Ashland Arrows

OCC boys’ cross country crown goes to Ashland, DeFelice crosses in 5th

On Saturday Oct. 17 the boys’ Ohio Cardinal Conference meet was a three-team race. Ashland, Wooster and Lexington all competed for the title with the Arrows coming out with the win.

Ashland (43 points) slipped past the Generals (47) and Minutemen (47) in the team standings. Wooster gets awarded second based on the team’s 6th place runner. Lexington had the first and third place finishers, Nick Stricklen and Ryan Johnston, but Ashland went a little deeper placing five runners in the top 14.

West Holmes’ Vinny DeFelice motored his way to fifth place, coming across the finish line with a time of 17:19.

“He ran awesome today,” said West Holmes cross country coach Kevin Beachy about DeFelice. “Those group of Wooster guys beat him last week at the Wayne-Holmes meet. That same pack was on his tail today and he crushed them this week. It was home-course advantage a little bit, but at the same time he is getting faster. That was one of his best races of the year.”

DeFelice was also pumped after the race that he didn’t let the same Wooster kids that beat him and repeat last week’s finish.

“That felt really good,” said DeFelice. “I knew once I got in the woods, and past the first big hill, I could just lay the hammer down. From that point on (after passing three Wooster runners) I wasn’t looking back, wasn’t letting anyone past me and just kept on trucking.”

Notice the word “hill” that DeFelice uses. Among the gallery watching and following the race the speculation was all about how hilly and hard the course was setup. DeFelice said that while other runners struggled with the steep inclines, he thrived.

“I knew I had to work the hills to my advantage here on my home course and run them how I know how to run them,” said DeFelice.

“It’s not an advantage for my time, but in my placing against the other teams. I run these hills every day at practice. It boosted my confidence once I got into the race because I knew I could run the hills well.”

It was about a mile and a half into the race that DeFelice cruised around the Wooster runners and made his move into 5th, where he’d end up finishing. He went from 8th to 5th in that burst.

Helping the Knights finish fourth in the overall team standings with 128 points were Teddy Oliver, Josh Weigand and Matt Chanay. This posse all finished together. Oliver came in at 26th with a time of 19:26, Weigand crossed in 27th with a time of 19:49 and Chanay finished in 28th with a time of 19:56.

Mark Raber was West Holmes’ fifth runner to finish, coming in at 42nd. Jonathan Kandel and Zedrick Clark rounded out the Knights’ runners placing in 44th and 45th.

Behind West Holmes in the team standings were Madison (164) in 5th, Orrville (174) was 6th, Mansfield Senior (177) came in 7th and Clear Fork (194) placed eighth as a team.

The Knights will compete in the district tournament in Cambridge next Saturday, Oct. 24. That will will fire off at 11 a.m.

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