COLUMBUS GROVE — Ottawa-Glandorf’s cross country program is peaking at the right time.
Last Saturday, Ottawa-Glandorf swept the Western Buckeye League Championships, winning the girls and boys team titles.
This Saturday, O-G continued its dominance, as it swept the Division II district meet at Columbus Grove.
This marks the first time O-G has won district team titles in cross country.
In the girls race, Ottawa-Glandorf won the team title with 59 points. Celina (92) and Kenton (100) finished second and third, respectfully. There were 11 full teams in the Division II girls race.
In the girls Division II race, the top three teams, along with the top 12 overall finishers advanced to next Saturday’s regional meet at Tiffin’s Hedges-Boyer Park.
On Saturday, O-G senior Alexa Fortman avenged last weekend’s loss at the WBL Championships to Celina standout Kaylie Dameron, as she pulled away late in the race, en route to a winning time of 18 minutes, 24.6 seconds on the 5,000-meter course that traversed around the Columbus Grove school campus. That winning time for Fortman was a personal best. Dameron, a three-time WBL champion, finished second in 18:50.6.
The rest of O-G’s scorers included Madelyn Hovest (seventh, 19:51.5), Olivia Fenbert (14th, 21:15.1), Corinne Closson (16th, 21:22.5) and Anna Buddelmeyer (21st, 21:48.8).
Fortman began to pull away in the second half of Saturday’s race. Fortman did not realize how much of a gap she had made.
“I honestly didn’t know (when she began to separate from Dameron),” Fortman said. “I just kind of focused on what was ahead of me. I was really just trusting God for all things to work out, time or place. … (I was just) running relaxed and just focusing on Him.
“Last week (at WBL Championships), I really didn’t run my race. This week, I just focused on getting out, running and just focusing on God; and just relying on Him to see me through.”
Other area Division II runners that advanced to regionals Saturday were Kenton’s Addi Manns (fifth, 19:36.3) and Leah Harder (eighth, 19:52.9), Celina’s Jennalee Dameron (sixth, 19:43.2), Van Wert’s Kyra Welch (11th, 20:45.6) and Defiance’s Mira Horvath (12th, 21:03.8).
On the boys side, Ottawa-Glandorf slipped past WBL foe Bath, 67-84 for the Division II district crown. Wauseon (116) finished third, while Van Wert came in fourth (117) in the 12-team field.
In the boys D-II race Saturday, the top four teams, along with the top 16 overall placers, advanced to next Saturday’s D-II regional at Tiffin.
Bryan’s Xander Fackler won the D-II boys race in 15:59.5.
Leading the O-G boys squad Saturday was sophomore Ty Rosengarten with a fourth-place finish (16:31.8).
Rounding out the top five runners for O-G were Ty Buckland (seventh, 16:56.7), Isaac Macke (17th, 17:23.3), Cooper Fischer (18th, 17:26) and Hunter Stechschulte (21st, 17:44.7).
Rosengarten, who has led the Titans all season, said he was happy with his performance Saturday, but not totally satisfied.
“Place-wise, it’s OK. … Next week, it really matters,” Rosengarten said with a smile.
Rosengarten praised one of his teammates on how well he stepped up Saturday.
“Not only did we win today, but Isaac Macke had a big PR (personal record); and that’s what we’ve been looking for all season,” Rosengarten said. “Next week is going to feel even better. … (Going to) state is the goal.”
O-G head coach Holly Flueckiger was elated about her program’s performance Saturday.
“We said all the little things at practice,” Flueckiger said with a grin. “You have to focus on your nutrition and positivity. … That’s been like that all year. You have to stay positive, because if you become negative, it’s going to show up during the race. They work hard at practice. They take care of their bodies. They stay hydrated. They do all the little things we ask of them.”
Bath’s top runner Saturday was Jacob Wireman (sixth, 16:53.5).
Area D-II runners who advanced individually Saturday were St. Marys’ Tyler Birt (fifth, 16:44.4) and Calvin Morris (10th, 17:02.3), Defiance’s Josiah Gonzales (eighth, 16:58), Celina’s Colin Buening (ninth, 16:58.1) and Conor Krogman (16th, 17:19.6) and Coldwater’s Mason Ayers (15th, 17:15.1).
Minster registers a perfect score
The Minster girls team placed its top five runners in the top five spots in Saturday’s race, en route to recording a perfect score (15 points) in the Division III, District 1 meet. There were two Division III districts at Columbus Grove on Saturday.
In the Division III, District 1 race, the top four teams, along with the top 16 individual placers, advanced to next weekend’s regional at Tiffin.
Parkway (86), New Bremen (100) and Lincolnview (105) rounded out the top four squads in the District 1 race.
Minster’s top five runners included Margaret Hemmelgarn (first, 19:35.9), Taylor Roth (second, 19:43.6), Maria Niekamp (third, 19:43.6), Annie Hemmelgarn (fourth, 19:43.8) and Chaney Cedarleaf (fifth, 19:43.9).
Last fall, Minster won the Division III state title.
