Saturday’s state cross country meet proved to be a pretty successful time for Mount Gilead’s programs, as the two teams combined for a pair of top-six placements in the team races, as well as mustered a total of three All-Ohio runners.
The boys’ team finished third in the day’s first race — the Division III boys’ competition. They scored 173 points to only finish behind East Canton (126) and Summit County Day (131).
Leading the way was All-Ohio runner Michael Snopik, who took 25th place with a time of 16:25.5. Brett Shipman barely missed out on finishing as an All-Ohioan, as he ran 31st in 16:29.8. The top 30 runners in a race earn All-Ohio status at the state meet.
Eric Mowery finished 44th in 16:45.5 and Reed Supplee claimed 66th with a time of 17:01.5. Parker Bartlett ran 123rd in 17:39.5, Ethan Kemp placed 144th in 18:11.1 and Cole Hershner took 171st place in 18:56.4.
“They did pretty well,” said head coach Jake Hayes. “We got out a little farther back than we would have liked. Our goal for the day was to get out and move the second half of the race. They did a pretty good job of that.”
Snopik felt teams might have overlooked the Indians due to how the team graduated a pair of podium finishers from last year’s second-place squad.
“Being part of Mount Gilead, everyone thinks we’ll be slow next year because we lose our top seniors,” he said. “They’ll probably think that next year.”
While the junior runner wasn’t expecting to finish as an All-Ohioan, he was happy with the results, both for him and his teammates.
“I wasn’t quite thinking I’d get top 30,” he said. “I’m happy with it and happy with my team’s times.”
With the state meet being moved from National Trail Raceway to Fortress Obetz this year, Hayes noted that his runners had to get used to a new course.
“We came down here yesterday and ran the course,” he said. “The kids were pretty excited. There’s only one hill on the course. I personally like this venue a lot better. It feels more like a state championship course. It’s exciting to have a new venue and one our kids can enjoy.”
In the next race of the day — the Division III girls’ championship — MG placed sixth with 185 points after taking fifth last year.
The team finished with two All-Ohio runners, both seniors. Allison Johnson finished fourth with a time of 18:38.2, while Emily Hanft took 13th place in 19:07.7. Michaela McGill placed 50th in 20:09.4 and Olivia Millisor ran 51st in 20:09.5. Selia Shipman claimed 147th in 22:26.9, while Kamry Grandstaff took 164th in 23:26.3 and Karley Wallace finished 172nd in 24:14.6.
Johnson spent much of the race competing for an individual title before taking fourth.
“I definitely hit a wall,” she said. “When they went off, I went with them, but they had a gear I didn’t have today.”
She added that she felt this race was more spread out than previous state meets had been.
“It was a good race,” she said. “Not like you’d expect from a typical state meet. It was spread out, but I was prepared for the possibility of that happening. I think I’ve played out this race in my head thousands of times.”
Hayes added that was Johnson’s best finish in her high school career at the state meet.
“It’s her best state finish yet,” he said. “I know she’ll be a little disappointed because that’s Alison, but it’s exciting to have her finish with her best finish at state.”
Hanft also was pleased with her race, with got her a top-15 finish after she was 57th as a junior last year.
“I felt really good,” she said. “I’m super happy with my race. I was really nervous. I went out hard and trusted my coaches and teammates and did it.”
After watching his girls run, Hayes said he was happy with their state meet effort.
“I thought they raced really well,” he said. “I’ve talked to six of the seven and they all seemed happy they gave it what they had.”
And, the coach noted, all his runners were already looking forward to improving on their 2020 performances next year.
“We’re in a good spot and happy with how we ran,” he said. “But it’s good we’re not being complacent and are already looking ahead and wanting to be a spot better.”
Rob Hamilton can be reached at 419-946-3010, ext. 1807. Connect with him on Twitter at @SportsMCS