Colonel Crawford’s Chad Johnson led the Eagles to victory in the boys Div. III meet on Saturday at the Galion Cross Country Festival. The sophomore captured his first individual title in the event as CCHS picked up the team trophy for the second consecutive year.
Johnson, who enjoyed a breakout season for Colonel Crawford as a freshman, posted his fastest time of the 2015 season on the course at Amann Reservoir Park. He finished in 15 minutes, 52 seconds, besting Jacob Long of Cardington-Lincoln by 4.5 seconds. Long’s runner-up time was 15:56.5. Mount Gilead’s Austin Hallabrin finished third with a time of 16:00.6.
Johnson set a quick pace and finished with an average mile time of 5:06.1. He said that he was a bit concerned about his pace at first, but was confident in his ability to maintain it.
“Four-fifty at the mile, or something like that, I didn’t expect that,” he said. “I tried to slow down a little, just to conserve my energy, but I was feeling good, so I just went for it. Today, I felt amazing. I felt like I was racing the two-mile. I went by the clock and it said 9:58, but the two-mile is a little further than the clock, so it was probably 10:04 or something like that. It was my fastest two-mile during the 5K this year.”
A broad smile broke across the lanky distance man’s face as he approached the finish line and saw his time on the clock.
“That’s my favorite time piece,” Johnson said, still smiling.
With the field of runners still in a fairly tight pack at the mile-mark, Johnson started to pull away at that point and maintained the lead for the rest of the race.
“My brother, Colton, was (at the mile-mark) watching today, and he told me to start surging out a little bit and get (the rest of the runners) a little confused about what I was doing,” Johnson said. “So I just surged out at the mile. It felt great.”
Five of the six Colonel Crawford runners entered in the race finished in the top 30. Brad Bauer placed seventh with a time of 16:38.2. Nick Studer (16th, 17:27.6), Brandon Long (17th, 17:29.7) and Wade Hopkins (23rd, 17:40.3) were the other Eagles in the top 30.
James Walker was Northmor’s top placer. He finished 25th with a time of 17:44. Knights teammates Spencer Adams (30th, 17:53.9) and A.J. White (35th, 18:02.9) were among the top 35 runners.
Carson Pirnstill from Bucyrus was the top runner for the Redmen, placing 27th with a time of 17:46.
Wynford’s Donnie Brooks was the top placer for the Royals, finishing in 57th place with a time of 18:51.7.
Kevin Winkler was Crestline’s top runner. He placed 87th with a time of 19:41.3.
The Eagles edged Liberty Center to win the team title. Colonel Crawford finished with 64 points while Liberty Center tallied 65. Fredericktown (82), Mount Gilead (111) and Cardington-Lincoln (186) rounded out the top five teams.
Places six through 10 in the team table were filled by, in order, Seneca East (221), Northmor (223), Collins Western Reserve (278), Sandusky St. Mary C.C. (281) and Bucyrus (291).
Results for area Div. III boys teams
Colonel Crawford (1st, 64) — Chad Johnson (1st, 15:52), Brad Bauer (7th, 16:38.2), Nick Studer (16th, 17:27.6), Brandon Long (17th, 17:29.7), Wade Hopkins (23rd, 17:40.3), Braxton James (103rd, 19:59.8)
Northmor (7th, 223) — James Walker (25th, 17:44), Spencer Adams (30th, 17:53.9), A.J. White (35th, 18:02.9), Chase Hoover (62nd, 18:55.7), Mostyn Evans (71st, 19:14.1.), Alec Moore (77th, 19:22.3), Aaron Berg (78th, 19:22.8), Collin Berg (119th, 20:42.5)
Bucyrus (10th, 291) — Carson Pirnstill (27th, 17:46), Devon Sigler (46th, 18:29.9), Dakota Hedrick (50th, 18:37.7), Noah Johnson (73rd, 19:18.3), Tyler Rittenhour (95th, 19:49), Mason Kent (120th, 20:44.9), Kaden Wilson (134th, 22:09.7)
Wynford (21st, 518) — Donnie Brooks (57th, 18:51.7), Seth Karcher (98th, 19:52.9), Ethan Hall (132nd, 21:24.3), Noah Smith (133rd, 21:46.4), Ryan Stevely (139th, 22:18.5)
Crestline (22nd, 618) — Kevin Winkler (87th, 19:41.3), Kaleb Carver (110th, 20:16.4), Noah Hunt (138th, 22:17.4), Brian Wonder (142nd, 24:33.8), Andrew Burton (144th, 24:55.3), Trenton Gray (147th, 25:28.7), Wesley Patrick (150th, 26:54.2)
Reach Carter at 419-468-1117, ext. 2048, or on Twitter @ACGalionSports.