Photos By; Allison Miller
How talented of a runner is West Holmes junior Michelle Hostettler?
A slow-go by her standards was better than anyone else’s full-go at the Wayne-Holmes Cross Country Meet held at Orrville on a picturesque fall Saturday morning.
Hostettler repeated as the W-H girls champ after winning in a time of 20:00 during what she called “kind of a run easy to win type of thing.”
The Wooster trio of Maureen McKeown (20:05), Isabelle Cannon (20:12) and Tracey Morgan (20:19) trailed closely in second through fourth place, respectively, to lead the Generals to a repeat team championship.
Hostettler set the West Holmes school record last Saturday when she ran an 18:14 at the Midwest Meet of Champions (at Hilliard Bradley). She was third out of 70 elite runners in the race.
Last season, though, Hostettler was leading the Div. II Pickerington Regional and appeared headed to a state berth when her legs gave out with about 700 meters left and she collapsed.
West Holmes coach Kevin Beachy and Hostettler want to do a better job of pacing her this season. With the Ohio Cardinal Conference Meet coming up next week at West Holmes, followed by districts, regionals and state, they used yesterday’s meet as more of a spirited workout.
“I feel really good about it,” Hostettler said of her “controlled” first-place finish. “We don’t want what happened at regionals to happen again, so we kind of wanted me to get a little bit of a break.”
Added Beachy, “It would have been five straight weeks of all-out effort from her if we didn’t slow her down some today.
“We want to make sure that we’re cautious with her,” the Knights coach added. “It was a great workout and great race. She was controlled, but obviously didn’t run as fast as she could have and that was the goal.”
Hostettler actually acted as a pacesetter for the Wooster frontrunners, who helped lead the Generals to a low score of 27 points.
West Holmes (62) was a distant second, followed by Dalton (105, won tiebreaker for third), Orrville (105), Smithville (134), Northwestern (142), Norwayne (143), and Chippewa (231).
None of the Generals were more impressive, or felt they had more to prove, than McKeown. She had problems on the same W-H course last year and was unable to finish, but bounced back to lead Wooster.
“I felt really good during the race and stronger than I did last year,” McKeown said. “I really wanted it this year and I wanted to get second really bad.
“It definitely gives us more motivation for next week because we know if we can win Wayne-Holmes we can do well at OCC.”
Morgan’s emergence in the lead pack is also a good sign for Wooster moving forward.
“It’s new for me this year to be up with Mo and Isabelle, and it’s really exciting because we’re doing so well,” Morgan said. “We all trained together in the summer and we’ve put in a lot of miles.”
Completing the top 10 to also earn first team Wayne-Holmes honors were Orrville’s Alyssa Plumley (fifth, 21:00); Northwestern’s Jacelyn Alberts (sixth, 21:12) and Weslea Arthur (eighth, 21:24); Wooster’s Haley Miller (seventh, 21:13); and West Holmes’ Erin Norman (ninth, 21:30) and Amber Murphy (10th, 21:31).
“I liked all the packs that I saw,” first-year Wooster coach McKenize Doup said. “Our top three girls were together and then our next three girls finished together. That’s always something you’re looking at as a coach and like to see. Our girls still have a lot more potential, which hopefully we’ll start seeing in the next few weeks.”
Beachy said he’s excited to see what Norman and Murphy can do in the coming weeks after their strong performances.
“We have seen individuals who are working hard and improving,” Beachy said. “For Erin to take ninth as a freshman was nice to see. Amber is a senior, who also has been working hard.”
Northwestern coach Heather Tegtmeier was encouraged with the way her Huskies stacked up with runners from larger schools.
“Jacelyn and Weslea did very well and their times are coming down to where we would like to see them,” Tegtmeier said. “It’s good to see the bigger schools here and get more competition.”
Finishing as second-team Wayne-Holmes runners were Wooster’s Hannah Strock (11th, 21:36), Melissa Wiles (14th, 21:41) and Rachel Wood (16th, 21:47); Dalton’s Lily Baechle (12th, 21:37), Madee Kutz (19th, 21:58) and Aly Scheibe (20th, 22:08); Triway’s Morgan Oberly (13th, 21:40); Orrville’s Emerson Hamsher (15th, 21:46); Norwayne’s Mikayla Deiotte (17th, 21:49); and Hiland’s Melissa Hostetler (18th, 21:53).
