TIFFIN – Fulton County was well represented at the regional cross country meet held at Tiffin’s Hedges Boyer Park Saturday, as three teams and many other individuals competed. The best finish in the area came from the Pettisville girls team who took second to Minster in Division III.
“We thought our girls ran a great team race even though many of the girls didn’t think so. They hung in there with a great many very tough teams,” said Pettisville coach Tom Wagner. “To be regional runner-up to Minster, who has been rated No. 1 in the state all year is quite an accomplishment. Many of the teams we bested, on this day, are state ranked. The girls were there for each other. Each girl giving “perfect effort” and drawing from that team strength to run the best race possible.”
Minster was first with 41 points, Pettisville second at 131, Holgate third with 177, Columbus Grove 195, St. Henry 197, Liberty-Benton 226 and Liberty Center 245. Those were the seven teams to qualify for the state meet coming up this Saturday.
Elizabeth Sauder and Nichole Foor led the way for the Blackbirds as Sauder took 13th in a time of 19:42.04, while Foor was 14th with a time of 19:42.19. Alexa Leppelmeier (19:51.39) finished 20th for the Birds and their next highest finisher was Kate Stuber (21:19.74) who came in at 59th.
Wagner is excited to see what his team can do at the state competition this week.
“We look forward to competing at the state meet this next Saturday,” he said. “There are many fantastic teams that will be there such as St. Thomas and Gilmore Academy to mention a couple. We intend to give a perfect effort and take advantage of this opportunity. We also intend on enjoying it as well.”
Also qualifying in the Division III girls race was Gwynn Riley of Archbold (20:06.10) who placed 25th.
The Evergreen girls finished in 22nd place as a team.
In the Division III boys meet, Delta’s Maverick Wright advanced to state after placing 15th with a time of 17:10.10.
Vernot qualifies for Indians
Wauseon had its boys team competing in the Division II boys race, however, Kyle Vernot is their only runner who advanced to state. The Indians placed eighth as a team with a score of 170. Lexington was the regional champion with a score of 51, Defiance was regional runner-up with 68, Napoleon third with 84 and Norwalk fourth with 132..
“They had a really a great season and we felt we had a shot at the fourth place spot,” said Wauseon coach Joe Allen. “Going into the meet we knew that fourth through ninth place could be very close and it was. We knew that we needed to have a good day to get that fourth place spot and we give Norwalk a lot of credit because their athletes ran well.”
Vernot finished 10th overall, running the race in 16:45.96.
“We are super excited for Kyle to make it to state. He is excited,” said Allen. “He has worked very hard this season and is really starting to develop into a very good runner. This is his first time running at the state cross country meet and it is always neat to see how much an athlete learns from running there. Over this week we will try to prep him for this meet.”
Next for the Indians was Christian Laging-Suarez who came in 32nd place with a time of 17:48.02. Also, Joshua Lowry (17:58.56) took 39th, Seth Hutchison (18:08.45) 46th, and Aaron Beck and Michael Cheezan finished 59th and 60th respectively.
Brett Bettinger of Swanton finished right before Beck and Cheezan at 58th, running it in 18:28.97.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010