TIFFIN — Liberty Center made a clean sweep of the Division III regional cross country titles on Saturday at Hedges Boyer Park.
The Tigers’ defending state champion girls team claimed a regional for the first time in three seasons before the boys came through and won the regional for the first time in school history.
Frankly, it was an all-around unforgettable day for the Tigers.
"It's the first boys regional championship in our school's history, so it's extra special today," said Tim Atkinson, who serves as coach for both teams.
The LC girls won by posting 47 points, edging a strong Coldwater team that ran second with 52. Minster finished third with 60, followed by St. Henry with 146 to clinch a team berth to the state championships along with the top 16 individual runners.
Liberty Center's Brittany Atkinson led the way for the Tigers, who placed four runners in the top 10. She crossed the finish line third with a time of 18:16.94, followed by teammate Paige Chamberlain in fourth at 19:19.35. Olivia Kundo ran sixth (19:24.76) and Jenna Vollmar was 10th (19:40.15). LC's fifth runner, Rachael Pinson, came in at 33rd (20:47.10).
Winning the regional championship is what the Tigers had hoped for.
"Coming into a regional and you score 47 points and you barely win the regional, that tells you the caliber of teams that are in this regional," Tim Atkinson said. "Coldwater and Minster have tremendous programs.
"We have to get our fifth runner running closer to our fourth runner. Rachael has been battling iron deficiency all season. She has very few races in her and she's getting stronger every week."
Furthermore, he liked how they approached running the race.
"The critical thing for us today was the girls were having fun out there," he said. "When they have fun racing they're hard to beat."
Winning a regional was definitely a goal for Atkinson, who entered the meet looking to celebrate the title for the first time since she's been running at LC.
"It really sets the tone for next week," she said. "It makes all the work you put in the summer really worth it."
Holgate's Emma Willett (19:44.81) and Gabbi Willett (19:56.52) earned spots in the state competition after finishing 11th and 14th, respectively. Pettisville's Alexa Leppelmeier placed 15th (19:59.35) to keep her season alive.
The Tigers’ boys team topped the D-II competition with 78 points, followed by Columbus Grove with 106, Lincolnview 146, and St. Henry 163.
Cameron Weaks led LC by finishing sixth with a time of 16:32.31. Colin Burns was 15th (16:47.28), Kyle Nash 24th (17:07.91), Matt Baker 29th (17:17.45), and Vince Pinson 36th (17:22.05).
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