District cross country: Defiance boys and girls teams headed to regionals

Defiance teams moving on

By KEVIN EIS cnsports@crescent-news.com Published:

OTTAWA -- After missing the regional cut one year ago, the Defiance boys and girls cross country teams each made the grade this time around, as the DHS boys earned runner-up status while the girls team placed third on Sunday at Ottawa's Memorial Park during the Division II District Cross Country meet.

Due to a shake-up in the district assignments, this year's D-II event at Ottawa saw the boys packs broken into two districts and the girls squads divided into three separate races. While the top four boys and girls teams from District 1 and District 2 battled for a berth at Saturday's Tiffin Regional, the girls District 3 event advanced teams and individuals to regional competition at Troy. In all five district races, any runner placing in the top 16 and not on a qualifying team earned a regional berth as an individual.

Originally scheduled for Saturday, the Ottawa District was postponed and the course was restructured for Sunday's gathering of northwest Ohio harriers.

Abel Flores finished third and Alex Barrientos took fourth to lead the Defiance boys back to regionals with a team score of 65, which was just 11 points behind District 1 champion Van Wert. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs received stellar performances from Jacob Rosebrock (15th), Ben Rath (17th) and Nate Wichman (26th) to keep the points low and punch the regional ticket.

"We've been hurt all year but we're starting to come around," said DHS coach Obie Mouser. "Van Wert is the bumber four or five team in the state and we almost got them this time and we almost got them in the league (the week prior). It really rests on not getting our fifth guy into our pack. We have four guys running pretty solid but our fifth is just too far back.

"I thought when the season started we'd really have a shot at the state title but with Abel getting hurt and a couple others getting hurt and a couple others not coming through ... We have some young guys coming on that are trying to pull the load at number five but they're pretty young. I think we can still make a good run at it."

But it won't be easy at regionals with the top two teams in the state, Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary and Woodbridge, coming to the Tiffin Regional this year,

"That puts Van Wert and us on the bubble," said Mouser, noting the top four teams get out of regionals.

While the Napoleon boys missed the regional cut as a team by eight points behind Lima Shawnee, senior Steven Weaver defended his district individual title with a 5k time of 16:21.20, defeating individual runner-up Jared Fleming of Van Wert by just under nine seconds. Napoleon junior Clay Hunter also qualified for a trip to Tiffin as an individual following a 12th-place finish, as did Bryan sophomore Evan Morr via an 8th-place effort.

"The boys seemed to lose focus and not finish the race," commented Napoleon CC mentor Randy Burke. "Steven ran a nice, even and controlled race to a victory. We have two moving on, and we will refocus and get ready for the regional at Tiffin."

Van Wert completed its sweep of District 1 as the girls pack also ran to a district title behind sophomore individual champion Andi Foster.

Both the Wauseon boys and girls stepped up in District 2, as the boys finished second in the team standings while the girls claimed a District 2 crown behind an individual championship run by freshman Taylor Vernot.

Wauseon was paced by the freshman duo of Wade Hodges (8th) and Quintin Reiser (11th), while Vernot's time of 19:36 bested runner-up Ericka Hosang of Bellevue by one minute and three seconds. The Wauseon girls were also boosted by strong finishes from Tessa Herring (4th), Aneesa Volkman (5th), Aleea Volkman (19th) and Jessica Bachman (21st).

Area individual qualifiers from District 2 were boys champion Ric Roe of Swanton, and the Delta trio of K.J. Abair (2nd), Alec Nash (13th) and Nick Jones (16th).

Battling for a trip to Saturday's Troy Regional, Napoleon edged Celina by just nine points to win the girls District 3 championship, while DHS missed the runner-up position by a mere six points.

Celina senior Hannah Fleck ran away from the competition with a time of 19:35.40, followed by freshman Maddie Grooms of Napoleon at 20:08.30. Meanwhile, the Defiance tandem of senior Kristen Fett and freshman sister Olivia Fett placed third and fourth, respectively.

"I'm happy to have qualified (as a team)," said Defiance coach Scott Saner. "Last year broke a streak of 14 or 15 years moving to regionals so that was our number one goal. But we were not as shape as the week before (WBL). We beat Celina at the league but they beat us at districts.

"I'm a little disappointed with some individual performances. Kristen and Olivia Fett both had really good races and we expect them to do that again next week. But if we want a chance to move on, either individually or as a team, everybody has to come ready to be sharp - from one to seven - if we want a chance."

