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WL-Salem senior girls win their final Caverns race

The hills of the Ohio Caverns are a special place to the West Liberty-Salem cross country program and its runners.

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LEFT TO RIGHT: West Liberty-Salem's Chris Buschur, Bellefontaine’s David Guajardo and Indian Lake’s Dianna Meek compete in the Max Evans Memorial cross country race Tuesday at Ohio Caverns. FRONT PAGE PHOTO: West Liberty-Salem’s Jasmine Smith, Alyssa Strickland, Shawnda Henault. (EXAMINER PHOTOS | AARON LaBATT)

A highly talented group of senior girls who have made three trips to the state meet ran those hills for the last time Tuesday. The Tiger girls dominated the final home meet of their prep careers by winning the Max Evans Memorial.

“This is a special place for us,” said senior Meghan Vogel, who won Tuesday’s girls meet. “There is so much history here with the state championship boys team from the 1970s. This is where our team has become a family for over the past six years. It’s sad to know we’ve raced here for the last time.”

Known as one of the toughest courses in the state, the grounds at the Ohio Caverns have been the training site for the Tigers’ boys and girls programs. They are attributed to helping make the WL-Salem squads what they are today.

“This is such a tough course,” said Vogel. “You have to race smart here. You can’t come out too fast and really have to balance your running.”

Vogel recorded a commanding win with the second-best time of her career in 18:52. Her previous best was last week at Graham (18:47).

WL-Salem’s state-ranked girls captured the team title with 38 points and placed four runners in the top five. It was their third consecutive win at the Caverns.

Graham was a distant second with 127 points, Mechanicsburg was third with 129 points and Kenton Ridge took fourth with 130.

Among the other local squads, Bellefontaine’s girls took fifth with 145 points, Indian Lake was sixth with 157 points and Benjamin Logan took 11th with 236 points.

“Our top four runners ran great,” said WL-Salem girls head coach Ann Vogel. “Three of our girls were out sick, so that is unfortunate since this is our only home meet. It’s a tougher course, too, but I thought overall we ran really well. I thought our younger girls ran well, too.”

For the full story and meet results, pick up a copy of Wednesday's Bellefontaine Examiner. CLICK HERE to subscribe.

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