Liberty boys win Spartan Invitational
Coach Jared Mills wanted to see how his Olentangy Liberty High School boys cross country team would stand up against top-flight, out-of-area competition, and he got his answer Sept. 14.
Liberty won the title in the 38-team Division I race of the Spartan Invitational with 111 points, finishing ahead of runner-up and host Youngstown Boardman (141).
"The (Boardman) course is a regional course for the Cleveland area, so I wanted to see how we would do up there," Mills said. "We went up against some teams we might get to face later in the season."
Senior Andrew Johnston placed fourth in 15 minutes, 37.5 seconds. Mark Hadley of Boardman won in 15:07.8.
Senior Josh Wojciechowski (18th, 16:33.2) was next for Liberty, followed by sophomore Mitchell Towne (29th, 16:41.1), senior Chatham Anderson (31st, 16:43.3), junior Cameron Lackey (33rd, 16:44.7), senior Daniel Parsons (98th, 17:32.2) and senior Ryan Heckman (145th, 18:03.6).
"We're running well right now, but all cross country teams are only as good as their fifth runners," Mills said. "We have been running great as a pack right now and we have to continue doing that."
For the girls team, junior Claire Wiles won the Division I race of the Galion Cross Country Carnival on Sept. 14 in 18:26.9. Reynoldsburg's Leah Wallace was second (18:54.4).
The Patriots were second (113) in the 26-team race behind Thomas Worthington (99) and ahead of third-place New Albany (165).
Sophomore Claire Linn (12th, 19:39.1) was next for Liberty, followed by junior Autumn Lowder (30th, 20:17.6), junior Trinity Wiles (32nd, 20:21.1), sophomore Shannon Kelly (23rd, 21:41.9), senior Jessica Martz (44th, 20:43.1) and senior Allie Merola (97th, 21:48.7).
Olentangy girls continue to grow
The Olentangy girls team continues to fare well in races despite having five freshmen and one sophomore as part of its top seven runners.
On Sept. 14, the Braves were 12th (285) in the Division I race at Galion, led by freshman Katie King (36th, 20:31).
"We have 52 girls out and 27 had not run a high school cross country race before this season," coach Dwight Dewese said. "We have 24 freshmen as well as three sophomores and one junior who are also first-year runners. They have new learning points each week."
Sophomore Sarah Speck (58th, 20:56) was next for Olentangy, followed by senior Mackenzie Freeman (60th, 20:57.8), freshman Ireland Fallona (66th, 21:07), freshman Ashton Benson (70th, 21:10.6), freshman Camryn Stobart (88th, 21:30.7) and freshman Chloe Murdock (92nd, 21:35).
"For the first time in a while, we're taking (Sept. 21) off and we can do some extra training," Dewese said. "That's the day of the ACT (college testing) and it seems like our runners have a difficult time concentrating on cross country after taking the test in the morning."
The Olentangy boys were eighth (284) in the 33-team Division I race at Galion behind champion Hilliard Davidson (94).
Senior Chase Benson was 19th (16:06) to lead Olentangy. Luke Wagner of Cleveland St. Ignatius won in 15:31.1.
Junior Charles Rodeheffer (36th, 16:24.6) was next for the Braves, followed by junior Jacob Darche (64th, 16:43.8), freshman Anthony Sasso (66th, 16:46.5), junior Daylan Sutton (99th, 17:17.7), junior Tyler Azbell (101st, 17:19.6) and junior Sam Watson (166th, 18:17.4).
Orange boys take third at Three Creeks
The Orange boys finished third (117) in the 14-team large school race of the Central Ohio Invitational on Sept. 14 at Three Creeks Metro Park behind champion Dublin Coffman (70).
Sophomore Brandon Morrow (seventh, 16:35.36) led the Pioneers, finishing behind champion Zach Bons (16:03.54) of Coffman.
Freshman Brandon Lane (12th, 16:45.58) was next for Orange, followed by junior Kyle Benecke (31st, 17:16.3), freshman Hunter Moore (33rd, 17:18.97), freshman Tommy Heiden (34th, 17:19.06), senior Tyler Young (46th, 17:37.72) and senior Cameron Flesch (56th, 17:52.46).
The Orange girls finished 13th (346) in the 16-team large school race at Three Creeks behind champion Upper Arlington (35). Junior Anna Dove was 45th (20:47.99) behind champion Heather Sandvik (18:26.74) of Westerville North.
Sophomore Skylar Tucker (62nd, 21:31.59) was next for the Pioneers, followed by sophomore Lindsey Brandt (70th, 21:49.37), sophomore Hannah Dieker (79th, 22:00.78), sophomore Madison Clarkson (90th, 22:37.95), senior Allison Priest (93rd, 22:55.04) and senior Ann Howard (94th, 22:58.09).