THE BLADE/JETTA FRASER Enlarge | Buy This Photo
Notre Dame's Lexi Aughenbaugh and Francesca Veluscek turned the Division I District II girls cross country meet into a one-on-one event.
The Eagles teammates jumped ahead of the pack early and made it clear the individual winner would come down to one of them.
Aughenbaugh eventually pulled away from Veluscek and covered the course at Pearson Park in a winning time of 19 minutes, 14.80 seconds. Veluscek crossed the finish line in 19:36.80 to finish second to help Notre Dame win a second straight district championship.
Notre Dame finished with 35 points, followed by Anthony Wayne with 71 points. Ashland and St. Ursula Academy tied for third with 86 points to qualify for regionals. Bowling Green was fifth (90).
"We won the districts and that's what we came here to do," said Notre Dame coach Becky Mincheff, who has led the Eagles to eight district championships in 10 years.
In the District II boys competition, Findlay's Shadd Risser led the Trojans to their first district championship in a decade by claiming top individual honors. Risser produced a strong kick down the stretch to finish in 16:29.90.
RELATED STORY: Fink, Work lead the field
OBJECTFindlay narrowly beat Northview for top honors. The Trojans had 63 points while the Wildcats scored 64.
St. John's Jesuit placed third with 108 points and Bowling Green was fourth with 109.
The top four teams qualify for the Tiffin regional, as well as the top 16 individuals.
"We knew coming in it was going to be tight with Northview and St. John's," Findlay coach Mark Gleason said. "The guys stepped up and really ran well today, especially Shadd Risser winning the district race."
Risser held off St. John's runner Jacob Mills (2nd, 16:36.80) and Northview's Kyle Brooks (3rd, 16:37.30).
"My time wasn't perfect, but I got first and I'm happy," Risser said.
Mills, who had been sick for most of the week, kept on Risser's heels by keeping a simple approach.
"My coach said just put it all out there and I said I would because that's all I really had," Mills said.
Findlay's Matt Waaland (11th, 16;51.40), Jimmy Roche (12th, 16:53.90), Zac Brown (18th, 17:26.10), and Brennan Bookmyer (21st, 17;46.60) helped claim the title.
Matt Disher (7th, 16:43.50), Colin McCloskey (8th, 16:44.90), Jarred Noe (19th, 17:32.80), and Chris McKown (27th, 17:57.20) also delivered for Northview.
St. John's Drew Savage (5th, 16:40.30), Matt Schaefer (28th, 18:001.10), Andrew Kurtz (31st, 18:02.90), and Ryan Savage (42nd, 18:25.0) pulled together to help the Titans earn a spot in the regionals.
BG reached regionals after a solid effort from Marshall Kobylski (6th, 16:40.60), Brian Seymour (14th, 17:01.10), Alex McCurdy (22nd, 17:47.80), Travis Jex (32nd, 18:05.80) and Shawn Seymour (35th, 18:14.70).
Fremont Ross' Louis Guardiola (9th, 16:48.10) and Bowsher's D'Angel Wilkes-Sharpley (10th, 16:49.30) completed the top 10 individuals.
In the girls race, Aughenbaugh was looking to improve upon a second-place finish last year.
"It was definitely something I wanted to do," she said of winning the district title. "It was really good to finally fulfill it because it's my senior year and I definitely wanted to have a good race here since I hadn't won here before."
With Veluscek taking second and strong performances from Lindsey Myers (4th, 19:52.20), Sarah Mallow (10th, 20:06.70), and Torey Loeb (18th, 21:01.60), Aughenbaugh had plenty of support.
AW's Britney Darah (3rd, 19:50.90), Jessica Sucheck (9th, 20:06.40), Jessica Glanz (12th, 20:14.50), Kelsey Ortiz (21st, 21:11.60), and Victoria Hassen (26th, 21:31.20) made a strong push to claim district runners-up.
St. Ursula's Danielle Szczesniak (5th, 19:55.60) and Taryn Pavin (6th, 19:58.20) paced the Arrows to a fourth-place effort. Elizabeth Wilkie (23rd, 21:15.40), Paige Trojanowski (25th, 21:19.40), and Abby Schweitzer (27th, 21:32.40) performed well enough to claim fourth and qualify for the regional competition.
Bowling Green's Sasha Lanning placed eighth (20:03.90).
-- Donald Emmons