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Published: Sunday, 10/28/2001

Eastwood wins boys cross country regional; St. Francis reaches state

BY STEVE JUNGA
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

TIFFIN - Eastwood made it a clean sweep in the Division II cross country regional meet yesterday, as the boys team scored 123 points to take first in the team standings and the Eagle girls posted 73 points to also finish on top under cold and windy conditions at Hedges-Boyer Park.

In Division I, coach Gary Bryan's St. Francis de Sales Knights qualified for state for the 11th time, including nine times in Bryan's 14 seasons. The Knights were third yesterday with 123 points.

Lakewood won the D-I title with 105 points, three lower than runner-up Defiance, which got a first-place individual finish from senior Patrick Mouser (15:42). Mouser edged Strongsville junior Chris Kollar by one second.

“This course is notoriously slow, so I'm extremely happy about that time,” Mouser said. “That was the first time I've been pushed all year, so I was pretty happy with the fact that I stepped it up at the end and was able to show some kick and win it.

“My strategy was just to take it from the (starting) gun, and whoever wants to win was going to have to take me down. Fortunately, nobody did that.”

Senior Knight Mike Frey, twice a City League champ, had to settle for ninth overall, eighth in the team race.

Frey, battling congestion from a cold all week, paced himself to ensure a solid individual and team finish, and posted a 16:23.

“I don't mean to whine, but I've been sick all week,” Frey said. “I thought if I took it out nice and smooth and pushed the second half of the race, I could get to where I wanted to. I had more left than I thought I would at the end, but I think I ran a smart race.”

St. Francis had not qualified for the state meet since 1997.

The top four teams in Divisions I and II, and the top five teams in Division III, advance to Saturday's state meet at Scioto Downs in Columbus, as well as any individuals who finished among the top 15 in each race from non-qualifying teams.

The fourth qualifying school in D-I was Strongsville (126 points).

Behind Eastwood was Napoleon, Ohio's second-ranked team, which had 138 points. Shelby was third in D-II at 150 and Elyria was fourth at 172.

Individually, Toledo Christian senior Dan Lane was the top Toledo finisher yesterday. He won the Division III title in 16:12, four seconds better than Stryker's Braden Martinez and 14 seconds ahead of third-place individual finisher Montana Garcia of Woodmore.

“I got to about 800 meters from the finish and just decided to kick everything I had and just go after it,” Lane said. “(Martinez) was right near me and really pushed me up to the last 400. Then he dropped back a little, so I thought, `I've got to gun it here.' Otherwise, he gets his confidence back and it could've been different.”

Fremont St. Joseph won the Division III meet with 101 points, Columbus Grove was second at 136, Stryker third at 158, Spencerville fourth at 171, and Woodmore fifth at 192. All advance to state.

Leading Eastwood was junior Ryan Schroeder (16:31), who placed third overall, and freshman Jimmy O'Brien (17:03), who placed 17th (14th in team standings). Their efforts were bolstered by junior teammates Doug Russell, Brandon Gilbert and D.J. Michel, who came in at 32, 36 and 38 in the team race.

“It wasn't the race I wanted, but I knew how it would play out,” Schroeder said. “I just hoped I could hang on for the last half-mile. I hung on as best as I could, but those guys (ahead) just had a little more left than me.”

Napoleon senior Nick Kruse, who helped the Wildcats to the Division II state team championship last year, won the D-II regional individual title in 16:12, two seconds better than Rocky River's Chris English.

“I felt good right from the start,” Kruse said, “so I just tried to sit (back) and then kick. I knew I'd have a better kick, and that's what happened. The last 800 (English) was right on me, so I had to do something then to get him a little tired for the kick. He did a good job of hanging on.”

Senior teammate Adam Rathge placed fifth overall in 16:40.

Other top area individuals in Division I included Tiffin Columbian's Jason Gurney (10th, 16:24), St. John's Jesuit's Chris Orosz (12th, 16:27), Springfield's Chris Gobbell (13th, 16:28), Maumee's David Perez (14th, 16:32) and Southview's Matt Taylor (15th, 16:33). All advance to state individually.

Frey got help from St. Francis teammates Zach Brinkman, who was 24th overall (19th in team race), and fellow scorers Jimmy Kyle, Pat Kolodgy and D.J. Mosiniak, who pulled off perhaps the days' most courageous effort.

Mosiniak lost a shoe about a half mile into the 3.1-mile (5000-meter) race and completed the course without it.

Fremont St. Joseph was paced in its D-III win by senior Brad Harman, who placed eighth overall, and junior Dan Chudzinski, who took 11th.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Fifth-ranked Bedford, led by the fifth-place finish of Matt Johnson in 17:01, won the Division I regional meet at Pioneer High School with 48 points to runner-up Saline's 63.

Bedford's Alex Fritz was sixth in 17:04, Adam Koepfer eighth in 17:05, Chad Anastasoff 11th in 17:09 and Steve Ball 18th in 17:33.



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