Every year the Spartan Cross Country Invitational at Boardman High School presents quite a challenge for some of Ohio’s top talent, and this year was no different as schools from all over Ohio united to test their will against some top competition.
This year on Saturday, Sept. 16, the Lady Pirates battled it out in the Div. III race with some of the best competition in Northeast Ohio, placing fourth out of 29 teams that were loaded with talent and 275 total athletes.
Perennial state powerhouse McDonald took top honors with just 49 points, followed by Gilmour Academy’s 66 and Maplewood’s 204. Those are three powerful programs that topped Garaway, which placed fourth with 236 points as the Lady Ps inched past Zane Trace and Badger.
There was a new face at the top of the Lady Pirates runners this go-around with Rylee Wilhelm placing 30th overall in 21:27, just edging out teammate Jocelyn Miller, who ran a 21:31, good for 31st. The rest of the Lady Ps field included Lindsey Goehring at 22:31 (48th), Bethany Rider at 22:37 (62nd), Lauren Goehring at 22:39 (65th), Mallory Millet at 22:50 (70th) and Summer Miller at 26:02 (159th).
The Garaway Pirates boys team placed eighth out of 32 teams in a strong Boardman field.
Once again the Pirates fell prey to a pair of teams that have made a living out of finishing one-two in Northeast Ohio cross country small school boys tournaments.
East Canton took first place by placing four runners in the top-15 competitors, a huge accomplishment considering there were 310 total runners competing.
The Hornets were paced by Demetrius Snellenberger’s fourth-place effort in 16:41. Josh Conrad was eighth with 17:08 while Kyeem Newell-Owens and Tony Capillo ended the day 14th and 15th, respectively. Colt Hemphill was 27th.
The Smithville Smithies placed second as a team and had a pair of incredibly impressive efforts from seniors Lucas Clark and Justin McKeal. The two ran with the big dogs up front the entire race, and eventually Clark showed off that signature kick in the end game to pull away from the field to win it in a time of 16:14.6. OK, he didn’t exactly pull away from the entire field. Because when Clark made his break, he was shadowed by Mapleton’s Drew Roberts. The two went stride for stride to the finish line, where Clark leaned in to defeat the runner-up by two-hundredths of a second. McKeal ended the day in third place in a time of 16:23.7. Smithies teammates Noah Navratil, Braden Young and Ben Melkey placed 18th, 47th and 52nd.
East Canton won with 66 points, Smithville was second with 121 and Maplewood was third with 124, followed by McDonald, Gilmour Academy, North East and Mapleton.
The Pirates gave a tremendous all-around team effort that will only prove to help the team in future races as Garaway churned its way to eighth place.
As has been the case in each of the Pirates’ runs this fall, Julian Shrock led the way with a time of 17:05, good for 12th overall.
The rest of the Pirates looked like this: Noah Wentworth at 17:47 (26th), Kristian Stocksdale at 18:18 (45th), Andrew West at 18:37 (62nd), Braden Shupe at 19:08 (90th), Collin Hochstetler at 19:31 (108th), Kyle Dunn at 20:14 (134th), Tyler Francis at 22:01 (220th), Dakota Ross at 26:31 (295th) and Josh Gisinger at 29:31 (310th).
In the Div. I big-school race, New Philadelphia junior Aiden Harr was spectacular, carving out a sixth-place finish in a rugged field of 377 runners. He finished in a time of 16:12.1. Wooster’s Connor Niro and Breydan Hann finished 54th and 52nd, respectively, in times of 17:22 and 17:28. The Quakers finished the day in 16th while the Generals were 20th out of 44 teams.
Wooster’s Lady Generals were paced by Maddy Nacci’s time of 20:17, good for 29th overall in the Div. I race. Wooster placed 28th out of 39 schools.
In the Div. II boys race, Indian Valley placed 24th in the 52-team field, led by Hunter Probert’s 36th-place finish in 17:35 and Adam Lenhoff’s 41st-place effort in 17:41.
On the girls side Tusky Valley placed fifth out of 47 teams, getting a monster effort from Madisan DeBos, whose time of 19:01.8 was good for a runner-up spot behind champion Leah Roter of Beachwood, who won in a mind-boggling time of 17:36.8. New Philadelphia’s Rachel Anderson was almost as good as DeBos as she placed third in 19:32.2. She led the Quakers to an 18th-place team finish and was greatly aided by teammate Rebekah Stoneman’s 21st-place finish in 20:31.