Two individuals, Lady Golden Knights punch tickets to state

Braxton Tate, Gavvin Keen headed to Hebron

By Chad Clinger - [email protected]

Division II, Region VI Meet

TIFFIN — On Saturday, October 26, members of the Galion Lady Tigers cross country team were joined by Braxton Tate, the lone boys’ team qualifier, in Tiffin at Hedges Boyer Park to compete in the Division II, Region VI meet.

With a potential trip to state on the line for the athletes, the runners took to the course against stiff competition, looking to keep their respective seasons alive.

In the boys portion of the race, the top-three teams, as well as the top-12 individuals would see themselves advancing to the state meet on Saturday, November 2.

Caleb Brown of Shelby would once again crack the 15-minute mark, turning in a time of 14:57.89 to claim the DII regional title. Behind him would be runner-up, Mhalicki Bronson of Defiance, finishing his race with a time of 15:07.65. With just 10 spots remaining, Galion senior Braxton Tate would cross the finish line in 15:23.59 to come in third place and earn a state berth for a third consecutive season.

In 2017 in his first trip to state, Tate finished 57th with his time of 16:55.8 before turning in a ninth-place finish a season ago in 16:33.7. The top-three finishers at the Tiffin Regional on Saturday have some of the fastest times throughout Division II, with Brown’s time surpassing any time turned in by a boys’ champion in 2019.

Defiance won the team title in Tiffin, tallying 63 points as Lexington finished as the runner-ups with 99 points. Huron earned the final team-qualifying spot, taking third with 105 points.

The DII boys race at National Trail Raceway in Hebron is set to be held at 2:15 p.m. on Saturday.

As for the Galion Lady Tigers, they took to the course hoping to claim either a top-4 team finish or see a runner cross the finish line within the top-16 to advance to the 42nd Annual Girls State Meet.

Unfortunately for the orange and blue, they would clock in at ninth as a team with 178 points while seeing senior Airyona Nickels’ career come to an end as the top-finisher for the squad. Nickels cracked the top-10 fastest times in Galion High School history with her time of 20:18.61, good for a 29th place finish.

Zaynah Tate, Brooklyn Gates and Emily McDonald would all finish within the top-50 for the Lady Tigers on Saturday in Tiffin. Tate ran her way to 33rd in 20:24.54 while Gates finished 37th in 20:37.57. McDonald claimed 46th in the loaded field, running her race in a time of 20:54.93. Ava Smith (74th, 22:25.77), Jasmine Clingman (85th, 23:12.15) and Natalee Perkins (91st, 23:51.30) were also in action for the ninth-place Galion squad on Saturday.

Halle Hamilton of Lexington won the individual title with her time of 17:55.10, helping Lady Lex (30 points) claim another regional title. Ontario finished as the runner-ups with 74 points, Lima Shawnee advanced at third with 131 and Celina grabbed the final qualifying spot in fourth with 135 points. The teams from Lexington, Ontario and Celina claimed nine of the available 16 individual qualifying spots.

Division III, Region X Meet

TIFFIN — Also on hand at Hedges Boyer Park were the Colonel Crawford Lady Eagles, as well as lone boys’ team representative, Jacob Hoffman. Crawford runners were competing in the Division III, Region X portion of the meet, hoping for a state berth as the top-seven teams and top-28 individuals moved on to Saturday’s action in Hebron.

It would prove to be a bit of a rough day for the Lady Eagles on Saturday in Tiffin as they finished 22nd in the field with 487 points. Crawford’s top-finisher would be Alison Manko, who finished 65th in the field with her time of 21:08.03. Katie Hopkins would be the only other runner for the Lady Eagles to break into the top-100 on the day, crossing the finish line in 21:39.04, good for 96th.

Other Crawford girls’ placements and times at the regional meet were: 150. Ally Hocker- 22:57.82; 154. Caydence Agee- 23:06.77; 159. Maria Smith- 23:19.66; 171. Theresa Dzugan- 24:17.12 and 173. Sheba Sulser- 24:33.75.

Liberty Center’s Hope Oelkrug won the DIII girls race with her time of 18:26.21 while Minster won the team title with 62 points. Liberty Center (91), Columbus Grove (194), Archbold (210), Woodmore (212), New London (213) and Delphos St. John’s (270) all qualified for state as a team with their second through seventh-place finishes.

In the DIII boys race, Noah Fisher of Ayersville won the individual title with a time of 15:41.10 while New London claimed the team title with 68 points. Rounding out the team qualifiers from Saturday were: 2. Sandusky SMCC- 125; 3. Hopewell-Loudon- 164; 4. Holgate- 192; 5. Minster- 203; 6. Crestview- 204 and 7. Liberty Center- 209.

Crawford’s Jacob Hoffman crossed the finish line in 121st place in the field with his time of 18:16.33.

Division III, Region XI Meet

PICKERINGTON — Both the girls and boys cross country teams representing Northmor High School headed to Pickerington North High School on Saturday, October 26 to compete in their respective Division III, Region XI races.

In the Pickerington Region, the top-5 teams would go on to the state meet along with the top-20 individual placers.

The Lady Golden Knights would rally to finish fourth overall in the field, tallying 130 points en route to their state berth, despite not having a single runner finish within the top-20 on the day. Lauren Johnson turned in the top finish for Northmor, claiming 21st overall with her race time of 20:24.9.

Joining Johnson in the top-50 would be teammates Julianna DiTullio, Riley Johnson and Julia Kanagy. DiTullio ran her race in 20:46.2 to claim 26th with R. Johnson finishing 38th in 21:08.0. Kanagy crossed the line in 21:18.0 to finish in 43rd for the fourth-place Lady Golden Knights. Olivia Goodson (70th, 21:57.3), Sabrina Kelley (86th, 22:51.3) and Emilee Jordan (101st, 23:50.6) will also see themselves at National Trail Raceway on November 2 for the black and gold.

Allison Johnson of Mount Gilead claimed the individual title in 19:02.7 while the Lady Indians won the regional title with 57 points. Centerburg finished as the runner-ups with 83 points and Fairbanks took third with 121. Caldwell earned the final team-qualifying spot, finishing fifth with 138 points on Saturday.

Northmor’s girls will take part in the Division III race, set to begin at 11 a.m. from Hebron.

Over in the boys race, the Northmor squad would not be as fortunate as they finished eighth overall in the field, tallying 217 points. Mount Gilead’s boys won the team title with 54 points, far surpassing the runner-ups from Fredericktown (104). Leesville Fairfield (125), Rock Hill (147) and Garaway (159) rounded out the state qualifiers from the Pickerington Regional. Derek Amicon of Grandview Heights won the individual title with his time of 15:50.2.

Despite not qualifying as a collective, the Northmor boys squad would see Gavvin Keen claim the final individual qualifying spot as he ran his way to 20th overall in a time of 17:03.2 to punch his ticket to state. Keen will race in the 91st Annual Boys State Meet in Hebron at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, November 2.

Austin Amens was the only other Golden Knight to crack the top-50 in Pickerington, claiming 47th overall in 17:45.8. Other placements and times for the Northmor boys on Saturday were: 58. Kooper Keen- 17:57.3; 71. Connor Radojcsics- 18:15.4; 91. Lucas Weaver- 19:16.5; 94. TJ Diehl- 19:27.3 and 109. Jack Sears- 20:19.2.
Braxton Tate, Gavvin Keen headed to Hebron

By Chad Clinger

[email protected]

Follow Chad on Twitter @GalionSportsGuy

Reach Chad at 419-468-1117 x2048

Follow Chad on Twitter @GalionSportsGuy

Reach Chad at 419-468-1117 x2048