For someone who accidentally wandered on to Cambridge High School’s grounds Saturday, Oct. 25, had they spotted West Holmes junior Michelle Hostettler, they may have thought she was taking a leisurely practice moment over the winding, hilly 3.1 mile path coursing throughout the school grounds.
After all, there was nobody anywhere near her.
That was because she was busy destroying the rest of the field en route to a lopsided Div. II East District Div. II crown.
Hostetler carved a couple more seconds off of her school record, which seems to change every time the junior steps on to a course to compete, finishing in 18:12.24, a full 80 seconds ahead of runner-up Nelle Yankovich of Minerva.
Hostettler got out in front so far so fast that it may have actually impeded her ability to turn in the time she was hoping for.
“It’s hard to run on an island when there is nobody to push you,” said Hostettler. “I was where I wanted to be, and it felt fast, but it wasn’t the time I was looking for. I was hoping to break 18.”
As for the huge lead, Hostettler wasn’t surprised. The only question mark concerning Hostettler was whether or not she would catch the four-wheeler pacing the race, as the driver had to continually look over his shoulder for the hard-charging junior.
— HolmesCountyTicket (@hcticket) October 24, 2015
While the Lady Knights (99 points) fell just short of qualifying as a team, finishing fifth behind winner Minerva (47), Tusky Valley (56), River View (71) and John Glenn (89), the Lady Knights did have three runners place in the top 16, meaning they will have an opportunity to represent West Holmes at regionals.
Freshman Erin Norman continued her ascent up the charts by placing 14th in 20:58.88, while senior Amber Murphy inched her way into one more week with a 15th place finish in 21:03.9.
“We didn’t quite run up to our potential, and John Glenn ran a very good race for them,” said West Holmes coach Kevin Beachy. “But it was a good season, and the girls ran hard today. That is all you can ask for.
“And even though it seems a little crazy that we didn’t get out with three moving on to regionals, I am excited for Amber, with this being her senior year. She had to battle through an Achilles ankle injury, and she is hurting right now. We’ll give her some time off and see how she feels later in the week. Erin has a such bright future, especially once we get her training all year. She has really improved, and it is exciting to see her doing what it takes to get to that next level.”
Other Lady Knights runners included Hannah Schlegel, who placed 33rd in 22:15.56, Hannah Clark, who was 38th in 23:00.56, Kaylor Perone, who earned a 42nd in 23:31.27 and Alexi Hunter, who was 46th in 24.29.96.
Hostettler said she is excited to have some company at regionals, despite the team not making it.
“It’s kind of crushing to have to warm up by yourself, and I am really looking forward to Amber and Erin going with me to regionals,” said Hostettler.
The West Holmes boys gave it their best shot, but also came away missing regionals with a sixth place finish. At the front of the pack was Martins Ferry and River View. Both teams scored 47 points, but it would be Martins Ferry’s Justin Geery, whose sixth place time of 18:02.55 was ahead of River’s View’s Jordan Olinger’s time of 18:39.96. Each runner was their respective team’s sixth place runner, thus Martins Ferry earned the District crown. West Holmes was sixth with 136 points, also trailing Claymont and John Glenn, both of which moved on to regionals, as well as Tusky Valley.
“It’s been an up and down season for us, and we have gotten better in some area’s,” said Beachy.
“Unfortunately we have a couple of runners missing because of soccer, and our one and three runners both battled through illness all week.”
For the guys, Vinny DeFelice ran a solid race, maintaining touch with the lead pack before settling into fourth place in a time of 16:44.58. He trailed winner Jacob Bishop of Martins Ferry, who won in a time of 16:22.02, runner-up Brady Woods of Tusky Valley (16:34.60) and Michael Hardesty of River View (16:41.36).
Just on the outside looking in was West Holmes’ Josh Weigand, whose 18th place finish left him within two spots of capturing a regional berth. Weigand ran well, finishing in 17:41.41, but was 6.4 seconds off of the 16th place time of Claymont’s Colvin Hershberger.
Other West Holmes runners included Mark Raber, who ran 37th in 18:39.38, Matt Chanay, who placed 43rd in 19:11.52, one spot ahead of Johnathan Clark, who was 44th in 19:22.34. Zedrick Clark finished strong, placing 53rd in 20:10.11, while Danny Drummond placed 60th in 22:57.99.