BATH TOWNSHIP — The second half of the cross-country season is the prime time to get ready for the upcoming conference meets and the postseason tournament.
After Tuesday’s Bath Invitational, it appears that Shawnee’s program is heading in the right direction.
Both the Shawnee boys’ and girls’ teams notched first-place finishes Tuesday at Bath.
On the boys’ side, Shawnee defeated second-place Elida 53-99. Lima Central Catholic finished third (133), Kenton was fourth (137), while Spencerville came in fifth (146) in a 12-team field.
In the girls’ competition, Shawnee slipped past Kenton for the team title, 45-51. Bath finished third (58), Delphos St. John’s came in fourth (86), while Ada was fifth (105). There were just five teams figured into the scoring for the girls’ race.
Tuesday’s high temperatures definitely wreaked havoc on many runners.
“Van Wert (County Hospital Invite) was very similar (weather),” longtime Shawnee coach Russ Holly said about this past Saturday’s invite. “The big thing is you are running on top of the reservoir over there (Van Wert). So, it was heating you up a little more. One of the things I really stressed in the past week, was that every time you go by a drinking fountain, you drink whether you’re thirsty or not.”
In the girls’ race, Shawnee’s Lexie Marshall won in a time of 20 minutes, 41 seconds on the 5,000-meter course on the Bath campus. Kenton’s Sammie Unger finished second in 22:03.
Rounding out the top five runners for the Shawnee girls’ squad were Hannah Watt (third, 22:19), Morgan Taviano (13th, 23:32), Emily Bryan (17th, 23:48) and Leah Mikesell (21st, 25:38).
In the boys’ race, Shawnee placed its top five runners in the top 15 spots, en route to the team victory over Elida.
Gabe Williams (seventh, 18:47), Grant Stump (eighth, 18:51), Trever Miller (ninth, 18:56), Levi Stump (14th, 19:22) and Austin Matthews (15th, 19:25) were Shawnee’s scorers.
Holly viewed Tuesday’s invite as just part of the overall plan of preparing for the end of the season.
“I told my kids that we’re training through, because the league (Western Buckeye League) is in basically two-and-a-half weeks. And the league is going to be right here (at Bath). So, you have to train all the way through,” he said.
Ottoville senior Brendan Siefker carried on his winning ways Tuesday, as he led from start to finish, crossing the finish line in 16:32. Siefker’s nearest competition came from Lima Central Catholic’s Quentin Potempa, who finished second in 18:06.
“The heat was pretty tiring, again,” Siefker said. “But, I don’t think it was as bad as Saturday was. I definitely think it’s a factor on a lot of runners, because it’s different than what we’ve been used to the past couple of weeks.”
Despite running away with the victory, Siefker came out Tuesday with a game plan, as he’s preparing to make another run to the state meet. Last season, Siefker was state runner-up in the Division III race.
“I always try to run my hardest,” Siefker said. “I think that in meets like today, it’s a little bit harder, because you don’t have as much of an urgency to really just bust it. Whereas on Saturday (at Van Wert), I was running against (Ayersville’s Noah) Fisher, and he was right on me. So, you really have to stay focused the whole time.
“Tonight, I was really trying to focus on my second mile, and trying to keep the same going from the first mile. …I missed it, but I learned something for next week.”