As scores are recorded from each team's top-five finishers, Napoleon packed five runners behind Grooms into the top 13 spots as senior Amber Willeman crossed the line in seventh before Erica Monnin, Meredith Hoops, Alexa Sonnenberg and Hannah Westhoven packed together to claim the 10th through 13th positions.

"The girls did what they had to do to move on to Troy," praised Burke of his girls team. "The girls ran well in a nice pack. We need to keep our focus and challenge each other to make our way to the next level, the state meet."

Defiance seniors Candice Lawson and Brittney Holmes finished 15th and 16th, while freshmen Rachel Jones and Ellie Roehrig occupied the 19th and 22nd spots to help the DHS girls get back on the regional trail as a team.

"We thought we'd qualify no matter which district we went to but I thought Troy have us our best chance to sneak out to state," Saner said. "But we have to run a lot better for that to happen."

At Ottawa

Boys Meet

District 1

Van Wert 54, Defiance 65, Sandusky Perkins 126, Lima Shawnee 147, Napoleon 155, Bryan 167, Celina 199, Oak Harbor 210, St. Marys 213, Otsego 263, Milan Edison 308, Port Clinton 328, Ontario 329, Upper Sandusky 333, Huron 364, Kenton 476, Lima Bath 494

Top 10 Individuals

Steven Weaver (N), 16:21.20; Jared Fleming (VW); Abel Flores (D); Alex Barrientos (D); Michael Decker (SP); Connor Holiday (VW); Kase Schalois (VW); Evan Morr (B); Nick Durkee (SM); Cole Mertz (C).

Other Defiance Finishers

15. Jacob Rosebrock; 17. Ben Rath; 26. Nate Wichman; 32. Alex Schrag; 37. Jordan Harpest.

District 2

Lexington 44, Wauseon 101, Galion 103, Millbury Lake 134, Ottawa-Glandorf 163, Bellevue 181, Delta 190, Willard 192, Shelby 218, Swanton 264, Eastwood 269, Genoa 305, Paulding 361, Fostoria 369, Clyde 405, Elida 417

Top 10 Individuals

Ric Roe (Swanton), 16:56.90; K.J. Abair (D); Dan Asbury (L); Nick Molnar (L); Chris McElligott (Galion); Dominic Erlsten (Galion); Jacob Shramko (L); Wade Hodges (Wauseon); Chris Hillis (Willard); Josh Fourhman (L).

Other Area Qualifiers

13. Alec Nash (D); 16. Nick Jones (D).

Girls Meet

District 1

Van Wert 52, Lexington 53, Pemberville Eastwood 54, Tiffin Columbian 127, Ottawa-Glandorf 142, Willard 153, St. Marys 191, Bryan 200, Huron 233, Kenton 297, Lima Bath 321, Evergreen 331

Top 10 Individuals

Andi Foster (VW), 20:19.60; Ellen Isaac (L); Lillian Freundlich (L); Kali Fittro (TC); Maddie Jackson (PE); Meagan Kaminski (PE); Schelissa Williams (VW); Madi Renollet (PE); Jaci Eickenbary (VW); Susan Fain (L).

District 2

Wauseon 50, Shelby 66, Lima Shawnee 66, Bellevue 67, Port Clinton 128, Galion 161, Oak Harbor 182, Milan Edison 235, Bucyrus 249, Millbury Lake 291, Rossford 305, Elida 377

Top 10 Individuals

Taylor Vernot (W), 19:36; Ericka Hosang (Bellevue); Madison Scagnetti (Bellevue); Tessa Herring (W); Aneesa Volkman (W); Emily Wolery (LS); Erica Bettac (S); Adrienne Pohl (LS); Maddie Cohorn (LS); Molly Scott (LS).

District 3

Napoleon 39, Celina 48, Defiance 54, Otsego 108, Sandusky Perkins 145, Wapakoneta 147, Clyde 195, Mansfield Madison 226

Top 10 Individuals

Hannah Fleck (Celina), 19:35.40; Maddie Grooms (N); Kristen Fett (D); Olivia Fett (D); Kylee Bernthisel (O); Jenna Coon (Celina); Amber Willeman (N); Andrea Bell (Celina); Halee Stief (Upper Sandusky); Erica Monnin (N).

Other Defiance Finishers

15. Candice Lawson; 16. Brittney Holmes; 19. Rachel Jones; 22. Ellie Roehrig; 28. Katie Koester.

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