PATASKALA — A cool day and a fast track provided perfect conditions for Galion High School cross country runners to set personal records on Saturday at the McGowan Invitational hosted by Watkins Memorial High School.
“Today brought us almost perfect weather for a cross country meet,” Galion head coach Cindy Conner said. “It was a little cooler, there was a slight breeze, and the kids described the wooded area as air conditioned. Watkins provides a very nice two-loop course where spectators can find their runners a few times along the way. This is very helpful — especially for newer runners — because they are more encouraged to not give up.
“All of our runners gave 100% effort this weekend. I’m excited to continue to see growth in both teams as we head into the middle of our season.”
The Lady Tigers finished fourth in the final team standings with 116 points. Bexley captured the team title with 74 points followed closely by Jonathan Alder with 84 points. Fairfield Union (114 points) edged Galion for third place.
Zaynah Tate was Galion’s top placer, finishing 14th with a time of 21:09.5 to earn one of the two medals Galion runners brought home from Pataskala on Saturday. Emily McDonald picked up the other medal for Galion, finishing in 20th place with a time of 21:28.3.
Also placing among the top 30 runners for Galion were Ava Smith (23rd, 21:41.6) and Nora Harding (24th, 21:45.5).
Following are the rest of the Lady Tigers’ results from the McGowan Invitational: Natalee Perkins, 47th, 22:49; Jasmine Clingman, 79th, 24:22.7; Elisha Brown, 102nd, 26:18; Hayla Cowdrey, 126th, 27:52.1; Grace Sparks, 128th, 27:58.7; Ella Lehman, 140th, 29:30.6; Avery Lutz, 143rd, 29:48.5.
“On the girls side, we were missing four runners, which impacts the outcome of the team finish,” Conner said. “However, the girls who ran either had a season PR (personal record), lifetime PR, or came very close. Lifetime PRs were accomplished by Elisha and Natalee. Season PRs were obtained by Jasmine, Hayla, Emily, and Grace.
”It was nice to see a few runners step out of their comfort zone and run with someone they hadn’t run with yet this season,” Conner added. “Natalee has been determined every meet this season and continues to drop times. A few runners were feeling the pressure of being a varsity runner (top 7) and performed very nicely under pressure.”
In the boys race, Galion placed 12th with 287 points. Unioto, the third-place team in the 2020 Division II state championships, was the McGowan meet champion with 31 points. Bexley placed second with 106 points and Columbus DeSales was third with 108 points.
Chad Taylor was the top runner for the Tigers at Pataskala. He finished in 24th place, posting a time of 17:35.6.
Cannon Butler placed 54th with a time of 18:36.2 and Erik Hilario came in 67th place with a time of 18:49.8. Kellen Kiser finished in 74th place with a time of 19:02.4.
Following are the rest of the individual results for the Tigers: Caleb Brutchey, 111th, 20:19.5; Tyler Fraizer, 116th, 20:30.6; Anthony Ferini, 118th, 20:32.9; Josue Hilario, 119th, 20:34; Riley Gabriel, 185th, 24:41.6; Holden Gabriel, 188th, 24:49.4; Ashton Faulds, 209th, 29:28.1; Wyatt Estep, 211th, 30:50.4.
“On the boys side, we had all runners participating and they all ran very nice races,” Conner said. “If they didn’t have a best time, they came very close. Cannon, Wyatt, Erik, and Chad had lifetime PRs. Tyler, Riley, Josue, and Kellen had season PRs. It is very nice to see the boys challenge themselves to move up in the race. I don’t think any of them settled into a position. They competed against each other and against the other runners the whole race.”
Galion will host the Galion Cross Country Festival on Saturday, Sept. 18 at Amann Reservoir. The meet will begin at 9 a.m.
Galion will also be the host school for the Crawford County Meet on Saturday, Sept. 18 at the reservoir. That meet is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m.
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