SPENCERVILLE — It’s still early in the season.
For longtime Shawnee cross country coach Russ Holly, it’s all about working toward the Western Buckeye League Championships in mid-October, and then on to the postseason tournament.
If Saturday’s performance at the Spencerville Bearcat Invitational is an indication, then Shawnee is on course for a strong second half of the season.
Shawnee’s boys team won the Black Division (larger schools) Saturday. Shawnee scored 66 points, while Western Buckeye League-foe Ottawa-Glandorf finished a distant second (115). Bluffton came in third (133), while Benjamin Logan (139) and Wapakoneta (148) rounded out the top five teams. There were 15 schools in the boys Black Division race.
“It’s all about improving, and improving your times,” Holly said. “In order to be a good distance runner, you have to put in the time. If you don’t put in the time, then the results won’t happen.”
Individually, Shawnee junior Isaiah Johns won the Black Division race in a time of 16 minutes, 52.4 seconds on the 5,000-meter course around the Spencerville campus.
Johns, a Division II state-qualifier a year ago, gapped Fairview’s Treyvon Hastings in the first mile. Hastings did manage to close the distance in the final mile. However, Johns was able to keep a decent lead to the very end of the race. Hastings crossed the finish line in 17:07.9.
Wapakoneta’s Nate Metzger (17:14.9) finished third in a field of 160 runners.
“In that straightaway (early in the race), I was right behind him (Hastings). Then I just kind of took off, because I felt my endurance kick in,” Johns said.
Johns was pleased about Saturday’s time, but not satisfied.
“It’s not too bad. … I think I can do better. I just have to take it week by week,” he said.
Rounding out Shawnee’s scorers behind Johns were Noah Williams (fourth, 17:31.1), Justin Altenbach (fifth, 17:33.9), Carter Cleaves (22nd, 18:37.6) and Cole Lewis (34th, 19:30.4).
“That’s the key to distance running. … You don’t have to win the race,” Holly said. “You just have to keep your top five (runners) to seven (runners) close together. If you do that, then it translates into pretty good results.
“Running is a mental game. The first half to 2/3 of the race, you have to run with your head; and the last part (of the race), you run with your heart. So, you have to use your head and don’t burn out your candle.”
Ottawa-Glandorf’s first runner Saturday was Max Buddelmeyer (eighth, 17:57.1). Bluffton’s top runner was Sam Derstine (15th, 18:21.5). St. Marys’ top placer was Michael Crites (16th, 18:24.4). St. Marys finished seventh as a team.
Anthony Lutz led Lima Senior with an 18th-place finish (18:32.1). Sean Dancs led Elida with a 20th-place performance (18:36.1). In the team standings, Elida placed 10th, while Lima Senior was 14th.
In the girls Black Division, Shawnee finished second to a very strong Carey squad. Carey outscored Shawnee, 57-86. Ottawa-Glandorf was a close third (91). Decatur (Indiana) Bellmont placed fourth (103), while St. Marys came in fifth (125). There were 16 schools in the girls Black Division.
Carey’s Sarah Reinhart literally ran away from the field, en route to a winning time of 19:20.7.
O-G sophomore Alexa Fortman finished a distant second to Reinhart. Fortman crossed the finish line in 20:40.8.
Alaina Williams led Shawnee with a third-place finish (20:42.5).
Rounding out the top five runners for Shawnee were Molly Stump (fifth, 21:02.8), Hanna Watt (24th,23:24.3), Katie Curl (30th, 24:21.5) and Kacey Metzger (34th, 24:33.3). There were 106 finishers in the girls Black Division race.
Mariel Augsburger led Wapakoneta with a 10th-place finish (21:52.4). St. Marys’ top placer was Ellen Schloemer (13th, 22:01.3). Kira Stall led Bath with a 20th-place finish (23:15.4). Elida’s Ninzi Sackinger finished 21st (23:20.2).
In the Red Division (smaller schools) races, St. Henry edged out Botkins for the girls team title, 62-66. Delphos St. John’s finished third (82), while Antwerp (170) and Crestview (179) rounded out the top five squads in the 21-team field.
Waynesfield-Goshen standout Taylor Spencer ran away from the field in a winning time of 18:51.1.
In the boys Red Division race, Botkins won the team title with 31 points. Covington was second (58). Houston (112), Crestview (126) and Waynesfield-Goshen (204) rounded out the top five teams.
Perry standout Brayden Yingst won the Red Division race in a stellar time of 16:18.3.
Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0451.