Cross country: Shawnee boys, Kenton girls win Bath Invitational

BATH TOWNSHIP — It’s nice for siblings to share.

In case of Shawnee’s Noah Williams and Alaina Williams, sharing has paid off.

Since the beginning of this cross-country season, the Williams siblings have shared the same headband. However, this wasn’t something the two of them planned out before the season began.

At Tuesday’s Bath Cross Country Invitational on the Bath school campus, Noah Williams ran away for the victory in the boys 5,000-meter race in a time of 16 minutes, 14.77 seconds. Then, when he finished, the junior standout gave his headband to his sister, before she began her race moments later.

Alaina Williams went on to dominate her race, winning in 19:23.99.

“It actually started this year,” Noah Williams said in reference to sharing headbands with his sister. “Our first race (of the season), my sister forgot her headband. So, she asked for mine. Then she ran one of her best times. So, now it’s kind of a little superstition that runs in our family.”

Both siblings also shared the same race strategy Tuesday.

Noah Williams jumped out to a commanding lead over the rest of the pack, early on, and was never challenged. Teammate Carter Cleaves was the closest competitor, finishing second in 16:49.92.

As a team, Shawnee won the boys team title, just edging out Bath, 42-45. Wapakoneta (61), Kenton (109) and Spencerville (136) rounded out the top five squads in a nine-team field.

The rest of the top five runners for Shawnee included Scottie Burden (10th, 18:08.83), Ty Schaub (15th, 18:51.05) and Thomas Cover (19th, 19:00.92).

Noah Williams was coming off a stellar performance at this past Saturday’s Van Wert Health Cross Country Invitational, where he won in a personal-best time of 15:48.

“It felt really good,” Williams said about Tuesday’s victory. “We’re out here in different (weather) conditions. … It was raining, right before we started. But I figured that everyone is running in these conditions. So, I figured I would just do the best that I could. It’s a Tuesday meet, and we’re running for a trophy. … That was my motivation.”

Behind Williams and Cleaves in the boys race, were Wapakoneta’s Axton Fosnaugh (third, 17:03.80), Spencerville’s Lanny Oakman (fourth, 17:32.55) and Bath’s Jacob Wireman (fifth, 17:41.24).

There were 91 finishers in the boys race.

Bath placed all five of its scorers in the top 14 spots.

Behind Wireman was Landon Jones (eighth, 17:50.80), Jaden Ryan (11th, 18:36.52), Connor Raines (13th, 18:45.30) and Treg Sibert (14th, 18:48.02).

On the girls side, Kenton freshman Addi Manns finished nearly 30 full seconds behind Alaina Williams, crossing the finish line second in 19:53.45.

Alaina Williams, a senior, said she wanted to get out fast in Tuesday’s race. By the first mile, she had a good 100-meter lead on the rest of the field.

However, Williams admitted that she did not realize how large of a lead she had.

“I had no clue,” she said with a grin. “Every time I would run past (a group of spectators), I would hear them cheer for the other girls. After Noah won, I was kind of motivated to win, too. So, I wanted to get as much of a lead as I could, just in case.”

Alaina Williams won the Bath Cross Country Invitational when she was a freshman.

Elida’s Emily Durham (third, 20:51.05), Kenton’s Leah Harder (fourth, 20:59.27) and Quinlyn Spearman (fifth, 21:05.05) rounded out the top five runners. There were 62 finishers in Tuesday’s girls race.

Kenton notched the team title with 30 points, while Shawnee placed second with 51 points. Waynesfield-Goshen (81), Ottoville (92) and Elida (102) rounded out the five full teams in the girls race.

Longtime Shawnee head coach Russ Holly was pleased at his team’s performances Tuesday. However, Holly said he is planning for the future as well.

“What we’re training for is the league (Western Buckeye League Championships), which is in a few weeks,” Holly said. “Then after that, you’ve got the big dance (district tournament). … So, we’ve got to keep working.

“They’re getting there. I’ve got some guys who are young to the sport and they’re learning. So, the pack is the key. … That’s what it’s all about.”

Mark Altstaetter wrote this story for The Lima News. Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0451.