Cross country: Van Wert boys, Kenton girls win Blue Jay Invitational team titles

DELPHOS — Last spring, Van Wert’s Owen Scott elevated himself to a different level during the track and field season.

By the first weekend in June, Scott found himself competing at the Division II state track and field meet in the 3,200 meters, where he placed 11th.

This fall, Scott, a junior, wants to take it to the next level in cross country.

At Saturday’s Delphos St. John’s Blue Jay Invitational at Delphos Stadium Park, Scott took it to a whole different level as he led from start to finish, en route to a winning time of 15 minutes, 7.74 seconds on a course that was confirmed by meet personnel to be well short of the normal 5,000-meter distance.

Scott’s nearest competitor on Saturday was Bath junior Jacob Wireman, who was a distant second with an impressive time of 15:32.40. Anna’s John Young was a close third (15:34.69).

“My first mile is notoriously fast. At the state track meet, I started out in first place (early on), and didn’t end up in first place,” Scott said with a grin. “So, I try to go out and hold it (the pace). I decided to push my limits today. It was a good race.”

Scott has set some high personal goals for this fall.

“One of my goals is to break the school record,” Scott said. “I didn’t make state last year. I missed it by less than a second. So, my goal is to definitely make state. Hopefully, I can make the (awards) podium at state.”

The Van Wert boys’ team won the title Saturday, defeating Western Buckeye League foe Bath, 30-55. Anna (59), Pandora-Gilboa (129) and Kenton (169) rounded out the top five squads in a field of 13 schools.

Van Wert placed its top five runners in the top 15 overall spots Saturday. There were 116 competitors in the boys’ race.

Behind Scott were teammates Drew Laudick (fourth, 16:03), John Kramer (fifth, 16:31.43), Rylan Miller (eighth, 16:37.87) and Harrison Sloan (15th, 17:28.62).

“We were really excited this year, going in,” Van Wert head coach Kim Laudick said. “We didn’t lose anybody from last year; and we gained a couple underclassmen. Since the month of June, we’ve been training. I have a real solid top six (runners). … So, as a coach, that’s a good feeling. Whereas last year, unfortunately, we missed (qualifying for) state by one place, because we just struggled with the fifth (runner) all season.

“So, coming into this season, we were coming back stronger, and looking forward to really pushing the button. Our boys, especially, are physically and mentally very strong; and they are dialed in. So, that’s exciting.”

Bath had a solid pack of runners Saturday. The Wildcats placed their top five runners in the top 25 overall spots.

Behind Wireman, teammates Landen Jones (sixth, 16:31.93), Everett Bensman (ninth, 16:40.22), Jaden Ryan (19th, 17:38.18) and Jonah Volbert (25th, 17:55.12) rounded out the five scorers for Bath.

On the girls’ side, Anna senior Paige Steinke led from start to finish, en route to a winning time of 17:57.52. Kenton sophomore Addi Manns finished second (18:30.51), while Miller City junior Andrea Pfau came in a distant third (19:26.34). There were 97 competitors.

Steinke, who won last year’s Division III state title in cross country, said she wants to get out fast and set the tone of the race.

“I kind of focus on what I do each mile – like where I’m at by the 2-mile. The last half mile, I try to really pick it up, because I cannot sprint,” Steinke said with a grin.

Kenton’s Addi Manns is implementing a different race strategy this season.

“I had a race last week. At that race, I tried to go out a little bit slower, because I think I can run better from the back,” Manns said. “So, today, I didn’t really have a split time (as a goal), but I tried to start passing people – and start out in the back.”

Manns wants to go far into the postseason this fall.

“(Last season) I made it to regionals. … I didn’t make it to state,” Manns said. “Honestly, breaking 19 (minutes) was my goal, coming in; and I just did that. So, obviously, making it to state – since I haven’t done that before – would be my goal.”

In Saturday’s final team standings for the girls, Kenton won the title with 36 points. Delphos St. John’s came in second with 79 points. Van Wert (83), Anna (122) and Waynesfield-Goshen (138) rounded out the top five squads.

Jared Manns, Kenton’s head coach and father of Addi Manns, was pleased at how his team performed Saturday, especially on the girls’ side.

