 seconds. Heath’s Taylor Hopkins, won the race in 15:39.1. Lexington won the team title. Galion was 18th of 19 teams in the race.
For Galion, in the Division II girls varsity race, Sari Connor was 72nd out of 145 racers. Her time was 22:15.2. The winner in the Division II girls race was Sydnee Mangette, of Liberty Union; in 17:58.8. Lexingon won the Division II girls team title, too, sweeping the Division II races.
In the Division III girls race, Northmor finished second in the team race, behind Centerburg. Other area schools were Mount Gilead; sixth; Colonel Crawford 10th; Bucyrus 20th. The top runners locally in this race were Northmor’s Jessica Duryea, seventh in 20:03.9 and Kristin Duryea, 16th in 20”42.7. Colonel Crawford’s Anna Reffey was 12th in 20:30.6 and teammate Emily Kemper was 13th in 20:32.7.
In the Division III boys varisty race, Mount Gilead won the team title. Colonel Crawford was second and Northmor 10th. Other area finishers were Bucyrus 12th; Wynford 17th and Buckeye Central 28th. The Eagles’ Johnson, a junior, was more than 42 seconds ahead of the second place winner, with his time of 15:33. Crawford’s Brad Bauer was eighth in 16:54.8 and Nick Studer was 10th in 16:57.6. Northmor’s top runner was James Walker in 18:29.0. For Mount Gilead, Austin Hallibrin was third, 16:23; Casey White was 12th and 16:59.2; and Nick Weiss 14th in 17:01.4.
Olentangy Liberty won the Division I girls race. The race winner was Allison Guagenti of Olentangy Orange in 18:44.5.
Olentangy Orange won the Division I boys race. The individual winner was Hunter Moore, in 15:26.2.