OBETZ — In a case of saving his best for last, Galion High School runner Chad Taylor capped off his sophomore season with a record-setting performance at the 2021 OHSAA Division II state cross country championships.
Taylor set a new personal record time of 16:45.5 en route to finishing in 59th place on Saturday at Fortress Obetz. It was Taylor’s first appearance at the state championship meet.
“Chad did everything we talked about during the race,” Galion head coach Cindy Conner said. “I am proud of him for his dedication to his season and for following his heart. He has just experienced the most difficult race of his life and that will help to prepare him for next season.
“We tried to prepare him mentally and physically for today. I’m not sure how much you can truly prepare an athlete for this race,” Conner added. “Every first time state qualifier that I have coached has had similar comments at the finish. They are always surprised at the intensity of the race. Now he has that experience to take with him.”
According to OHSAA race statistics, Taylor moved up seven spots from the third split to his final position at the end of the race. He was in 68th place at the second split and was in 66th place at the third split. He was in 85th place at the first split.
Conner noted that race conditions were excellent on Saturday.
“Today was a perfect race day,” she said. “The temperature was just right, the sun was shining brightly and there was very little wind.”
Conner said during the course of the 2021 season, Taylor has shaved more than a minute off of his best performance from his freshman season in 2020. Entering the 2021 cross country campaign, Taylor’s personal record was 17:48.
Taylor has enjoyed a strong run of performances in the 2021 postseason leading up to the state championships. He placed 11th on a soggy track at the regional championships on Oct. 30 in Tiffin. He posted a time of 17:07.6 there to ensure his appearance at the state championships.
The week before the regional meet, Taylor finished fifth at the district championship meet at Amann Reservoir in Galion. His time at that race was 16:48.9.
At the Mid Ohio Athletic Conference championships on Oct. 16 in Marion, the talented sophomore placed fourth with a time of 16:48. That established what was then a new personal record for Taylor.
Marlington captured the Division II team championship at the state meet.
Colonel Crawford girls 7th in Division III
The Colonel Crawford girls cross country team finished seventh in the final team standings at the OHSAA Division III state championships on Saturday.
The result matched the Eagles second-best team performance at a state championship meet. Colonel Crawford also finished seventh at the 1992 state meet. The program’s best result at the state meet was a sixth-place finish in 1987.
Minster emerged as the state champion with a final score of 66.
Ashland Crestview placed 15th and Mount Gilead was 17th in the team results.
Freshman Gabby Roston was the top performer for Colonel Crawford. She finished in 45th place with a time of 19:50.4.
Sophomore Cecelia Chase placed 69th with a time of 20:14.1. Freshman Olivia Hardy finished in 87th place, posting a time of 20:31.1.
Sophomore Izzy Roston came in 90th place with a time of 20:34.1. Junior Maria Smith crossed the finish line in 153rd place, turning in a time of 22:14.3.
Junior Olivia Chase placed 178th with a time of 23:37. Senior Sheba Sulser came in 181st place with a time of 24:07.9.
This marked the sixth time that the Colonel Crawford girls program has reached the state championship meet. The Eagles qualified for the 2020 meet (9th place) and the program also made trips to the state meet in 1987 (6th place), 1992 (7th place), 2003 (8th place), and 2004 (16th place), according to OHSAA records.