Behind a sixth-runner tiebreaker, Archbold was able to unseat defending champion Wauseon for the boys cross country title, while the Liberty Center girls claimed their third straight league title at the NWOAL Championships at Evergreen Saturday morning.
The Blue Streaks and Indians each posted a score of 45 in the boys standings, but Archbold’s sixth runner, Oliver Seibert, finished in 18th place (19:55.74) and Wauseon’s Joseph Perez was 20th (20:16.04).
“For the guys, we knew it would be a close race for 1 through 3, but not that close. We have a very deep squad and that showed this weekend,” said Archbold Coach Rachel Kinsman. “Saturday was one of those coaching moments that you dream of because these athletes worked so very hard week in and week out to achieve this goal that we talked about 10 weeks ago. There is no greater joy than to lead these athletes to achieve their goals. This NWOAL title is very special for all of us.”
The top five for the Streaks were Brady Johns who finished fourth (18:13.45), Aden McCarty at seventh (18:39.16), Brennan Garrow 10th (19:08.78), Caleb Harrow 11th (19:15.68) and Landon Stamm 13th (19:42.61).
Hunter Wasnich was runner-up with a time of 17:13.2 for the Indians. Aidan Pena took sixth (18:28.81), Carter Nofziger eighth (18:52.57), Garrett Leininger 12th (19:41.46) and Zaden Torres 17th (19:54.4).
Wauseon did have one of their top runners in Jack Callan not competing, which perhaps played a role in the result.
“The boys’ race was a heartbreaker for us,” admitted Wauseon Coach Joe Allen. “We knew when we got word that one of our top runners was out that it was going to be a battle with Archbold. When you have a close team race like these boys had, you look back and analyze all the things that could have or (you) wish would have happened. However, they did not and in the end Archbold capitalized on the opportunity that was put before them.”
The course was fairly wet from rain that came down in the days leading up to the event, but neither Allen or Kinsman thought that had an effect on the outcome.
“The one great thing about cross country is that the athletes all run the same course on the same day, under the same conditions. The only thing that the wetness and wind might have done is slow the times down a little bit. However, on a day like Saturday, it is more about competing for positions than about times,” Allen said.
“What we tell our athletes is that everyone has to run on the same course, whatever the conditions. So prove who is mentally stronger,” said Kinsman. “It was wet on most of the course, but it wasn’t muddy like we had experienced in other races, so they were prepared and did their job!”
Daniel Sintobin finished 25th (20:22.61) for the Delta boys. Additionally, Tristan Mlynarek took 31st (20:42.93) and Brodey Roth 33rd (20:52.47) for the Panthers.
Swanton was led by Santana Serratos at 18th (19:54.53) and Devin Nijakowski 22nd (20:10.29). The Bulldogs did not field a full team.
Brayden Bull came in at 49th (22:22.61) for Evergreen, who also did not have five runners.
The Liberty Center girls ran away with the team title as Hope Oelkrug became the third four-time league champ. Oelkrug won with a time of 19:41.19. The Tigers finished with a score of 25 and behind them was Wauseon with 69.
Makayla Meller was runner-up (20:10.96), Gracie Miller third (20:23.91), Cassie Elieff eighth (21:44.38) and Reagan Dulle 11th (22:25.56) for the Tigers.
Grace Rhoades took fourth (20:36.76) and Maggie Duden sixth (21:22.39) for the Indians. Furthermore, Serena Mathews finished 17th (23:01.83), Emilie Wasnich 20th (23:04.89), and Natalie Kuntz 22nd (23:48.42).
“I felt like our girls put forth an amazing effort,” said Allen. “We knew coming in that Liberty Center was very good and that it would be a challenge to defeat them. We really wanted to at-least be second and I was very proud of them for achieving that goal.”
The Archbold girls were led by Sophie Rupp who was ninth (22:02.32). Karley Ramirez came in at 15th (22:57.25), Annika DeLong 23rd (23:55.22), Allie Buehrer 25th (24:10.75) and Alison Roehrig 28th (24:29.06).
Evergreen’s top five were Kayla Gleckler at 13th (22:44.58), Deanna Hoffman 18th (23:02.39), Lyndi Williamson 27th (24:22.74), Ella Hinz 34th (25:31.21) and Izzy Barkhimer 44th (28:10.26).
Josilyn Welch placed fifth (21:13.98) for Delta. Sophia Bonfert was 32nd (24:51.18), Emma Deffenbaugh 35th (25:44.77), Leigha Pirrwitz 50th (31:22.39) and Jaclyn Kohlhofer 51st (32:22.54).
At the forefront for Swanton was Ashley Keaton who took 24th (24:02.04). Journey Coleman was 41st (26:59.15) for the Dogs.
NWOAL XC Championships
Archbold 45, Wauseon 45, Liberty Center 69, Bryan 86, Delta 126, Patrick Henry 156.
Liberty Center 25, Wauseon 69, Patrick Henry 87, Archbold 98, Evergreen 128, Bryan 134, Delta 151.