GALION — The City of Galion hosted thousands of middle school and high school runners on Saturday, September 14 in the annual Galion Cross Country Festival, once again presented by Avita Health System, at Amman’s Park Cross Country Course.
In the high school divisions on the day, a total of 1,902 runners crossed the finish line with 1,030 of them belonging to either Division II or Division III schools. Six races were held throughout those two divisions while the Division I schools competed across five races on the day.
The two biggest stories of the day came in the boys DII varsity race and in the girls DIII varsity race as Galion’s Braxton Tate broke his own school record en route to the individual championship with a finishing time of 15:26.8. His record, set just last week, had been 15:32.4. Over in the girls DIII race, the Northmor Lady Golden Knights finished as the team runner-ups, tallying 118 points to finish second behind the top team in the state in West Liberty-Salem (87 points).
High school action began in the afternoon on Saturday in race seven of 17: the Divison II and III high school boys open race.
Andrew Stoner, representing Team FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) won the open event with a time of 17:37.9. The team from Unioto claimed the team victory, tallying just 47 points to defeat Team FCA (71).
Participating in the open race were 255 total runners, including 16 runners from schools covered here at the Galion Inquirer.
Danny Kiser, the Crestline Bulldogs lone runner this season, had the highest finish of those 16 boys, claiming 28th in the field with a time of 19:01.6. No other runner finished within the top-100 in the 255-participant field.
Northmor claimed 20th as a team in the event with 607 points. Running for the Golden Knights and their placements on Saturday were: 144. Jack Sears; 156. Dylan Amens; 158. Nyk Cook; 167. Jayden McClain and 180. Kolten Hart.
Galion and Clear Fork sent four runners apiece into the “open” field at the festival.
Placements for the Tigers were: 108. Sean Clark; 123. Simon Shawk; 150. Grayson Willacker and 199. Hunter Parsley. Placements for the Colts were: 194. Jared Mack; 222. Caiden Moody; 235. Ben Blubaugh and 242. Zach Hotz.
Colonel Crawford saw Brock Nolen and Keyen Shipman finish 189th and 228th, respectively, in the boys open race.
Girls Division II/III Open Race
In the girls portion of the open race, no team scoring was kept. Emma Lichtenberger of Pleasant was the individual race winner, crossing the line in a championship time of 20:23.5.
The Lady Eagles from Colonel Crawford placed their entire team into the open race on the day and saw Alison Manko finish as the top runner on the team, claiming fourth place in the 202-runner field in 21:08.3. Manko was joined by five teammates in the top-50, with Ally Hocker (22:22.6) and Katie Hopkins (22:36.5) finishing in the top-20 at 14th and 18th, respectively.
Other Crawford girls in the open race were: 27. Maria Smith- 23:16.7; 33. Sheba Sulser- 23:36.4; 43. Theresa Dzugan- 24:08.4; 70. Olivia Chase; 84. Abby Hocker; 100. Mallory Plesac; 163. Alivia Payne and 171. Morgan Sherk.
Galion had two girls finish in the top-100 in the open race with Natalee Perkins earning 64th and Danielle Manring running to a 99th overall finish.
Also in the field Saturday for the Lady Tigers were: 159. Micah Brown; 162. Kaylee Ramsey; 183. Amara Ratcliff; 195. Hannah Daniels; 197. Celeste Nunez and 201. Camille Nunez.
Northmor’s girls had four runners in the top-100 in the open race and seven total in the field Saturday.
Placements for the Lady Knights were: 51. Felicia Galleher; 71. Maddison Yaussy; 75. Sydney Kelley; 97. Kaylene Brinkman; 120. Carolyn McGaulley; 148. Bailey Snyder and 172. Haley Dille.
Division II Varsity Races
The girls Division II varsity race was dominated by the Lexington Lady Minutemen and the Ontario Lady Warriors. The two teams finished first and second in the field of 125 runners with Lex tallying just 29 points and Ontario 54 points.
Halle Hamilton of Lexington paced the field on Saturday, winning the race with a title time of 18:20.3.
The Galion Lady Tigers would earn 10th place in the field with 265 points while the Clear Fork Lady Colts finished 17th with 448 points.
Zaynah Tate and Brooklyn Gates would both earn top-50 finishes for the hosting Lady Tigers. Tate led the team with a time of 21:21.7, good for 36th while Gates finished 38th in a race time of 21:30.5.
Other placements for Galion were: 56. Emily McDonald; 64. Airyona Nickels; 75. Ava Smith; 89. Jasmine Clingman and 103. Kaitlyn Bailey.
For Clear Fork, no girl would finish in the top-50 but the Lady Colts did see three of their five runners finish within the top-100.
Placements for Clear Fork in the varsity race were: 59. Isabellah Molina; 79. Jocie Dornbrier; 100. Claire Blubaugh; 111. Allison Ross and 118. Kailyn Moody.
Unioto won the DII boys race on Saturday, defeating the runner-ups from West Liberty-Salem; 67-88. Galion came in 19th with 472 points while Clear Fork finished 23rd with 720 points.
Outside of the champion in the race, the Tigers saw just one runner finish within the top-100 of the 163-runner field. Braeden Horn finished in 97th overall for Galion on the day with Kellen Kiser being the next closest finisher at 115th.
Also running for the hosting Tigers were: 133. Holden Gabriel; 136. Garrett Murphy; 147. Zach Slone and 154. Corban Justice.
All seven runners representing the Colts and their placements were: 143. Logan Myerholtz; 144. Liam Motter; 146. Nathen Wright; 150. David Bollinger; 152. Ben Wallis; 153. Alex Pore and 159. Cooper Conkling.
Division III Varsity Races
Louie Hallabrin of Cardington claimed the title in the girls race on the day, crossing the finish line in a time of 19:17.4.
For the runner-up Lady Golden Knights, five of the seven girls in action would stake their claim within the top-50 of the 126-runner strong field.
Lauren Johnson was the top-finisher on the day for Northmor, claiming 14th in a time of 21:02.6. Behind her in 18th place was Julianna DiTullio with a time of 21:17.2. Riley Johnson rounded out the top-25 for the gold and black with a time of 21:13.83 while Julia Kanagy finished her race in 21:54.3, good for 31st. Olivia Goodson snagged 35th in a time of 22:18.9 while Sabrina Kelley and Emilee Jordan finished in 57th and 76th, respectively.
Over in the boys Division III race, New London would claim the title over the runner-ups from Fredericktown; 45-89. Thomas Caputo of Fredericktown helped his team’s cause, claiming the individual title in 16:11.6.
Colonel Crawford’s boys team would finish fifth overall in the field with 192 points while the Northmor Golden Knights finished just two spots behind the Eagles with 238 points.
Mason McKibben turned in the top-time for the Eagles, finishing in 18:03.4, good for 28th in the 159-finisher field. McKibben was joined in the top-50 by teammates Alex Mutchler, Jacob Hoffman and Alex Lawson.
Placements for the Crawford boys on Saturday were: 33. Mutchler- 18:08.5; 34. Hoffman- 18:09.1; 44. Lawson- 18:23.8; 58. Luke Lawson and 91. Carson James.
For the Golden Knights, Kooper Keen turned in the best time of the day, claiming 22nd in a time of 17:55.9. Joining Keen in the top-50 was Austin Amens. Amens finished in 31st in the field with a race time of 18:05.3.
Other Northmor boys’ placements at the festival were: 55. Lucas Weaver; 60. TJ Diehl; 75. Connor Radojcsics; 112. PJ Lower and 116. Jedd Adams.
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