All year long Ariel Wentworth has been a rock at the top of the Garaway Lady Pirates cross country team. An All-Ohioan in track, Wentworth was looking to continue her impressive string of state meet appearances, and she accomplished that feat by turning in a solid time of 20:21 at the Pickerington regional meet Saturday, Oct. 29.
Wentworth’s effort was good enough to take eighth place, well within the top 20 runners who automatically qualify for the state meet.
While Wentworth carved 20 seconds off of her district time, the rest of the team was not able to run well enough to gain a foothold on one of the four qualifying team berths. Garaway ended up in eighth place, its 189 points well behind Fredericktown, the team that placed fourth with 137 points. Tuscarawas Valley ended up winning the regional title, led by the second place finish of Madisan Debos, who ran a 19:39.
Garaway junior Jocelyn Miller had high hopes of grabbing one of the top 20 spots after her second place finish overall at the Cambridge district, but she saw her chances slip away when she placed 23rd in 21:20, just three spots out of the top 20. The 20th runner to cross the finish line was Northmor’s Kristen Duryea, who ran a 20:56.
It proved to be a tough day too for the rest of the Lady Pirates, who had entertained thoughts of moving up in the standings despite having times that had them in the seven to eight range coming into the competition.
Freshman Mallory Millet continued to come on strong at the end of the year, placing third on Garaway’s team with a 57th place run in 22:34. Lindsey Goehring was 71st in 22:53, while Rylee Wilhelm rounded out the Lady Pirates whose scored made up their team score, placing 85th in 23:19. Claudia Miller (101st/24:15) and Summer Miller (102nd/24:18) rounded out the Garaway team’s effort.
“It’s going to be a challenge for us to get out,” Garaway head coach Chuck Zobel predicted prior to the race. “Just based on where our times stack up against everyone else, we are going to have to run extremely well to get ourselves in position to move on.”
However, Zobel had a pretty good feeling about Wentworth’s chances of advancing to state, and he also knew Miller would be pushing for a spot as well.
Garaway’s eighth place finish ends a string of six straight state appearances for a team that has become one of the top Div. III programs in the state of Ohio over the past decade under Zobel’s guidance.