Northview's Jacob Barnes leads the pack in the boys Northern Lakes League cross country meet. Barnes took first in 15:57 and the Wildcats took the top six spots and seven of the top nine. Southview's Lexi Lopez won the girls individual crown with a time of 18:42.
Jetta Fraser Enlarge
BOWLING GREEN - The Northview boys and girls cross country squads captured the team
titles at the Northern Lakes League meet Saturday.
But the two meets, run on a cold and windy day on the practice fields surrounding Perry Stadium, were noticeably different.
The Northview girls were running short-handed because of illness, according to coach Jon Monheim.
"Moe Dean was out most of the week [with the flu], but she was feeling better so she ran," Monheim said. "Then Meredith [Wagner] got the bug, and she hasn't been in school for three days."
Wagner, the defending league champ, did not run in the race, which obviously concerned Monheim.
"When the girls found out [Wagner wasn't running], they all decided they weren't going to let her down," he said. "They all stepped up. We had a lot of girls who were just incredible.
"Alison Work has been injured much of the season, but she's getting healthy. And today she ran the race of her life."
Southview's Lexi Lopez won the girls individual crown with a time of 18:42.
Northview saw all five of its scoring runners finish in the top 11 - no other school finished with more than two in that span - to score just 36 points and claim its second straight meet title by 33 points over second-place Maumee.
"I had a little relief at the first mile because the girls ran a smart first half-mile and went out relaxed," Monheim said. "They pushed after that, and at the mile I knew it was looking pretty good.
"The sick feeling I had in my stomach quickly changed."
Work, a sophomore, finished second for the Wildcats and sixth overall with a time of 19:39. Freshman Abby Masters led Northview by finishing second at 19:07.
Close behind Masters and Work for the Wildcats were junior Mackenzie Reeves in eighth
(19:42), senior Nicole Mangas in ninth (19:45) and freshman Janelle Noe in 11th (19:52).
But the race winner was another freshman, Southview's Lexi Lopez, who broke away from the pack in the second mile and covered the 5,000-meter course in 18:42.
"I was expecting Meredith Wagner to run here, so when she didn't [run] in knew I had a better chance [to win]," Lopez said. "I wanted to stay with Kaitlyn [Llewellyn] of Perrysburg, but then she dropped off.
"At the two-mile mark, I just tried to keep my pace. When I looked back, I saw the Northview girls behind me so I just kept running. At the end of the race, I felt that this was my race, so I just finished it up strong."
Also earning All-NLL honors on the girls side were Perrysburg's Andrea Alt, a junior who placed third with a time of 19:10;
sophomore Megan Freeman of Maumee in fourth (19:32); Anthony Wayne freshman Brittney Darah in fifth (19:35) and junior Kendra Kezur of Southview in seventh (19:41).
The top seven runners in each race were named to the league's first team, while the next seven received second-team honors.
The Northview boys had a much easier time claiming an eighth consecutive team title, taking the top six individual places and placing all seven runners in the top nine to score the minimum 15 points. Southview was second with 66.
Senior Jacob Barnes led the way for the Wildcats, winning his second individual crown at 15:57.
"The plan was for me to stick with the team for the first mile and help them pull along," Barnes said. "The plan obviously worked because we took the top six places.
"I told my team before the race, 'This is not about individuals - this is about running well as a team.' And that worked out really well."
Northview coach Ross Deye was pleased with Barnes' performance, but he also was happy to see the gap between his seven runners was just 40 seconds.
Juniors Kevin McKown (16:10) and Mike Wallace (16:14) were second and third, while seniors Sean O'Connell (16:23), Derek Pohlman (16:24) and Nick Homan (16:27) took the next three spots.
"It's nice that Jacob Barnes runs well as our No. 1 guy, but each week different guys slide into different places," Deye said. "I like that, because it means we're fighting for spots and we're pulling each other along.
"It's a nice problem to have."
The only runner to break the Wildcat boys' stranglehold on first team All-NLL awards was Maumee's Ryan Kraus, a junior who took seventh with a time of 16:32.
Another problem both Northview teams had was too much depth: The girls had the top eight runners in the girls open race, while the boys had the top six in the boys open race.
But speaking of problems, Deye was sympathetic to Monheim's plight in the varsity race.
"The flu thing is an unknown that you can't control," Deye said. "Right now we're just fighting to avoid those evils. But I was proud of our team."
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