OBETZ — Perry junior Braden Yingst put himself in a good position.
At Saturday’s Division III boys race at the Ohio High School Athletic Association State Cross Country Championships at Fortress Obetz and Memorial Park, Yingst got out quick and was in the lead pack for more than two miles of the 5,000-meter race.
However, in the final mile, the pack started to pull away from Yingst.
Yingst could not respond quick enough to the sudden surge from the lead pack. However, he stayed close enough for a ninth-place finish in a time of 16 minutes, 8.2 seconds. With his stellar performance, Yingst earned first team All-Ohio honors.
Fredericktown’s Thomas Caputo won the Division III race in 15:31.5.
Yingst went through the first mile in 4:54 and was a close second. By the two-mile mark, he was sitting in fifth at 10:03.
However, in the final mile-plus, the pack picked it up, and Yingst faded a little.
“I tried to stay in the lead, or close to the lead as much as I could,” Yingst said. “I was where I wanted to be; but that last mile, they really kicked hard and I didn’t have as much juice in my legs that last mile, like I usually do. My legs definitely wore out. They ran a great race. But first team All-Ohio is still a good accomplishment.”
Yingst was coming off a win at the Division III Tiffin regional last Saturday, where he pulled away from Minster’s Alex Albers in the latter part of the race, and clocked a time of 16:02.7.
At Saturday’s state meet, Albers placed 13th (16:16.5), earning All-Ohio recognition. As a team, Minster finished 11th.
“I knew it was going to be a quick first mile,” Yingst said about Saturday’s race. “I just tried to hold on, but they were just too quick today. I didn’t have the greatest race today.”
However, Yingst was pleased with the improvement from last year to this season.
“Jumping from 80th (place at last year’s state meet) to where I placed today, is definitely big,” Yingst said. “This gives me a lot of momentum for next year; and it definitely gives me a lot of momentum for track (in the spring).”
This season, Yingst won the Northwest Central Conference title, Division III district title at Columbus Grove, and the Division III regional crown at Tiffin.
“It was a great year,” Perry head coach Matt Pauff said. “No matter how you look at it, it was a great year. He’s a great kid. He had a great season. He ran great at regionals, and did very well down here. Hopefully, we can make it back next year and get him over the hump.”
notches sixth place
After notching the Division III regional title last Saturday at Tiffin, the Columbus Grove boys team recorded a sixth-place finish at Saturday’s state meet.
East Canton won the D-III team title with 126 points. Summit Country Day was second with 131 points. Mount Gilead (173), Holgate (200), Canton Central Catholic (200) and Columbus Grove (208) rounded out the top six squads in the 20-team field. Minster (11th, 269) and Lincolnview (18th, 425) were the other two area teams that competed Saturday in D-III. Daegan Hatfield led Lincolnview on Saturday with an 85th-place finish (17:16.3).
Caleb Stechschulte led Columbus Grove on Saturday with a 37th-place finish (16:41.3). Teammate Trent Koch was not far behind Stechschulte (41st, 16:44.6). Carson Closson was in striking distance of Koch, finishing 55th (16:52.3).
The rest of Columbus Grove’s pack included Tayden Pingle (91st, 17:18.3), Roy Langhals (125th, 17:41.5), Caleb Morman (131st, 17:44.6) and Derek Birkemeier (142nd, 18:06.3).
“It was seventh (place) that I saw on the (running) board for most of the race,” Columbus Grove boys head coach Terry Schnipke said in reference to the progression of the race. “It’s tough down here. It’s a whole different game. We had ideas about being in the top three (overall teams), but it’s tough to figure out East Canton. All year, they don’t look that great, and they come down here every year. They have experience, and they know what they’re doing.”
“We ran kind of our normal race,” Schnipke said about Saturday’s state race. “I think Tayden Pingle PR’d and maybe one other guy. Otherwise, we ran our normal race.
“We spent so much time this season, thinking about regionals. With us not making it out last year, we really wanted to prove ourselves at regionals. So, we may have put too many eggs in that basket. We won there (Tiffin regional), so the pressure was off a little. We still wanted to do good down here. Next year, I think we’ll focus more on the state race. We have just one senior in our top seven graduating. So, things look good for us.”
Stechschulte said the team ran pretty loose Saturday, after notching the regional title last weekend.
“I was hoping for a faster time, but I can’t complain too much,” Stechschulte said about the state race. “That helped (winning regionals), but I was still a little nervous today.”
Closson said last weekend’s regional title was a huge accomplishment for the program.
“It was really big,” he said. “We focused on regionals all year. We never thought about state until starting last week. We were focused all year on winning that regional meet.”
Other area boys
in D-III race
Upper Scioto Valley’s Zack Britton placed 39th (16:42.6). Coldwater’s Isaac Schoen finished 47th (16:47.1). Jackson Center’s Kellen Reichert came in 72nd (17:04.5). Bluffton’s Erik Nygaard came in 82nd (17:14).
Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0451.