A monstrous field of 369 runners thundered across the rolling hills of Ashland Cross Country Invite Saturday, Sept. 5, and facing a tough Div. I slate of competition, the West Holmes Knights knew they were going to struggle to keep pace with the front of the pack.
That proved to be the case, as West Holmes placed 16th in a field of 22 teams.
It was still a great learning experience for a team that is continuing to try to find its place in the running world.
Vinny DeFelice fought valiantly to hang with the upper echelon crowd at the front of the pack, and while he fell off the smoking-hot pace of winner Nick Stricklen of Lexington’s time of 15:53, he did earn a very solid finish of 12th place in a nice time of 17:05. Had the guys stayed put in the Div. II and Div. III race, DeFelice would have comfortably rode home in second place, just eight seconds off the winning time.
West Holmes’ Josh Weigand and Mark Raber ran side-by-side much of the race, respectively placing 119th and 120th, both finishing in times of 19:46.5.
In addition to the top finishes, Jonathan Kandel was 225th (21:37), Zedrick Clark took 275th (23:05), Danny Drummond placed 287th (23:23), Terrell Yoder earned 296th (23:41), Tyler Miller placed 301st (23:47), Zach Bowles was 319th (24:29), Brandon Zemrock placed 334th (25:05), Cole Guera was 339th (25:42) and Ben Weaver was 360th (28:18).
Thomas Worthington had a consistent day, placing seven runners in the top 22 to easily win the contest with 46 points, Hilliard Bradley placed second with 95, while Ashland was third with 114 and Lexington was fourth with 121. The K789nights’ total of 442 was just three points behind 15th place Northwestern and three ahead of 17th place Cloverleaf.
In the Div. II/Div. III race, while Heath won with 33 points, Smithville put forth a solid effort, taking second with 40 points. The Smithies were led by Joey Coudriet, who placed second overall in a time of 17:16, while teammates Lucas Clark was sixth (17:53) and Justin Woodruff earned 11th (18:08). Ian Weiner (19:02), Caleb Hostetler (19:03) and Justin McKeal (19:04) ran 17th, 18th and 19th, respectively for the Smithies in the field of 130 runners.