Just a couple of weeks into the cross country season, there are some familiar trends and some new ones coming to the forefront.
West Liberty-Salem’s boys are flexing their muscle as the area’s top team, while Indian Lake’s girls are turning heads with their improvement. Both were evident Tuesday as each squad won at the Logan County meet at Southview Park in Bellefontaine.
The Big Orange boys state-ranked squad easily won with 19 points, Bellefontaine was runner-up with 55 points, Benjamin Logan came in third with 61 points, Indian Lake took fourth with 104 points and Triad was fifth with 116 points.
“It’s great to open the season with back-to-back wins,” said WL-Salem boys head coach Mike Louden, whose team also won the Milton Union Invitational last Saturday.
“Winning the county meet is always tough with Bellefontaine and Ben Logan in the field. To beat two quality teams is rewarding. We decided to be a little bit more conservative with our race plan and the guys executed it to perfection.”
There was a bit of a surprise in the girls race as Indian Lake continues its surge and won with 20 points. Ben Logan was runner-up with 48 points and Bellefontaine came in third with 60 points. Triad and Riverside also competed, but did not record team scores.
WL-Salem’s girls did not compete at the county meet.
Indian Lake’s girls have been turning heads in just a short time. Winning the county meet further showcases their improvement from last year.
Individually, Ben Logan’s Dani Widmark was the girls overall winner with a time of 22:11, nearly 30 seconds faster than the next finisher. With three meets under her belt, Widmark is just happy to be competing after a chaotic offseason.
“It feels really good to be out running again,” said Widmark. “It feels like things are back to normal. The hardest part was expecting a season and not feel like you were training for one that wouldn’t come. I feel I had a pretty good race tonight, but I could have been faster.”
Two-time state placer Dylan Lauck paced WL-Salem’s boys with a winning time of 17:27. He saw Tuesday’s race as a stepping stone toward bigger meets down the road.
“The air was fairly humid, but I felt really good,” said Lauck. “We set a tempo as a team and I was really proud of my team. We stayed disciplined as a team, which was critical for team success.
“Resuming meets is a stable thing in this crazy time. I know my team and I thrive on competition. My team and I are excited for the post season and for the rest of the season.”
The Lady Lakers claimed six of the top eight spots in Tuesday’s race. Chloe Sparks led the way as runner-up (22:47), Kailea Miller came in third (23:19), Erika Weals was fourth (23:30), Elayna Richardson took sixth (23:53), Hannah Metzger finished in seventh (24:19) and Deborah Wells was eighth (24:30).
Others racing for Indian Lake were Carlie Nickel in 14th (26:10), Kierra Saunders in 20th (28:22), Annie Braig in 25th (30:59), Maggie Reese in 27th (31:28) and Makayla Motter in 33rd (33:10).
In addition to Widmark, Ben Logan’s girls saw top 20 finishes Mylee Boysel in 11th (25:38), Kendra Kennedy in 12th (25:41), Malorie Barnes in 13th (26:07), Kerry Copenhaver in 15th (26:19), Tori Miller in 17th (27:22) and Allie Fay in 19th (28:04).
Also in action for the Raiders were Cora Watson in 22nd (29:53), Brooklyn Horner in 23rd (30:15), Sara Folk in 24th (30:21), Libby Siefring in 28th (32:02) and McKenzie Roseburrough in 29th (32:07).
For Bellefontaine, Sophie Adelsberger was ninth (25:10), Montanna Buck was 10th (25:22), Ella Reier was 16th (26:20), Aubrey Hudson was 21st (29:27), Zoey Rister was 26th (31:01), Avery Hankins was 31st (32:24) and Olivia Eader was 34th (33:47).
Triad’s Shalyn Smiles had a standout performance in fifth (23:34), Aliandra Yorgason came in 30th (32:25) and Tabitha Gaier finished in 32nd (33:04).
Riverside had one runner in action with Ava Klingler, who finished in 18th (27:57).
WL-Salem’s boys grabbed four of the top five spots on Tuesday. Lauck led the way with Tate Yoder coming in second (17:35), Josh Spinner took fourth (18:24) and Hayden Kennedy finished in fifth (18:30). Other top finishes came from Owen Harrison in seventh (18:45), Ayden Estep in 13th (20:06), Michael Jones in 14th (20:23), Ryan Henry in 15th (20:24) and Joey LaRoche in 17th (20:33).
Rounding out the Big Orange were Ian Maurice in 22nd (20:51), Adam LaRoche in 29th (22:03.0), Mason Barger in 30th (22:03.1) and Hayden Miller in 44th (26:42).
Connor Skidmore powered Bellefontaine with a third-place finish (18:04), Tony Stewart finished in the top 10 with a ninth-place effort (18:55), while other standout efforts came from Justin Carper in 11th (19:18) and Gannon Purcell in 12th (19:41).
Others in action for BHS were Patrick Donnelly in 23rd (20:51.1), Ollie Moreland in 28th (21:58), Seth Taylor in 41st (24:15), Nate Hardy in 42nd (25:09), Noah Conner in 43rd (25:35), Micah Woolf in 45th (27:29), Alek Miller in 46th (29:15), Levon Howard in 47th (31:57) and Hayden Deitsch in 48th (34:41).
Ben Logan had a trio of runners grab strong finishes. Tucker Munz led the way in sixth (18:34), Tayte Williamson was eighth (18:53) and Blake Rhoades finished in 10th (19:12).
Making up the rest of the Raider runners were Andy Hughes in 18th (20:35), Trevor Penwell in 24th (20:53), Yale Scheiderer in 33rd (22:27), Gabe Mooney in 36th (23:26) and Eli Rhoades in 40th (24:12)
For Indian Lake, Brant Parsell was 16th (20:28), Brody Parsell was 19th (20:38), Grant McPherson was 25th (20:59), Mason Beres was 27th (21:00), Jacob Huhn was 31st (22:12), Tony Cummins was 35th (22:58) and Dawson Finfrock was 39th (24:08).
Joe Ferguson led Triad’s boys in 20th (20:49), Tavin Yorgason finished in 21st (20:50), Wyatt Robinson came in 26th (20:59), Zane Robinson took 32nd (22:21), Jacob Haser finished in 34th (22:37), Aaron Roy came in 37th (23:31) and Klinton Driscoll rounded out the group in 38th (23:58).