HEBRON — When a distance runner notices their shoe is untied after the starting gun goes off at the state cross country meet, that’s usually not a good sign.
However, when Lincolnview senior Alek Bowersock realized early in Saturday’s Division III race that his knot failed him, he remained focused.
Bowersock went on to finish 12th overall in the D-III race in 16 minutes, 57.8 seconds on a very soggy 5,000-meter course at National Trail Raceway in Hebron. With his top-25 finish, Bowersock earned all-Ohio honors. Ayersville’s Noah Fisher won the D-III race in 16:14.4.
“I saw my shoe laces kicking around about the first 400 meters. I thought, ‘You have to be kidding me’,” Bowersock said with a smile. “But, it (the shoe) stayed on somehow.”
Bowersock finished strong, passing several runners in the final 400 meters.
“I knew about where I was at,” Bowersock said. “I wasn’t panicking. I know I have a kick. So, I was going to try to use that to my advantage.”
Bowersock was coming off a solid third-place finish at the Tiffin regional on Oct. 27. Due to flooding, the state meet was postponed last week, and moved to this Saturday.
“He’s had a phenomenal season,” Lincolnview coach Matt Langdon said about Bowersock. “He’s been in the top of every race. He’s been a good runner his whole career, but this year it just all came together for him – even with all the craziness with the postponement, changing the course and all that stuff. He’s the kind of kid it doesn’t affect. I think you saw that today. He was able to react in the moment. He had a great start. … I think he was actually leading the race, the first 400 (meters) or so. He calmed down a little bit. Then, he had a great finish. He was like in 16th and then passed a group and finished in 12th. So, it was a great day for him. I’m proud of how hard he’s worked and all the time he’s put in.”
As a squad, the Lincolnview boys finished 10th in the 20-team field. Fort Loramie won the D-III title.
Rounding out the Lancers Saturday were Karter Tow (17:37.7), Jacob Keysor (18:00.6), Devon Bill (18:08.6), Daegan Hatfield (18:37), Collin Puckett (19:07.3) and Joe Sadowski (19:27.7).
“We were ranked 12th or 13th coming in,” Langdon said. “One of our goals was to improve on that. We wanted to place a little higher, but we did meet our goal of trying to place higher than our state ranking.
“It’s an honor to be down here. And for those three seniors (Bowersock, Keysor and Tow), it’s their fourth time (to the state meet). With our situation, we weren’t going to be top two (teams). So, they just wanted to come out here and finish their careers well, and they did.”
Added Bowersock, “This was my last race. So, I really had to give it all I had. Coach has set us up for success. I just wanted to give it all I had today, since it’s my last race of my high school career.”
The Lincolnview’s girls’ team placed 16th in the 20-team field.
Grove places well
Saturday, the Columbus Grove girls placed 12th in D-III.
Leading the way for Columbus Grove was Alyssa Ellerbrock, who finished 16th overall (19:52.9), earning all-Ohio honors for the second year in a row.
“Last year I made the podium (top 20 finishers),” Ellerbrock said. “Coming in this year, I wanted to do it again. Coming around with about a thousand (meters) to go, I was in about 24th place. The end of the podium (20th runner at the time) was about 50 feet in front of me. So, I was staring them down and trying to move up. With about 400 to go, I went for it and passed quite a few girls; and I just gave it all I had.”
Rounding out the rest of Columbus Grove’s runners were Erin Downing (20:55.1), Leanndra Price (21:38.4), Morgan Deffenbaugh (22:27.6), Emily Schumacher (23:24.7), Zoe Stechschulte (23:35.7) and Hannah Schroeder (24:15.5).
“It was a good day,” Columbus Grove girls coach Jason Jay said. “We finished in the middle of the pack. That extra week layoff really didn’t seem to bother us. We knew we were going to be somewhere around there. It’s a good day when you finish mid-pack and get one on the podium.”
Columbus Grove’s Johnny Schmiedebusch made it to the Division III state meet last season, individually, as a sophomore.
This year, Schmiedebusch returned to Hebron and also brought his team with him. In Saturday’s D-III race, Schmiedebusch finished 24th overall (17:11.9), earning all-Ohio honors. As a team, Columbus Grove placed 16th.
“It wasn’t what I was hoping for. I was hoping I would be a little bit faster,” Schmiedebusch said. “The plan was to stay up front. I knew I was going to lose some places. I was trying to hang on as long as I could.”
At the Tiffin regional (10/27), Schmiedebusch finished second.
Rounding out the Bulldogs Saturday were Breece Pingle (17:54.8), Carson Closson (18:04), Jordan Bellman (18:32.8), Caleb Stechschulte (18:37.9), Tanner Smith (19:16.5) and Tayden Pingle (19:43.5).
The Crestview girls placed 18th Saturday. Coldwater’s girls finished 19th.
In D-II, Van Wert’s Caylee Phillips finished 46th (20:12). In D-III, Spencerville’s Lillee Stewart came in 99th (21:45.7) and Riverdale’s Kendra Collier was 86th (21:32.6). On the boys’ side in D-III, Parkway’s Kyle Roth was 53rd (17:36.6) and teammate Matt Gaerke was 99th (18:04.3). Minster’s Luke Barger finished 107th (18:10) and Leipsic’s Ethan Chambers was 97th (18:03.7).
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