The Northmor girls and Mount Gilead boys both claimed Blue Division title when Marion Harding hosted the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference cross country meet Saturday.
The Lady Knights tallied 40 points to overcome Fredericktown (58), Mount Gilead (70) and Centerburg (93). Highland was fifth, while Cardington took sixth and East Knox finished seventh. The top four teams are all consider among the best in the region for Division III.
“This is probably the toughest the conference has been,” said Knight coach Mark Yaussy. “We’ve got the top four in the district and, on paper, the top four in the regional are in this conference.”
Kristen Duryea led the team by finishing fourth in 20:10.2, while Jessica Duryea placed fifth in 20:17.3 and Samantha Peters ran sixth in 20:17.7. Maddie Jordan was 12th in 20:45.3 and Julianna Ditullio claimed 13th in 20:51.1. Maria Lee placed 16th in 21:23.3, while Brooke Bennett ran 23rd in 21:49.7. Also, Brooke Huntsman was 31st, Samantha Grogg placed 34th and Sabrina Kelley ran 35th.
After dealing with injuries through much of the season, Yaussy was pleased his team has gotten healthy in time for the postseason.
“We had everyone back and healthy for the first time last week since Seneca East, which was the second week of the season,” he said. “This is the most enjoyable team I’ve ever had — it’s just the best team camaraderie I’ve had in 19 years of coaching. It’s wonderful to see them accomplish the first goal they set and win the conference. Every since the first practice, I’ve been able to sit back and enjoy every minute of it.”
West agreed with Yaussy’s assessment of the conference. “We have the four best teams in the regional in this race,” he said. “We just have to step up and run. If you don’t step up, you’re going home.”
For the Indians, Baylee Hack finished third in 19:50.9. Darcy Picker took eighth in 20:26.9 and Hannah Bush ran 10th in 20:29.2. Madison Fitzpatrick was 22nd in 21:43.6, Micah James ran 29th in 22:28, Bridgette Millisor took 33rd in 22:42.9 and Makayla Weaver ran 48th in 25:11. Also, Savannah Randall was 53rd and Zoie Barron took 55th.
For Highland, Sophia Thompson was 15th in 21:08.1 and Laura Spearman placed 20th in 21:32.6. Elizabeth Jensen ran 36th in 22:57.5, Jenna Brown placed 44th in 24:45.9 and Hailey Howard claimed 45th in 24:49.9. Samantha Trusler took 49th in 25:12.7 and Madison Cecil ran 51st in 25:27.9. Also, Clarissa Dudgeon ran 54th and Brooklyn Geiger took 58th.
Cardington’s Alicia McElwee finished 27th in 22:19.5. Taylor Linkous placed 30th in 22:29.6 and Jessica Shook ran 40th in 24:12.8. Bailey Shafer took 42nd in 24:26.2, Casey Bertke ran 56th in 27:14.7, Sage Brannon placed 57th in 27:36.6 and Ashley Drury ran 60th in 39:21.2.
Mount Gilead won the boys’ race with 28 points, while Fredericktown was second with 48. Northmor was third, Highland took fourth and Cardington was sixth in other local teams. The Indians won with a strong team effort — something West has seen all year.
“We’ve had 11 people this year below 19 minutes,” he said. “They’ve pushed each other very well to be varsity runners and it’s helped the team.”
Austin Hallabrin finished first in 16:00.2, while Casey White was third in 16:33.7, Liam Dennis ran fifth in 17:04.8 and Nick Weiss took sixth in 17:08.6. Trevor Ball finished 13th in 17:42.2, Kyle White ran 15th in 17:47.4 and Brandon Stevens was 23rd in 17:56.1. Also, Gavin Robinson was 28th, Gavvin Keen took 30th and Riley Conners ran 36th.
Northmor was led by A.J. White, who was 10th in 17:26.7. James Walker was 14th in 17:44.5, Mostyn Evans ran 16th in 17:50 and Ryan Bentley took 17th in 17:50.6. B.J. White placed 21st in 17:55.6, Alec Moore ran 39th in 19:01.8 and Kaleb Hart took 40th in 19:02.9. Also, Manny Heilman was 41st, Kyle Price took 49th and Austin Amens placed 54th.
For Highland, Branton Howard placed seventh in 17:17.4 and Dalton Lee ran eighth in 17:19.5. Collin Kipp took 18th in 17:51.4, Bailey Damron was 22nd in 17:56 and Tyler Bowen ran 26th in 18:19.4. Christian Buchholz took 31st in 18:40.5, while Christian Miller placed 33rd in 18:43.9. Also, Bruce Jordan was 35th, Zach Wetzel placed 44th and Jacob Serio ran 45th.
Cardington’s Greg Osborne finished 37th in 18:51.6, Quinn Maceyko placed 43rd in 19:08.1 and Spencer Benson took 50th in 20:51.4. Also, Racine Hallabrin was 56th in 22:38.6 and Andrew Schoppelrei ran 62nd in 24:36.
Rob Hamilton can be reached at 419-946-3010, ext. 1807. Connect with him on Twitter at @SportsMCS