HEBRON – Crestview junior Mycah Grandstaff has competed at the state cross country meet two times before.
However, Grandstaff’s rough start to this season made it a little more challenging to get back to top form.
An early-season knee injury sidelined Grandstaff for the first few weeks of the season.
But that wasn’t going to discourage Grandstaff.
At Saturday’s Division III state cross country meet at National Trail Raceway in Hebron, Grandstaff notched all-Ohio status by finishing 15th in 16 minutes, 29.03 seconds on the 5,000-meter course. The top 25 finishers earned all-Ohio honors.
“I feel great,” Grandstaff said. “I knew, coming into the race, that I was nowhere near the top 16 (finishers). I was sitting between 35 and 40, place-wise, according to PRs (personal record). I just came out here, ran my best and just pushed ahead as much as I could.”
Grandstaff said his previous experience of running at the state meet gave him an edge.
“This is my third year making it here, so I knew the first mile was going to be pretty quick,” he said. “I kept it (the pace) in the first mile, right where I wanted to – at a 5:06 (mile). I just ran my own race. I was really excited. I wasn’t expecting this.”
Other Division III
Coldwater’s Jon Wenning finished ninth in 16:24.32. St. Henry’s Spencer Schulze placed 13th (16:2729). Other top-25 placers included Coldwater’s Dan Seas (19th, 16:37.51) and Columbus Grove’s Colton Grothaus (21st, 16:38.72).
Lima Central Catholic’s Alex Rigg was 10 places off, finishing 35th in 16:56.84.
Team-wise, Columbus Grove had the best finish, coming in ninth. Lincolnview came in 12th, while St. Henry was 13th.
Defiance boys collect
Division II crown
Longtime Defiance coach Obie Mouser has been to the state meet many times throughout his successful coaching career at Defiance.
In fact, Mouser has brought a team to the state meet 14 times, but has never brought home a state title.
That streak came to an end Saturday as Defiance ran away with the Division II crown. The Bulldogs defeated second-place Tippecanoe 107-140 to grab the elusive title.
Defiance had three runners earn all-Ohio status, en route to winning the crown.
Alex Barrientos led the way for the Bulldogs, finishing 13th in 16:27.16. The rest of Defiance’s scorers were Nate Wichman (16th, 16:32.84); Garrett Wiles (20th, 16:42.73); Jon Crowell (33rd, 16:54.03) and Tom Koester (86th, 17:31.20).
“These guys (the seniors) as eighth-graders, I don’t think they were even in the top echelon of the WBL (Western Buckeye League),” Mouser said. “Nathan (Wichman) couldn’t even run in the junior high top seven (runners). They just decided that they could do this. You could see it start to progress a couple years ago. They just kept working and to look at them now. …This is great.”
The Van Wert boys team finished 10th in the Division II team standings.
3rd in Division III
The previous two seasons, Coldwater battled Liberty Center at the state meet and fell short both times, finishing second.
On Saturday, it was a battle like before. However, Gilmour Academy slipped in to grab second place behind Liberty Center, while Coldwater settled for third in Division III.
Liberty Center scored 98 points, while Gilmour Academy (110) and Coldwater (113) had a close battle for second.
Coldwater’s Sarah Kanney, who won the state title in 2012, finished fourth (18:51.13). Teammate Christina Seas finished second in 18:43.15. Liberty Center’s Brittany Atkinson won the race in 18:31.45.
Seas finished strong in the last mile to grab second place.
“I feel pretty good,” Seas said. “It’s always a good race here.”
Coming into Saturday’s meet, it looked to be a two-team race, between Liberty Center and Coldwater.
“It’s a little disappointing that we are third, but they gave it everything they had,” Coldwater coach Marty Schoenherr said. “They have to be proud of what they did. The team did what I asked of them. They ran hard. They ran together. They ran as one, and that’s what we always preach.”
5th in Division III
The Minster girls team placed fifth Saturday. Leading the way was Morgan Pohl (14th, 19:17.85).
Other area Division III girls earning all-Ohio honors were Coldwater’s Christina Seas (second, 18:43.15), Sarah Kanney (fourth, 18:51.13), Lauren Seas (18th, 19:33.39) and New Knoxville’s Cassie Boyle (25th, 19:40.94).
As a team, St. Henry finished 16th.