“The goals are always the same – just advance to next week,” longtime Minster girls head coach Jessie Magoto said. “But of course, we want them to work on feeding off each other. … It’s amazing what happens when they do that. They ran really well, today.”
Other area runners that advanced to the regional meet as individual qualifiers were Waynesfield-Goshen’s Taylor Spencer (10th, 20:17.4), Bluffton’s June Essinger (12th, 20:30.1) and New Knoxville’s Ariyah Pfenning (13th, 20:55).
For Lincolnview, freshman Brynleigh Moody led the way with an eighth-place finish (20:00.2).
boys win crown
The Columbus Grove boys team rebounded from last week’s second-place finish to Lincolnview at the Northwest Conference Championships by winning the Division III, District 1 title Saturday.
Columbus Grove defeated Marion Local, 37-66 for the title. Minster finished third with 86 points in the nine-team field.
The top three teams, along with the top 12 individual placers, advanced to next Saturday’s regional at Tiffin.
Trent Koch led Columbus Grove on Saturday with a fourth-place finish (16:39.5). Teammate Luke Ellerbrock was close behind in fifth (16:48.3). Rounding out the rest of Columbus Grove’s scorers were Evan Pitts (sixth, 16:51.1), Bryce Bonifas (ninth, 17:04.2) and Logan Mershman (14th, 17:34.8).
“I wanted to be up there a little higher, but I’m still OK with it – with the windy conditions,” Koch said. “All in all, it was a good race.”
Longtime Columbus Grove boys head coach Terry Schnipke said his team regrouped after last week’s NWC meet.
“Lincolnview is good. … There is no doubt,” Schnipke said. “Give Lincolnview credit. They ran well (at last Saturday’s NWC Championships). They’re well-coached. We have a lot of mutual respect.
“Obviously, we hate giving up that NWC crown on our home course (last Saturday). So, it probably gave us a chance to refocus a little bit this week, and take care of business today.”
Last fall, Columbus Grove placed fourth at the Division III state meet.
On Saturday, Fort Recovery’s Trevor Heitkamp won the Division III, District 1 race in 16:16. Upper Scioto Valley senior Joe Parker finished second in 16:27.1.
“My hamstrings have been a little tight this week,” Parker said. “So, I decided I was going to go out and run the first two miles hard, and then back it down on the last one. … I figured that would at least get me to qualify.
“I’m pretty happy. I didn’t expect (finishing) top three, running that way. But I’ll take it.”
Individually, Kalida’s Colin Heitmeyer (eighth, 17:02.2) advanced to regionals Saturday.
win D-III, District 2 title
The Lincolnview boys team was coming off a big win at last Saturday’s NWC Championships.
At Saturday’s Division III, District 2 meet at Columbus Grove, the Lancers picked up where they left off last weekend by winning the title.
Lincolnview edged out NWC foe Bluffton for the title Saturday, 44-50. New Bremen notched the third and final team qualifying spot (54). There were 10 full teams in the District 2 race.
Along with the top three teams, the top 12 individuals qualified for the regional meet in Tiffin.
Lincolnview’s top five runners were Conner Baldauf (fourth, 16:44), Kreston Tow (sixth, 17:02.7), Evan Johns (seventh, 17:06), Kaleb Denman (ninth, 17:34.2) and Ethan Scaggs (18th, 18:16.9).
“The boys had a good day,” longtime Lincolnview head coach Matt Langdon said. “We had one of our top five guys not run today. So, we were still able to win against Bluffton, and against New Bremen, who won the MAC. It was good to beat those teams. We were not 100 percent, but we will be.”
The Bluffton duo of Landon Armstrong (16:05) and Erik Nygaard (16:06.9) finished first and second, respectively, Saturday.
Armstrong and Nygaard have battled for the top spot in most of their races this season; and Saturday was no exception.
“Erik led it for more than two miles,” Armstrong said. “Then at the turn (coming around the final loop), I got past him. I was worried to get out in front of him, because he was cruising.”
Nygaard said he attempted to overtake Armstrong in the final stretch.
“He (Armstrong) got a little bit of a gap on me on the track (final 300 meters). I tried to pick it up the last 200 (meters), but couldn’t pass him. … But it was a good race,” Nygaard said with a grin.
Other area runners that advanced to regionals Saturday were Spencerville’s Lanny Oakman (third, 16:19.9) and Parkway’s Tyler Rowen (10th, 17:35.5).
In the girls Division III, District 2 race, Patrick Henry (33), Fort Recovery (62) and St. Henry (80) were the three teams that qualified for regionals.
Fort Recovery’s Natalie Brunswick won the Division III, District 2 race in 19:11.8.
Area runners that finished in the top 12 spots and advanced were Kalida’s Andrea Burgei (third, 19:37.6), Columbus Grove’s Sarah Kamphaus (sixth, 20:34.2) and Lily Montgomery (seventh, 20:51.8), Brezlynn Rohr of Delphos St. John’s (ninth, 21:05.2) and Crestview’s Anna Gardner (12th, 21:09.6).
Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0451.