COLUMBUS - Northview's Meredith Wagner didn't surprise her coach in winning the Division I title at the cross country state championships yesterday at Scioto Downs. She, on the other hand, was blown away.
"I never thought this would happen," said Wagner, a senior. "I wanted to do as well as I did last year, but I did not imagine ever in my whole high school career that I would win."
Wagner ran a winning time of
18:03.9 minutes to finish nearly four seconds ahead of Magnificat's Madeline Chambers. After placing 12th at state as a junior, she finished her high school career on top.
"She ran a perfect race," Northview coach Jon Monheim said. "She killed the middle two miles."
Coming into the day, Monheim expected Wagner to at least place in the top three after she was the Pickerington regional champion. As the race unfolded, Wagner's strategy indeed worked to perfection. She stayed in the middle of the pack for the first three-quarters of a mile then made her move.
"After about a mile and a half, no one was pushing any harder, so I was like, you know what? It's senior year, last race, might as well do it all," Wagner said. "I knew a lot of the front-runners have good kicks and in the end, I'm not much of a kicker. I'm more of a middle-race runner."
Wagner, who led for the final mile, helped the Wildcats to a sixth-place finish with 188 points. She is undecided on a college for next year but "definitely" wants to continue running. Northview freshman Abby Masters ran in 28th place at 19:23.91.
Northview improved from a 10th-place showing last year in its first appearance at state. Magnificat won the Division I team title with a score of 28.
"We got here and did the best we could, gave it everything we had," Monheim said.
Notre Dame Academy, whose lineup included three freshmen, took seventh place with a score of 196. The Eagles were led by Lauren Duncan and Lexi Aughenbaugh, who finished within a second of each other in 24th and 25th place respectively. Notre Dame was glad to improve upon a 15th-place finish last season.
"I was hoping we'd be in the top eight. I thought that was realistic," Notre Dame coach Becky Mincheff said. "We did well. Last year we just wanted to get here. This year we wanted to perform once we got here."
Perrysburg junior Andrea Alt finished in 33rd place with a time of 19:29.74. Southview freshman Lexi Lopez finished 46th.
Marin Baird of Wauseon finished 31st in the Division II girls race with a time of 20:06.74. Rachel Huddle of Napoleon finished 45th, running a 20:16.50. St. Vincent-St. Mary won the team title with a score of 98, and Christiana Blair of Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy took the individual title, running 18:39.71.
Liberty Center felt the nerves of its first trip to state, finishing 10th in Division III with 227 points.
"We were nervous to start today, but I felt we did a nice job of coming back in the second half of the race," Liberty Center coach Tim Atkinson said. "I think we're going to be able to build upon this."
Minster won the Division III team championship, scoring 98 points. Versailles' Tammy Berger took the individual crown at 18:47.94. Sophomore Chelsea Knapp was the top performer for Liberty Center, finishing in 27th place with a time of
"I was really impressed with how we picked it up in our third mile," Atkinson said. "Several of them said, we just got out a little too slow. They'll learn from that."
Elmwood finished 15th in the team race with a score of 303. Its top runner was Bethany Flage at 21:00.21 for 68th place. Woodmore's Lacy Nagy took 28th place with a time of 20:220.127.116.11196 -83.00298