LIMA — This cross country season, Perry freshman Braden Yingst has been up toward the front of the pack in all of his races.
At Tuesday’s Allen County Meet, not only was Yingst in front of the pack, but he eventually pulled away for the win on the very challenging 5,000-meter course at Faurot Park.
Last year’s Allen County champion – Lima Central Catholic’s Quentin Potempa – ran with Yingst for most of the first two miles.
Then, Yingst found another gear late in the race and pulled away for the victory in 17 minutes, 46.4 seconds. Potempa, a junior, finished in 18:04.8.
“The second time (second lap), going around the baseball diamond is when I took the lead,” Yingst said. “I knew I had to kick it in there and get out in front of him.
“I had to go out hard at the beginning. Then on the second lap, I was planning on gapping him; so I could get ahead of him at the end.”
Yingst has raced against Potempa before.
“It’s a big advantage (to have raced Potempa before), because I know how he runs,” Yingst said. “I know his pace. So, it’s always good to be able to run against guys earlier in the season.”
Yingst’s confidence is growing as the season progresses.
“It feels great,” Yingst said. “I didn’t expect to come out my freshman year and win this race. But, one thing led to another and here I am.”
In the boys’ team standings, Shawnee won the title, outscoring second-place Elida 17-73. Bath (99) finished third and Bluffton (116) came in fourth. Rounding out the seven full teams in the boys’ team standings were St. John’s (126), Lima Senior (141) and Allen East (154).
Shawnee placed its five scorers in the top nine overall spots.
Gabe Williams led the way for Shawnee with a third-place finish (18:22.9). Rounding out the rest of the scorers for Shawnee were Josh
Kuhlman (fourth, 18:33.9), Kaleb Egri (fifth, 18:46.8), Levi Stump (sixth, 18:48.1) and Trever Miller (ninth, 19:01).
For Elida, Sean Dancs led the way with a seventh-place finish (18:48.9).
Jon Stotts (13th, 19:21.6), Corbin Fingerle (20th, 20:09.2), Jayden Pullen (21st, 20:11.5) and Connor Broshes (22nd, 20:12) rounded out Elida’s top five runners.
On the girls’ side, Spencerville freshman Lillee Stewart took the lead late in the race and held on for the win in 21:50.4. Delphos St. John’s Jenia Freewalt was a close second (22:03.4).
“I was ahead the first two miles,” Stewart said. “She (Freewalt) caught me for a little bit. Then, I took it over about halfway through the last mile. I could tell that she was on my heels, but I picked it up toward the end.”
Delphos St. John’s won the girls’ team title, edging out Shawnee 30-34. Bath – the only other full girls’ team – finished third with 67 points.
Behind Freewalt, St. John’s scorers were Kambrynn Rohr (fourth, 22:23.9), Catherine Kopack (sixth, 22:37.6), Rylee Pohlman (10th, 23:35.4) and Caroline Kopack (13th, 24:08.3).
For Shawnee, Anne Hardy led the way with a third-place finish (22:16.2). Lexie Marshall (seventh, 22:44.2), Emily Bryan (eighth, 22:52.1), Hanna Watt (ninth, 23:28.7) and Liana Rodriguez (12th, 24:00.5) rounded out Shawnee’s top five runners.