For the second time in three years, the Mount Gilead boys’ cross country team finishing their season with a Division III state meet trophy after placing second.
There was a bit of drama attached to the team’s trophy, though. MG was unofficially leading the meet through the first two miles at Fortress Obetz, but when all their runners had crossed the finish line, they were listed as the fourth-place team. After determining that placement was due to a couple Indian runners not having their chips digitally counted, there was a delay to properly place them.
“They didn’t have our two and three runners show up in the final report and we were fourth,” said head coach Jake Hayes. “At one point, we were tied for second and lost the tiebreaker.”
When results finally become official, Mount Gilead’s team total of 108 points put them behind only East Canton’s 99 points and one point in front of Fort Loramie’s 109.
“Coming in, we knew it’d be tough to win,” said Hayes. “East Canton is really tough. They closed a little better than we did. I think we ran as well as we could have run. There’s not one person who can’t say they didn’t do their job.”
The Indian boys also put a pair of runners on the podium in senior Michael Snopik and freshman Will Baker. One year after finishing 25th, Snopik placed seventh with a time of 16:02.2.
“It was definitely a season goal, individual and team-wise,” he said about both reaching the podium and getting a team trophy. “I wanted a big team trophy and a big individual medal and got both of them. It’s been great and fun.”
Snopik noted that as the season progressed, he felt that shooting for a state title was within reach.
“We always shoot to win state,” he said. “Especially when Will Baker started dropping time, we thought it’d be something special. It’s just a great team culture. We expect to win.”
Baker joined Snopik on the post-race podium thanks to running 18th in the race with a time of 16:18.4.
“It feels great,” said the freshman. “Lots of hard work was put into it. My mindset was to run as hard as I can. Get out well and try to maintain position. I think everyone feels good about how we competed. The upperclassmen set a good example for me and did a good job teaching me.”
While not on the podium, junior Reed Supplee also earned All-Ohio status by finishing 22nd in 16:23.1. The top 30 runners in each race are designated All-Ohio. Parker Bartlett took 57th in 16:57.5, Ethan Kemp was 88th in 17:19, Ethan Honzo finished 106th in 17:36.1 and Colson Chapman ran 107th in 17:37.3 to also contribute to the team’s finish.
Hayes felt a big part of his team’s success, which also includes a second-place finish in 2019 and third-place result in 2020 is the team’s culture.
“The biggest thing we focus on is not just being fast runners, but to be good people,” he said. “I’m really thankful for the older guys and coaches who set that standard.”
Division III girls
One year after placing 50th in the DIvision III girls’ state cross country meet, Mount Gilead’s Michaela McGill improved all the way to a seventh-place finish to reach the podium.
“It feels really good, especially after finishing 50th a year ago,” she said. “This season reflects how hard I worked. When I started, I just wanted to be top five on the team, so to be top 10 in the state is so rewarding. It makes me feel people will be proud of me a long time. Definitely one of the best feelings in the world.”
McGill noted that her great placement in the state meet gives her reason for optimism going into the 2022 track season.
“Now I have to finish higher in the state,” she said. “I was eighth in the 3200 and now I finished seventh with all of these girls. It feels very good.”
As a team, Mount Gilead placed 17th in the meet with a total of 376 points. Haley Pfeifer took 120th place with a time of 21:17.9, while Ava Baker placed 136th in 21:48.2. Kimberly Staley finished 149th in 22:11.6 and Karley Wallace took 165th in 22:43.5. Also, Madilyn Elson ran 173rd in 23:25.4 and Tatum Neal claimed 177th with a time of 23:33.6.
The Cardington girls also ran in the Division III race and placed 20th with a total of 448 points.
Loey Hallabrin led the team. She took 96th place with a time of 20:41. Gracie Meade was 114th in 21:01.2 and Magi Hallabrin finished 158th in 22:23.4. Hazel Jolliff claimed 160th in 22:27.5, Morgan White was 166th in 22:44.1 and Marnie Young claimed 187th in 29:09.3.
Northmor Golden Knights
Northmor’s Ryan Lehman competed in the Division III boys’ meet on Saturday and placed 47th with a time of 16:52.3.
Lehman got out to a fast start in the meet and was listed as a top-10 runner after the first mile. While he wasn’t able to maintain that pace over the course of the 3.1-mile event, he was able to parlay that fast start into a top-50 finish as a sophomore — a big improvement over last year’s 139th-place finish.
Rob Hamilton can be reached at 419-946-3010, ext. 1807. Connect with him on Twitter at @SportsMCS