BRYAN – Liberty Center took home Northwest Ohio Athletic League boys and girls cross country titles while Wauseon finished runner-up in both on Saturday in Bryan.
In the boys race, the Tigers and Indians tied with 39 points each. However, the Tigers earned the title when their sixth runner finished ahead of Wauseon’s fifth and sixth runners.
Liberty Center’s sixth runner, Derek Dulle, came in at 17th, with a time of 17:41.56. The Indians’ fifth was Carter Nofziger, who finished 20th (17:51.6), and Zachary Robinson, who placed 22nd (18:10.23).
“We knew it was gonna be really tight. And we knew their five and six (runners) were probably stronger than our five, six, and seven. We were hoping that we could do enough to make sure it didn’t come down to that. But we are ecstatic about a second place finish. I mean, we had three runners in the top five going first, third, and fifth. Then our fourth runner ran really well as well. I think he was 11th, so that’s second team (all-league). Our fifth runner was all-league as well,” said Wauseon coach Joe Allen of the boys race.
The Bryan boys were third, with 75 points; Archbold fourth, at 105; Patrick Henry, 125; Evergreen, 138; and Swanton, 140.
Wauseon had three in the top five, led by Braden Vernot, who won the race with a time of 16:02.18.
“I thought the Bryan kid (Joshuah Taylor) and him worked together really well,” said Allen of Vernot’s race. “In terms of they just got out, they worked, they ran side-by-side pretty much the whole race, until the end. I thought that (Vernot) did a nice job in terms of coming up with a strategy that he was gonna try to use in the race. And sticking to the plan where he could.”
After Bryan’s Taylor, Wauseon’s Hunter Wasnich took third, with a time of 16:28.74. Jack Callan finished fifth (16:45.05) for the Indians, while Aidan Pena was 11th (17:19.8).
At the forefront for Archbold was Devin Witte, who finished 14th (17:34.67). Weston Ruffer placed 21st (18:03.93), Brady Johns, 23rd (18:10.83), Aden McCarty, 25th, (18:24.7) and Ivan Cobb, 27th (18:30.02).
Evergreen was led by an eighth place finish (16:58.36) from Augie Tipping, while Nickolas Sherick of Delta took 13th (17:29.52). Abel Carman finished 34th (18:42.77) for Swanton.
Liberty Center took the girls race in convincing fashion, scoring 29 points. The second place team was Wauseon, with 63 points; Archbold, third with 64; Patrick Henry, 120; Bryan ,124; and Evergreen, 132.
Hope Oelkrug of Liberty Center took first overall, with a time of 18:02.31. Kylie Sauder of Archbold finished second (18:18.94), then Liberty Center’s Sydney Miller took third (18:34.66).
Wauseon was led by Grace Rhoades, who finished fourth (19:13.43). Serena Mathews finished 11th (20:19.82) for the Indians, Natasha Miller 12th (20:20.59), Alona Mahnke 16th (20:49.08), and Bailey McGuire 20th (21:13.9).
“We had put that down as one of our goals,” said Allen of his girls getting second as a team. “The Liberty girls are incredible. They probably are one of the top two, maybe three in the state in D-III. Just the way they run as a pack. Our goal was to stay close to Archbold with the hopes of beating them. We were incredibly excited about that.”
After Sauder for the Blue Streaks, they had Sophie Rupp taking fifth (19:25.29). Karley Ramirez finished 17th (20:52.34), Brittney Ramirez 18th (20:57.6), and Regan Ramirez 22nd (21:30.16).
Also in the area, Kennedy Keller of Evergreen was 15th (20:40.17), Jenna Hallett of Delta 26th (21:46.55), and Ellie Hartford of Swanton 27th (21:55.34).
NWOAL Cross Country
Liberty Center 39, Wauseon 39, Bryan 75, Archbold 105, Patrick Henry 125, Evergreen 138, Swanton 190.
Liberty Center 29, Wauseon 63, Archbold 64, Patrick Henry 120, Bryan 124, Evergreen 132.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010