“We knew Lincolnview and Liberty-Benton weren’t going to be here. So, we knew we were going to lose some competition,” Coach Manns said. “But I thought Addi competed well. She ran a really smart race. She went out at a decent pace and progressed through. She could still see Steinke (toward the end of the race). … I guess that’s a good thing. It was definitely a positive day for her.

“Our top three (runners) were in the top 10 (overall spots). Then our No. 4 (runner) and No. 5 weren’t too far back. We packed our two through five (runners) in there, pretty well as a team. But we drop off after No. 5. So, it was really important for us to get that fifth one in there. I think they (top five runners) were in the top 15. So, it was a good day for us.”



Team Scores: 1. Van Wert 30, 2. Bath 55, 3. Anna 59, 4. Pandora-Gilboa 129, 5. Kenton 169, 6. St. John’s 172, 7. Leipsic 197, 8. Bluffton 221, 9. Spencerville 234, 10. Perry 263, 11. Waynesfield-Goshen 289, 12. Allen East 311, 13. LCC 364.

Race Winner/Finishers in the Top 25:

1. Owen Scott (VW) 15:07.74, 2. Jacob Wireman (Bath) 15:32.40, 3. John Young (Anna) 15:34.69, 4. Drew Laudick (VW) 16:03.00, 5. John Kramer (VW) 16:31.43, 6. Landen Jones (Bath) 7. Collin Heitmeyer (Kal) 16:35.83, 8. Rylan Miller (VW) 16:37.87, 9. Everett Bensman (Bath) 16:40.22, 10. Ethan Rall (Ken) 16:41.45, 11. Mitchell Adams (Spen) 17:18.48, 12. Calvin Miller (MC) 17:21.39, 13. Kyle Edelmann (Anna) 17:21.94, 14. Blake Bixler (Anna) 17:23.50, 15. Harrison Sloan (VW) 17:28.62, 16. Titus Young (Anna) 17:32.78, 17. Adam Buell (P-G) 17:33.35, 18. Johan Gemmer (VW) 17:34.58, 19. Jaden Ryan (Bath) 17:38.18, 20. Jack Buell (P-G) 17:41.65, 21. Aaron Simpson (Anna) 17:43.92, 22. Zane Bockey (DSJ) 17:48.89, 23. Ethan Blindauer (Anna) 17:43.92, 24. Ethan D’Souza (Ada) 17:54.45, 25. Jonah Volbert (Bath) 17:55.12.

Complete boys race results


Team Scores: 1. Kenton 36, 2. Delphos St. John’s 79, 3. Van Wert 83, 4. Anna 122, 5. Waynesfield-Goshen 138, 6. Bluffton 146, 7. Kalida 163, 8. Pandora-Gilboa 197, 9. Allen East 227, 10. LCC 243.

Race Winner/Finishers in the Top 25:

1. Paige Steinke (Anna) 17:57.52, 2. Addi Manns (Ken) 18:30.51, 3. Andrea Pfau (MC) 19:26.34, 4. Leah Harder (Kenton) 19:42.69, 5. Serenity Williamson (Anna) 19:56.75, 6. June Essinger (Bl) 19:57.61, 7. Marissa Ledley (Ken) 20:00.61, 8. Brezlynn Rohr (DSJ) 20:13.49, 9. Andrea Burgei (Kal) 20:24.58, 10. Savannah Knueven (P-G) 20:36.17, 11. Delaney Buxton (Ken) 20:42.71, 12. Harmony Schuerman (VW) 20:46.11, 13. Cady Donaldson (DSJ) 20:47.08, 14. Noelle Byrum (VW) 20:49.84, 15. Alyssa Knittle (VW) 21:00.75, 16. Quinlyn Spearman (Ken) 21:07.85, 17. Emily Morrisey (LCC) 21:22.64, 18. Lexi Deitemeyer (VW) 21:37.43, 19. Kyla Fallis (Bath) 21:41.69, 20. Abigail Dulebohn (W-G) 21:50.58, 21. Anna Lammers (MC) 22:04.85, 22. Madelyn Haehn (DSJ) 22:04.85, 23. Caire Martz (DSJ) 22:06.04, 24. Kaylie Sunderhaus (DSJ) 22:18.10, 25. Olivia Bockey (DSJ) 22:27.09.

Complete girls race results

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