PHIL LONG Enlarge
COLUMBUS Success or failure at the girls state cross country meet is in the eyes of the beholder.
So the matter of whether or not a team had a good day or bad day at Scioto Downs yesterday was up for interpretation.
A perfect example of that came in the Division I race. Northview, which was making its first-ever appearance at the state meet, was satisfied with a 10th-place finish.
Finishing 10th the first time we were here is certainly respectable, Wildcats coach Jon Monheim said. We were hoping to finish in the top half, but I was happy with our effort.
These girls have been on a serious roll. To say we re the 10th-best Division I team in the state is pretty impressive. And we didn t have a senior on the team, so the future looks great.
On the other side, Notre Dame, which last week won its first regional team title, finished 15th. Saying that the Eagles, who also have only one senior, were one of the top 15 teams in the state was of no consolation.
We were hoping for a much higher finish, Notre Dame coach Becky Mincheff admitted. The girls have run well this year, but all seven were a minute off their times from last week. That math does not add up to a good score.
Rocky River won the Division I race with 68 points, almost half the total of second-place North Canton Hoover. Senior Brookyne Ridder of Cincinnati Oak Hills was the individual champ with a time of 17:51.36.
The top area finisher was Findlay senior Brier Sterling, who placed 10th with a time of 18:40.31.
I definitely paced myself better than I usually do, Sterling said.
I usually take the first mile faster than I should, but I controlled myself and I had more of a kick at the end.
The 12th-place effort by Northview junior Meredith Wagner also earned her All-Ohio honors, not to mention redemption from missing last year s meet after advancing to the event as a freshman.
When we came out here to run the course [Friday] it felt good to know I would run the next day instead of not getting to run, Wagner said. I thought I would be 17th or 18th I didn t think I ran to get 12th place.
Being All-Ohio is really exciting. I was hoping to finish in the top 15, so I m happy with that [finish].
Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy won the Division II title with 51 points, with Kettering Alter second with 95. CVCA s Katie Gillespie, a senior, finished first with an 18:00.43 clocking.
The top local runner was Wauseon s Holly Baird, whose time of 19:08.79 was good for All-Ohio honors and 11th place.
That finish wasn t perfect, but it was good enough for the senior: It proved that last year s 26th-place effort was not as indicative of her talent as the third-place finish she had as a sophomore.
Last year was embarrassing, but I guess you have those times when you re sick and can t do your best, Baird said. This year I worked hard and improved.
I looked at last year [as motivation]. I knew I had to get my butt in gear. I just did my best.
Baird helped Wauseon finish ninth in the team race.
Our other girls ran tough and ran hard, Indians coach Rebecca Stuckey said. They do feel the pressure [of running at the state meet]. We had three girls who were freshmen and were down here for the first time.
They put a good effort out there. I m really excited for next year, because we ve given some experience to some young girls, and we have some incoming freshmen, and we ll have Lexie Baird [Holly s sister, who was injured this year] back.
The Division III title went to Minster with 65 points, four fewer than second-place Seneca East. Stephanie Morgan of Barnesville repeated as individual champ with a time of 17:57.13.
The Elmwood girls, who ran with lavender and pink colors sprayed in their hair, placed eighth.
Royals coach Chris Hailey was thrilled with the finish, considering the program had never placed higher than 12th previously.
They weren t [thinking of being here], but that s always my goal, Hailey said. So this is sweet.
I thought we got a solid effort across the board. We called this the icing on the cake because we were just happy to be here. To find out we could run in the top half of the state hopefully sets the tone for next season.
Woodmore s Lacy Nagy was the only local runner to earn All-Ohio honors in Division III by finishing 14th with a 19:24.86 clocking.
I got out the way I wanted to, and I was looking for some familiar people [to run with], the sophomore said. I tried to work my way into the top 15 at the mile and hold my place.