By Cory Sager
Three's the magic number for Columbian
Both the TC boys and girls finished third at Northern Ohio League meet.
Columbian boys used a 2-3-8 punch to finish behind NOL champs Norwalk (52) and Bellevue (58) with 70 points.
|Northern Ohio League Championships|
|Norwalk 52, Bellevue 58, Columbian 70, Willard 73, Shelby 92, Sandusky 186|
|1. Quentin Howell (Nor) 16:25; 2. Brandon Gibson (TC) 16:31; 3. Chris Gates (TC) 16:45; 4. Andrew Beier (Bell) 16:50; 5. Michael Gonzales (Shel) 16:57; 6. Matt Leis (Will) 17:02; 7. Brady Deaner (Will) 17:11; 8. Isaiah Gilmer (TC) 17:12; 9. Dylan Farmborough (Bell) 17:14; 10. Collin Bickerstaff (Norwalk) 17:23|
|Columbian: 27. Tyler Mesnard 18:27; 30. Adam Young 19:04; 43. Adam Forrest 19:40; 55. Oliver Stevens 20:34; 63. Evyn Stevens 21:34|
Junior Brandon Gibson hung with Norwalk's Quentin Howell for about 4,600 meters before Howell unleashed a furious kick to outdistance Gibson, 16:25-16:31.
"(I felt) pretty good; I wish I would have got him but it's my first year (running cross country)," said Gibson.
Teammate Chris Gates came in next, finishing 14 seconds back (16:45).
"It ties my PR (personal record) and on a tougher course, so I think that's extremely gratifying. I felt great, I knew going into the race I just had to hang with these guys and they would carry me through."
Columbian's lone senior Isaiah Gilmer finished his final league meet in eighth (17:12).
"I wanted to do better, but I gave everything I had," Gilmer said.
Columbian's head coach John Kihorany knew it would be a battle with Norwalk. "We knew that going in, they were the leaders of the pack and put themselves ahead of everybody else. We're the only team that can claim we had three (runners) in the top eight," said Kihorany.
Tyler Mesnard (24th, 18:27) and Adam Young (36th, 19:04) rounded out the top five for the Tornadoes.
The focus now moves into the postseason.
"We have districts next week which is going to be a tough race, but I think we have a good shot of competing well," Kihorany said.
Columbian's girls (78) also took third finishing behind Shelby (76) and Bellevue, who dominated with just 20 points.
"We were definitely trying for that second place spot. We had some good races today and had some races below what we wanted. We had a freshman lead our team today; that's awesome," Hintze said.
Bellevue's Ericka Hosang ran alone the entire way, winning in 19:35, 34 seconds over runner-up Sydney Fetherolf of Norwalk. Columbian freshman Cassandra Gooding was the first to cross the finish for the Tornadoes, ending 14th (21:59).
"Cassandra Gooding ran very well, she started out the year as our No. 7 runner and today she was the first to cross the line for us," Hintze said.
Gooding wasn't the only freshman to run well today. Columbian's Amanda Schwartz finished 17th (22:14) and Lexi Desjardins was 22nd (22:30).
"We had three freshman in our top five. We're definitely very young and only have two seniors on varsity this year. It's definitely a good sign going into the next few years," Hintze said.
Chandler Carley added in a 15th (22:10) while Hannah Musil was 20th (22:23).
When talking about the post-season, Hintze stated, "We are definitely going to have to have a good race to make it out (of districts). We're in the number 4 or 5 spot right now so we are very capable."
Columbian boys race in the Division I district race at Oregon Clay while the girls head to Galion to take part in the Division II race.