GALION — Galion High School boys cross country coach Cindy Conner is optimistic about her team’s prospects for success in 2021.
“I am looking forward to the successes of the Galion boys team this season,” said Conner, who is entering her eighth season in charge of the program. “They have done an excellent job with their summer training and are in great shape to accomplish the goals they have set out for themselves and their team. Their commitment to the team will get them far this year.”
Conner said she hopes to build on the gains made during the 2020 campaign. The team placed fifth in the Mid Ohio Athletic Conference meet. She said the season ended a bit earlier than expected with a ninth-place finish in the district meet.
“I thought the boys team trained harder than they had ever trained before,” she said. “They came out of the gates at the beginning of the season with a third-place team finish at Seneca East. They continued to compete well, finishing in the top three at every race, right down to the league meet where the schools around us seemed to be tapered at just that time.
“Last year the boys team learned a lot about pack running and were very encouraging to each other,” Conner added. “The boys team overcame the same adversities as every other high school team last year — COVID restrictions. They had to be more mentally tough than any other season. Bonding activities were few and far between but the boys found ways to continue to grow as a team.”
The boys team lost a close-knit senior class to graduation in the spring, Conner said. That group included Braeden Horn, Zach Slone, Simon Shawk, Corban Justice, and Grayson Willacker.
Horn was first team All-County, MOAC honorable mention, team captain, 4-year letter winner, and high point letter winner. Slone was a 4-year letter winner and the recipient of the Coach’s Award.
Shawk was a 3-year letter winner and placed among the top seven scorers in nearly every meet in which he competed. Conner said the coaching staff decided to shut him down with two meets remaining in order to allow him “to rest and save his legs from injury so he could complete his track season healthy.”
A deep pool of talented runners returns for the Tigers in 2021, Conner said. The group features sophomore Chad Taylor, senior Cannon Butler, senior Kellen Kiser, junior Holden Gabriel, sophomore Jacob Storie, sophomore Erik Hilario, sophomore Riley Gabriel, and sophomore Tim Schmotzer.
Taylor was first-team All-County and recorded a personal record of 17:48 in 2020. Butler (19:04), Kiser (19:06), Holden Gabriel (19:03), Storie (19:23), and Hilario (19:44) all recorded personal records last season.
Conner said she believes the following newcomers to the team could make an impact this season: senior Tyler Fraizer, junior Caleb Brutchey, freshman, Josue Hilario, freshman Anthony Ferini, sophomore Wyatt Estep, freshman Ashton Faulds, and Landon Justice.
Conner’s assistant coaches are Carson Early, Jamie Tate, and Elizabeth Volz. David Bauer is the team statistician.
2021 Galion Boys Cross Country Schedule
Tuesday, Aug. 24 at Upper Sandusky Invite, 5:30 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 28 at Seneca East Tiger Classic, 8:30 a.m.
Tuesday, Sept. 7 at Wynford Invite, 5 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 11 at Watkins Memorial Invite, 1 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 17 Galion Cross Country Festival, 9 a.m. (Amann Reservoir)
Saturday, Sept. 25 Crawford County Meet, 10 a.m. (Amann Reservoir)
Saturday, Oct. 2 at Old Fort Invite, 9 a.m.
Tuesday, Oct. 5 at Crestline Invite, 5 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 9 at Marion Harding Invite, 9:15 a.m.
Saturday, Oct. 16 at MOAC Championships, 10 a.m. (Marion Harding)
Saturday, Oct. 23 Div. II District Meet, 10 a.m. (Amann Reservoir)
Saturday, Oct. 30 Div. II Regional Meet, TBA (Tiffin)
Saturday, Nov. 6 OHSAA State Championships, TBA (Fortress Obetz)
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