HAMLER – The Wauseon boys cross country team took first at the NWOAL meet on Saturday at Patrick Henry, while the girls finished runner-up to Liberty Center.
Also in the boys meet, Archbold placed third, Bryan fourth, Montpelier fifth, Patrick Henry sixth, Delta seventh and Evergreen eighth.
Bryan was third in the girls race, Archbold fourth, Montpelier fifth and Evergreen sixth.
For the Wauseon boys, they tied with Liberty Center with 45 points, but the tiebreaker went to the schools two sixth place runners and Kyle Knierim of Wauseon finished ahead of Liberty Center’s Tom McGilvery. Knierim finished 28th while McGilvery was 31st.
“I was impressed with the way they competed,” said Wauseon coach Joe Allen on his boys winning the league. “I thought they all ran very smart race strategies to put themselves into a place to win this title. To have it come down to the sixth runner tie breaker and to have Kyle Knierim step up big in that spot made me very excited for the senior. It is always great to see athletes step up big in big races. My kids did just that.”
Blanchong paced the Indians as he took runner-up to Liberty Center’s Colin Burns. He finished with a time of 16:07.
“I thought Caleb ran a very smart race. He knew his competitors and was prepped mentally,” said Allen. “Caleb was able to keep an excellent tradition going of Wauseon runners placing in the top two as a individual in the league meet.”
Seth Hutchison (16:28) took sixth for the Indians, Aaron Beck (16:29) seventh, Christian Suarez (16:41) ninth and Michael Cheezen (17:34) 21st.
Archbold was led by Logan Garrow (16:13) who took fifth. Luke McQuade (16:46) placed 11th, Brendan Johns (17:26) 18th, Matt Kinsman (17:30) 19th and Bryson Taylor (17:50) 23rd.
Delta’s Peyton Phillips finished 25th, while Jarod Kurfiss took 46th and teammates Gabe Freeman and Jacob Schneider came in behind him.
Swanton did not field a team but Josh Bradish placed 14th for the Bulldogs. Evergreen’s Phoenix VanOstrand placed 45th.
In the girls meet, Liberty Center recorded five top 10 finishers to hold off the Wauseon, 21-62.
Seneca Wyse (20:01) placed sixth for the Indians. Brianna Coblentz (20:15) was ninth, Hannah Richer (20:54) 14th, Amanda Stutzman (21:03) 15th and Vasti Becerill (21:41) 18th.
After the amount of talent we lost last year, we knew we would be doing some rebuilding this season,” said Allen of the girls’ squad. “I was really impressed by the way all of my girls competed. I believe all of my girls ran (their) best race.”
Archbold pegged a pair of top ten finishers as Dakota Stamm (19:40) was fourth and Gwynn Riley (19:52) fifth.
Also in the county, Swanton’s Rayven McMahan (21:04) took 16th, Delta’s Rachel Buchhop (21:35) 17th and Grace Bryson (21:53) of Evergreen 20th.
1. Wauseon 45, 2. Liberty Center 45, 3. Archbold 76, 4. Bryan 113, 5. Montpelier 115, 6. Patrick Henry 126, 7. Delta 168, 8. Evergreen 202.
1. Liberty Center 21, 2. Wauseon 62, 3. Bryan 91, 4. Archbold 91, 5. Montpelier 120, 6. Evergreen 148.
Max Householder can be reached at 419-335-2010