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WL-Salem squads headed back to regionals

Tiger girls win third straight district title, Pirates’ Jackson moves on to next round

WLS-boys 1022 Riverside-girls 1022

West Liberty-Salem’s Savanna Shipp, front page photo; Joey Adams, left; and  Riverside’s Ella Jackson runs in the Division III district race Saturday at the Miami Valley Career Technical Center. (EXAMINER PHOTOS | AAROR LaBATT)

CLAYTON — It was the start to the postseason that West Liberty-Salem’s cross country program was looking for here Saturday at the Division III district meet.

The Tiger girls won their third consecutive district title, the Tiger boys qualified to the regional meet for the third straight year and they did it in impressive fashion.

Riverside standout sophomore Ella Jackson also had a big day as she qualified to the regional meet as an individual.

The top four teams and top 16 individuals moved on the Division III regional meet Saturday at Troy.

The Tiger girls, who are ranked sixth in the state in Division III, won handily with 34 points. State-ranked Ft. Loramie came in second with 60 points, Miami East was third with 89 points and Yellow Springs took fourth with 92 points.

“I was pleased with what I saw out there,” said WL-Salem girls head coach Ann Vogel. “We still have work to do and make some forward progress, but the girls had some nice races and we even had a few girls set new career-bests.”

Several WL-Salem girls set career bests as the Tigers showcased their dominance over the rest of the field. WL-Salem had four of the top eight runners and saw senior standout Meghan Vogel win the race by nearly a minute.

Vogel, who won the district race last season as well, pulled away from the rest of the field with a winning time of 18:33.71.

“Meghan felt strong,” said Ann Vogel. “She wanted to go out there and push the pace that last mile. She wanted to get some confidence under her belt because there will be some tough competition at regional.”

Meghan Vogel had plenty of support with three other Tiger runners finishing in the top eight. Alyssa Strickland surged to fourth (19:55), Shawnda Henault finished in sixth (20:08) and Jasmine Smith took eighth (20:26).

Also for the Tigers, Savanna Shipp had a strong finish in 19th (21:30), while Jordan Smith was 32nd (22:22) and Sarah Williams was 40th (23:52).

“I thought Savanna did great,” said Vogel. “She is our fifth runner and cut 20 seconds off her time. She definitely stepped it up and closed really well. Alyssa did really well, too. She was 10th at the mile mark and ended up fourth. They ran some strong races.”

State-ranked Versailles won the boys Division III race with 46 points. WL-Salem earned the runner-up spot with 71 points, Jackson Center was third with 113 points and Ft. Loramie grabbed the final qualifying spot with 149 points. Triad also competed and took 16th with 424 points.

The Tiger boys advanced to the regional meet for the third straight season.

“To be district runner-up with this team after being champions the past two years is gratifying,” said WL-Salem boys head coach Mike Louden. “We have some younger guys mixed in with a few experienced runners. I thought we ran pretty well.

“We still have a good chance to qualify out. Compared to the last couple of years we’ve been in better positions. Realistically, though, we could be anywhere from third to seventh. We have our work cut out for us, but our guys are excited for the opportunity.”

The duo of Aaron Scott and Alex Adams powered WL-Salem’s boys with top-five finishes. Scott came in fourth (16:49) and Adams took fifth (17:13). Joey Adams was also close behind, finishing 10th (17:36).

The rest of the Tigers saw Chris Buschur in 23rd (18:24), Ross Kelley in 31st (18:38), Stephen Whetstine in 38th (18:49) and Alex Steiner in 54th (19:21).

“Aaron and Alex ran real solid races,” said Louden. “That is what I expected from them. Ross Kelley has really improved the past few weeks too. I feel he will be a key for us next weekend.”

Riverside’s Jackson has been a strong runner all season and put an exclamation point on her season Saturday by qualifying to the regional meet.

After missing a regional berth last season by three spots, Jackson finished 12th on Saturday with a time of 20:45.8 to move on as an individual.

For Triad’s boys, Chad Reisinger was 60th (19:36), Ryan Kaylor was 90th (22:18), Tanner Stengel was 91st (22:28), Ethan Davis was 97th (23:29), Kegan Anderson was 99th (24:15) and Zack Moore was 102nd (24:30).

The Cardinal girls saw Alyssa Ferguson take 38th (23:24) and Miranda Linscott take 59th (30:47).

Riverside’s boys competed in the A race. Brett Rappold finished in 87th (20:51) and Ben Rappold finished in 101st (22:36).

Emily Teague also ran for the Pirate girls and was 46th (25:23).

Look for a Division III regional preview later this week in the Examiner.

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