LIBERTY CENTER – In district cross country action which took place Saturday at Widewater Retreat Center in Liberty Center, various local teams competed and had runners advance onto the regional round.
Wauseon represented the county in Division II, and in the girls meet, their team placed fourth to advance. Also, the boys advanced senior Caleb Blanchong who took 13th with a time of 17:21.62.
“We are very happy to get Caleb out of the district to the regional meet and we are looking for him to do big things this week at the regional meet,” said Wauseon coach Joe Allen. “It was a really tough district with the addition of Maumee and Bowling Green and we are really proud of the way he competed.”
Christian Suarez (17:35.68) took 17th for the Indians, while Seth Hutchison (17:41.07) added a 19th place finish.
Leading the Wauseon girls was senior Seneca Wyse who finished 12th with a time of 21:26.22. Fellow senior Brianna Coblentz (21:35.37) was 15th, Hannah Richer (21:49.77) 22nd and senior Amanda Stutzman (22:18.15) 28th.
“I felt my top four girls ran really well at the district meet,” stated Allen. “I know my senior girls wanted to keep the tradition of having a girls teams qualify to the regional meet and they ran like that was their goal. I was very proud of all of them.”
Toledo Central Catholic won the girls meet, followed by Napoleon who was second and Bowling Green third.
There was also a Division III competition held as Fayette and Pettisville each had teams qualify for the regional.
In the boys race, Fayette placed four runners in the top 20 to advance with a third place finish as a team. Troy DeCant led the way for the Eagles, finishing 12th with a time of 17:22.07.
Clayton Pheils (17:25.17) was 14th for the Eagles, Austin Lopez (17:34.79) 17th and Casen Burkholder (17:40.06) 18th.
Archbold’s Logan Garrow (16:53.14) advanced individually with a third place finish. Also, the Blue Streaks got a 19th place finish out of Luke McQuade (17:41.48).
“Logan is a fighter and I am excited for him to go back there,” said Archbold coach Rachel Kinsman, referring to how Garrow advanced to regional a year ago with the boys as a team. “I think he learned a lot last year too.”
The Archbold girls advanced freshman Gwynn Riley (20:37.24) who placed 10th.
“She has just really progressed all season and we’ve really been focusing towards this,” added Kinsman on Riley’s performance. “For those freshmen coming in running two miles versus three miles it’s kind of an adjustment period. She has just been patient and we’ve been working. I am very excited for her.”
The Pettisville girls advanced by finishing second as a team with only the Liberty Center girls ahead of them.
“They are really starting to come together as a team and gel. (They) did an outstanding job as a team,” said Pettisville coach Tom Wagner after the meet.
Nichole Foor was district runner-up for the Blackbirds after running in a time of 19:25.59.
“Her and Alexa Leppelmeier push each other in practice and that is just absolutely huge,” said Wagner of Foor’s high placement. “Liz Sauder is coming back from an injury and she is just progressing better every week. Just so proud of her too. You can’t coach that kind of enthusiasm and competitiveness and they push each other in practice. That is so huge.”
Leppelmeier (19:50.51) was fifth and Sauder (20:02.30) seventh.
Wagner is optimistic about how well his girls can do at the regional meet.
“That is a whole other step and we are gonna have to take it up another notch,” he said. “I think there is a lot of teams that are kind of on the bubble for those last couple of spots. I’d like to think that we have as good a shot as anybody else and that’s what I’m aiming for.”
The regional tournament will be held Saturday in Tiffin.
Max Householder can be reached at 419-335-2010