COLUMBUS GROVE — Building a pack of frontrunners is what cross country teams strive for.
At Saturday’s Columbus Grove Invitational, there were a couple of packs that stood out from the rest.
The Minster girls placed all of its five scorers in the top ten overall en route to a convincing 30-119 victory over second-place Spencerville in the Gray Division. Kalida finished third (131), while Hopewell-Loudon was fourth (158). There were 14 teams in the Gray Division.
Minster’s Julia Slonkosky won the race in the Gray Division in 19 minutes, 46.34 seconds. Kalida’s Jessica Doepker was second in 20:14.27.
Minster girls coach Jessie Magoto said her team took another step forward with its performance at Columbus Grove.
“I’m happy. But, we still have a long way to go. I see hope and promise. Gabrielle Barga ran second for us today. …She really jumped up there. Our freshman won the race. So, we showed some progress,” Magoto said
The longtime Minster coach is stressing progress out of her team.
As long as we’re moving in the right direction and they’re pushing each other along, we’re O.K. We have a lot of freshmen on the team. So the others are trying to help the freshmen find their way,” she said.
The Columbus Grove boys slipped past a very competitive Minster squad, winning 44-55. Lincolnview was a distant third (121), while Botkins was fourth (164). There were 17 teams in the Gray Division.
Columbus Grove’s Jake Graham won the race in 16:11.23. Minster’s Dominic Slonkosky was second to Graham in 16:23.57.
The rest of the Columbus Grove pack included Alex Shafer (fourth, 16:36.57); Colton Grothaus (sixth, 16: 47.81); Grant Schroeder (11th, 17:10.21); Nick Schmiesing (23rd, 17:44.51); Jerry Kesselmeyer (32nd, 18:07.53) and Logan Douglas (40th, 18:34.93).
Columbus Grove boys coach Terry Schnipke was very pleased at how his team stepped up against some very good competition on Saturday.
“We had three guys under 17 (minutes) and Grant Schroeder, our No. 4 (runner), was 17:10. He (Schroeder) was hoping to be under 17 today. But, I don’t know if we can run much better. At least four of our top seven PR’d,” Schnipke said. “We knew that Minster was going to be pretty good. So, I knew that was going to be a good test for us. We performed well. This is kind of a funny sidebar, but Jake (Graham) has gone 4, 3, 2, 1. He was fourth as a freshman, third as a sophomore, second as a junior and now first as a senior. That’s pretty cool. I was happy for him.”
Perrysburg won the Red Division for the boys. Wauseon’s Quintin Reiser won the race in the Red Division, crossing the finish line in 16:37.31.
For the girls in the Red Division, Anthony Wayne took first. Wauseon’s Taylor Vernot was the first runner to cross the finish line, winning in 19:20.42.