For many of the teams running at yesterday's Division I district cross country meet at Pearson Park, the goal was simply to advance.
And most of the favorites did just that, punching their tickets for Saturday's regional at Tiffin's Hedges-Boyer Park.
In the first girls race of the morning, Central Catholic's Emma Kertesz broke away from the pack in the second mile and cruised to the title in a time of 19:30.4, seven seconds in front of Findlay's Brier Sterling.
"I just went out with the lead pack," Kertesz said. "At the second mile I was feeling good, so I just took off.
"I thought the Findlay girls would go with me then, because my plan [coming in] was to run with them. I was surprised they didn't go."
Notre Dame dominated the field to earn its fourth crown in five years. The Eagles, led by senior Monica Guisfredi, took spots five through nine to score 35 points, with Northview (52) second and Central (72) third.
"It was really nice to know we had won and not have to hover around the results table," Notre Dame coach Becky Mincheff said. "Our top five stuck together, and our six and seven [runners] weren't far behind.
"Yes, we were confident coming in, because if you compare stats we were in a good spot. But anything can happen on any given day."
In the second girls race a Titus won the individual title for the fifth straight year. Bowling Green's Shannon Titus ran away from the field by the second mile and won with a time of 18:55.6 - 25 seconds ahead of Whitmer's Logan Hamel.
Shannon's older sister, Christy, won four consecutive district crowns.
"Last week I ran by myself, and I thought it was easier to set my own pace," Shannon Titus said. "I knew [Hamel] would be right with me, so I went out hard.
"I know I don't have much of a kick, so I knew I had to have a lead before the end of the race."
Southview dominated the team race, placing its first four runners among the top eight to finish with 36. Fellow Northern Lakes League schools BG and Perrysburg took second and third with 71 and 85 points, respectively.
"I was really happy with the way we went out," Southview coach Mike Burke said. "They went out together, which is what we wanted them to do. Really they worked together as a team throughout the race, so I couldn't be more happy about their performance."
The first boys race was dominated by St. John's Jesuit, which won its fourth consecutive district crown. The Titans stayed in a pack through much of the race and had five of the top six finishers. They were led by senior Joe Miller and his 16:29.5 clocking.
"One [reason we ran together] is to continue working on running as a team," St. John's coach Todd Black said. "Two is to run smooth and easy as much as possible to gear up for next week, and hopefully the following week.
"It takes a lot of mental energy [to run]. If we limit the energy we put into this race and put more into next week, when we need it, [that is the purpose]."
Still the Titans nearly scored a perfect 15 points. Southview's Kyle Fitzpatrick spoiled St. John's effort by running down fifth runner Greg Turissini at the finish.
"I didn't think about [a perfect score] until the race," Black said. "Then when the race started we thought about it.
"We never talked about a perfect score. When we were out there, we thought, 'Maybe we can make it happen.' But we're not going to lose any sleep about [not getting] it."
The second boys race was the tightest of the day, both for the teams and individuals. Northview won the team race by placing all five scoring runners in the top 10 to nip Findlay 33-41.
Wildcats coach Ross Deye said that his team's goal went beyond advancing to the regional.
"At this time of year I think you have to work on running your best and focusing on each race," Deye said. "There's only a couple of races left, so all you do is run your best race.
"I don't buy that [all you want to do is advance]. I think you need to get your team's best race and finish as high as you can."
Colin Pettiford of St. Francis outkicked Nick Esbin of Northview to win the individual title with a time of 16:02.3.
"I knew the kids from Northview and Findlay would go out pretty fast for the first mile, so I figured I would keep them in my sights," Pettiford said.
"This was a huge confidence boost. Coming out here, and knowing there was great competition, will help me get ready for next week."
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FREMONT - Ian Zimmerman and Bailey Ulinski teamed up to give Eastwood the boys and girls individual titles in the Division II race at Terra Community College.
Zimmerman, a senior, won the race with a 17:13.97 clocking, just three seconds ahead of second-place Shawn Bryant of Rossford, while the freshman Ulinski posted a time of
19:54.19, bettering the rest of the field by more than 40 seconds.
Central Catholic used its depth to win the boys team title. Senior Charlie Corbett finished fifth overall as the Irish had six runners place in the top 14 in scoring 46 points, 31 fewer than second-place Eastwood.
Oak Harbor won the girls race at Terra thanks to three runners among the top nine. The Rockets had 77 points to slip past Eastwood (82), Maumee (87) and Clyde (99).
A pair of state-ranked teams won the two boys Division III races run at Terra as 18th-ranked Gibsonburg nipped Sandusky St. Mary 51-52 to win the District 1 race and Toledo Christian, ranked fourth, placed all five runners in the top 15 to score 48 points, beating Hopewell-Loudon by 17.
Tiffin Calvert's Zach Szablewski edged William Wegert of Woodmore for the District 1 individual title, while Seth Butler of Liberty-Benton narrowly beat Nate Frisch of Hopewell-Loudon to claim the District 2 race.
The girls Division III individual races also were close as Liberty-Benton teammates Anna Farmer and Brynn Chaskel
dueled to the finish of the District 2 race, with Farmer winning by a second in 20:06.81. In the District 1 race, Gibsonburg's Ashley Fisher claimed the title with a five-second victory over Sarah Orndorff of Huron.
Lakota, ranked eighth in the state, won the District 1 team title with 58 points, with fellow Suburban Lakes League member Woodmore second at 85. Old Fort scored a mild upset in the District 2 race as the Stockaders, ranked 10th in the state, knocked off ninth-ranked Liberty-Benton 44-48.
OTTAWA - Defiance swept the boys and girls team titles in the Division II race run at
Ottawa Park yesterday.
The Bulldog boys, ranked 16th in the state, used a two-three finish by Zac Wiles and Trevin Flickinger to score 44 points, 29 fewer than second-place Bryan. The Defiance girls, ranked third in the state, had all five runners place in the top 13 to finish with 34 points, whipping Ottawa-Glandorf by 59.
Lauren Fett led the Bulldog girls by winning the individual title with a time of 18:46.5, while Chase Violet of Lima Shawnee won the boys race with a 15:57.1 clocking.
A pair of Fulton County schools won team titles in Division III as Delta won the boys District 1 race and Fayette took top honors in the girls District 2 event.
Delta, ranked fifth in Division III, was led by Nick Thomas, who won his race in a time of 16:00.6, and teammate J.D. Wilcox, who placed second with a 16:49.1 clocking.
The pair helped the Panthers score 50 points, with Fayette (67) second and Stryker (78) third.
Hilltop won the boys District 2 race with 70 points to run past Fairview (90) and Pettisville (94). Jim Heider of Lima Central Catholic won the individual race with a time of 16:25.6.
On the girls side Fayette's Erica Goeltzenluechter won the District 2 race with a time of 20:29.9 to lead the Eagles to 37 points, 20 fewer than Buckeye Border Conference rival North Central in second.
Ottoville's Shayla Siefker and Molly Maag finished 1-2 to lead the Big Green to the District 1 girls team title with 34 points, with Ayersville second at 64. Siefker's winning time was