ORRVILLE—Unlike in some past years, there was no clock at the Wayne-Holmes Cross Country Meet finish line for runners to get an idea what their times were Saturday.
Smithville junior Joey Coudriet sprinted like there was someone right on his heels into the finish chute and that was a very wise move.
Coudriet’s winning time was 16:14, which unbeknownst to him at the finish beat the Smithville school record set by Denny Hanreck in 2011 by a mere 1 second on a beautiful fall morning with temperatures in the 50s at Orrville High School.
“It means a lot,” said Coudriet, of earning local bragging rights and also getting the Smithies’ record. “I didn’t know if I was going to do it this year, but I was definitely excited right before the race and I was ready to win. I came in wanting to win.”
A balanced pack came in after Coudriet, with Wooster’s Matthew Chidsey (16:24), West Holmes’ Vinny DeFelice (16:35) and Triway’s Nich Michels (16:45) and Jared Bugaj (16:46) completing the top five.
When Wooster added Christopher Cannon (17:01), Jordan Green (17:02) and Connor Nico (17:03) in the sixth through eighth spots, respectively, it clinched a repeat team title with 34 points. Also earning first-team Wayne-Holmes honors with top-10 finishes were Smithville’s Lucas Clark (17:08) and Noah Riggenbach (17:19).
Smithville was second with 54 points, followed by Triway (79), West Holmes (157), Chippewa (163), Northwestern (172), Orrville (180, won tiebreaker for seventh), Dalton (180), Norwayne (213) and Waynedale (243).
About 300 meters into the race, Coudriet sprinted into the lead and he never looked back. He had a spirited race with Chidsey as they both ran sub-5:00 first miles before breaking free in the wooded part of the 3.1-mile course that wound through Orr Park.
“I didn’t think the Wooster guys would stay with me, but they did and that’s a good effort from them,” Coudriet said. “It kind of became a race with me and Chidsey right after the mile-mark. I finally got him in the woods.”
Coudriet has set a goal of making it to the Div. III state meet after coming up short as an underclassmen and he looks to be well on his way.
“This was our first meet in three weeks, so I wasn’t sure what to expect but I think the break helped him,” Smithville coach Greg DeRodes said. “I’m really happy for Joey, he ran a great race.
“We had Joey in the 16s and three others in the 17s so that’s good to see,” DeRodes added. “It was good to get pushed by Wooster, which has a great program. Hopefully, we can keep dropping our times and if we do we’ll have a shot (at qualifying for state as a team).”
First-year Triway coach Matt Woods was ecstatic to see his top runners both finish under 17 minutes for the first time.
“It’s a major milestone for them and something we’ve been shooting for all season with Nick and Jared,” said Woods, a Triway alum. “They’ve put in the work and believed in themselves and the process. We’re just trying to create a culture of distance at Triway and I think we’re on our way.”
DeFelice didn’t feel his best according to West Holmes Kevin Beachy, but grinded out a solid third-place finish.
“Vinny said his legs felt tight, but he still ran a good race,” Beachy said. “He was fourth after 1 1-2-miles, but came back to take third so I can’t complain. I’m not sure why he felt tight, but it might be where we’re at with our training.”
Bennett will never turn away a championship, but said he was more concerned with each Wooster runner maximizing his potential.
“I’m happy with the fact that we finished first here, but our goals are always centered more on what our team can do,” Bennett said. “Something that is extrinsic, like a trophy or championship, that to me is secondary.
“Did we run the best we can? Did we do the things we need to do to be the best we can be? In some cases we did and in other cases no, we had some troubles and some problems and we’ll just work on that for next week. It was a beautiful course and day and now we’ll focus on moving into the OCC Meet.”
Finishing in the 11-20 spots to earn Wayne-Holmes second-team accolades were Wooster’s Alexander Thompson (11th, 17:24), Breyden Hahn (12th, 17:28), Kenny Jordan (14th, 17:33) and Jeromy Green (15th, 17:35); Northwestern’s Hunter Kanzeg (13th, 17:32); Triway’s Clay Miller (16th, 17:39); Smithville’s Justin McKeal (17th, 17:40) and Ian Weiner (20th, 17:48); Orrville’s Solomon Swanson (18th, 17:40); and Hiland’s Hunter Yoder (19th, 17:46).