OTTAWA — Ottoville distance standout Brendan Siefker is getting used to being chased.
In fact, Siefker embraces the competition.
At Saturday’s Ottawa-Glandorf Blue/Gold Invitational, Ayersville sophomore Noah Fisher kept the pressure on the 2016 Division III state runner-up for most of the 5,000-meter race at Ottawa Memorial Park.
However, in the final stretch of the boys Gold Division (small schools) race, Siefker was too strong down the stretch as he won in a time of 16:00.8. Fisher came in second in 16:06.4.
“He ran a really great race today,” Siefker said about Fisher. “The last couple races I ran against him, he’s gotten closer and closer; he’s improving. So, I bet he’s working really hard, and his times are really starting to come. I think it helped me, having him on my hip for the first mile and then the second mile. In the end there, I made a couple moves and tried to shake him, but even then, he stayed with me. He ran a really good race today, and I think it benefited both of us.”
In the Gold Division, Lincolnview easily notched the team title, defeating second-place Edgerton 44-109. Stryker (111) and Pettisville (120) rounded out the top four teams in the 15-team field. Karter Tow led Lincolnview with a fourth-place finish (17:07.6).
In the girls Gold Division, Lima Central Catholic senior Emily Sreenan took the early lead and never looked back, en route to a winning time of 19:56.6. Hicksville’s Makayla Sullivan finished second in 20:25.8.
Sreenan, last year’s Division III state champion, is coming back from an injury she sustained during this past spring’s state track-and-field meet.
“This last week was the first week I did all the workouts at practice and managed not to be held out or to be in pain,” Sreenan said. “I was really excited about that. At this point I’m just out of shape. I don’t feel the injury at all. I’m really excited.
“At about the one-and-a-half-mile mark, my breathing just kind of goes out the door. I just start dragging my feet. So, I have to work on keeping my stride at that point, and just push through it. I’ve been doing some repeats and have done some surges, so I can get my breathing up. So, I’m excited to actually go hard now.”
Even with the late start to her training, Sreenan approaches each race the same.
“I think I still use the same strategy. It’s not like I’ve been holding back. I try to go out harder than anyone else. I feel like maybe I’ve been holding back a little bit, subconsciously. Now, I’m kind of getting out of that, since I’m not hurting anymore,” she said.
Pettisville took home Saturday’s team title in the girls Gold Division, defeating second-place Lincolnview 36-65. Crestview finished third (96), while Evergreen (100) rounded out the top four squads out of 10 full teams.
In the boys Blue Division (big schools), Fairview notched the team title, defeating Wauseon 94-106. Otsego finished third (110), while Napoleon came in fourth (135) out of 19 full teams.
Wauseon’s Kyle Vernot won the Blue Division race in 16:55.03. St. Henry’s Devin Huelskamp finished second (17:05).
In the girls Blue Division, St. Henry grabbed the team title, defeating Coldwater 63-81. Archbold (94) and St. Marys (139) rounded out the top four squads.
The Lima News sports department can be reached at 567-242-0451.