GALION — Strength builds on strength and Galion High School girls cross country coach Cindy Conner believes her team’s strong performance last season has laid a solid foundation for 2021.
“I cannot be prouder of the girls team perf0rmance last year,” said Conner, who enters her eighth season leading the program. “They had one goal in mind, and they accomplished that. They were the first Galion girls team to ever get to the state meet. We have had individual girls qualify but never a team, until now. We had a few bumps in the road along the way — not winning the county meet or league meet and placing fourth at the district meet — but they overcame the mental part of the race at regionals and performed beyond their expectations, right where we as coaches knew they could compete.
“They were cautious throughout their season to avoid any quarantines and the virus itself. Last year they came out of the gates winning three of their first four meets.”
The Lady Tigers finished third in the Mid Ohio Athletic Conference championships, fourth at the district meet (only five points separated second through fifth place), second to Lexington at the regional meet, and 16th at the OHSAA championships.
Galion lost a trio of strong runners from the 2020 team in Brooklyn Gates, Amara Ratcliff, and Hannah Daniels. Gates was first-team All-County, first-team All-MOAC, regional team runnerup, regional and state meet qualifier, and No. 5 among Galion’s top 10 runners with a time of 19:46.
A blend of youth, experience, and talent returns for the Lady Tigers in 2021. Key runners for Conner include sophomore Raygann Campbell, seniors Zaynah Tate, Emily McDonald, Ava Smith, and Natalee Perkins, junior Dezi Lester, sophomore Nora Harding, sophomore Elisha Brown, and senior Jasmine Clingman.
Campbell’s resume includes a County championship, first-team All-MOAC, second-team All-District, second-team All-Regional, regional team runnerup, regional and state qualifier, and No. 2 on the list of top 10 Galion runners (19:15).
Tate was honorable mention All-MOAC, regional team runnerup, regional and state qualifier, and recorded a personal record of 20:24.
McDonald was honorable mention All-MOAC, regional team runnerup, regional and state qualifier, and recorded a personal record of 20:54.
Smith was regional team runnerup, regional and state qualifier, and recorded a personal record of 21:39.
Perkins and Lester were regional team runners-up and regional and state qualifiers. Harding was a regional team runnerup and regional and state alternate.
Conner said she believes the following new runners will contribute positively to the team in 2021: junior Ella Lehman, and freshmen Kortnie Ganshorn, Zoee Brissell, Avery Lutz, Grace Sparks, and Ryllie Preston.
“I am looking forward to seeing the potential in the girls this season. They have been training hard this summer and they are all healthy,” Conner said. “Now that they have had a taste of the state meet, they are heading into the season with postseason goals at the top and smaller milestones along the way. The girls have discussed things they could have done better last season and plan to work on some strategies to overcome that this year. Despite the fact that COVID is still on their minds, they are connecting with each other, which includes showing the new girls the ropes. I enjoy the positive attitudes and good work ethic.”
The 2021 Galion girls cross country roster features the following runners: seniors Jasmine Clingman, Emily McDonald, Camile Nunez, Natalee Perkins, Ava Smith, and Zaynah Tate; juniors Julia Conner, Dezi Lester, and Ella Lehman; sophomores Elisha Brown, Raygann Campbell, Nora Harding, and Claire Tate; freshmen Jayda Baker, Zoee Brissell, Kortnie Ganshorn, Avery Lutz, Ryllie Preston, Grace Sparks, and Emily Williams.
Conner’s assistant coaches are Carson Early, Jamie Tate, and Elizabeth Volz.
2021 Galion Girls 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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