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High School Sports

District cross country: Avon boys, Avon Lake girls end title droughts

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    Amherst Steele High School's Josh Hill runs in the NEO District Tournment and places first on Saturday morning, October 20 at Lorain County Community College.

    KRISTIN BAUER / CHRONICLE

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    Avon High School's Jett Wieber runs in the NEO District Tournment and places third on Saturday morning, October 20 at Lorain County Community College.

    KRISTIN BAUER / CHRONICLE

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    Cloverleaf High School's Max Gucker runs in the NEO District Tournment and places first on Saturday morning, October 20 at Lorain County Community College.

    KRISTIN BAUER / CHRONICLE

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ELYRIA — Two long droughts came to happy endings as the Amherst boys and Avon Lake girls won Division I titles at the district meet Saturday at Lorain County Community College.

Behind senior Josh Hill’s victory, the Amherst boys outdistanced defending champ St. Edward,

75-89, for its first district championship since 1990. With five runners in the Top 20, including three freshmen, the Avon Lake girls won their first district title since 1996 by holding off defending champ Avon, 62-68.

Hill’s win was his second district title in three years. He’s the first Amherst boy to win two district titles since Peter Kummant in 1973-74. His other district win was in 2016. Last year, Hill was second at the Elyria district to Strongsville’s Brian Wyler by 3.54 seconds.

The team championship was what impressed Hill the most, more so than his lopsided

45-second win over St. Edward senior Dan Conway, 15:59.74 to 16:45.27.

“I’m blown away,” said Hill. “I’m very excited. It wasn’t something we knew was going to happen. We knew there was a chance, but none of us were set on it. We all just had our best races. We all gave it our all. We kind of used last week (at the Southwestern Conference meet) as motivation to push ourselves even harder.

“It was amazing we could do that as a team, with all this competition that we could come out on top. All the training we put into this is like a paycheck. We put our money in the bank, then we take it out in championship season.”

Junior Matthew Kirsch (seventh, 17:04.27), sophomore Jacob Raesler (20th, 17:48.32), senior Devin Baumgartner (21st, 17:49.96) and junior Gabe Del Valle (26th, 17:55.70) rounded out the Comets’ top five.

Unofficially, Hill’s win ranks him the 19th-fastest boys runner on the LCCC cross country course. It was a course-best time for Hill by 3.55 seconds.

“I knew that we had the potential,” Amherst coach Rob Glatz said. “We obviously missed a great opportunity last week. We capitalized on it this week. We were hungry. Kirsch really stepped up. Our pack ran together and challenged each other. They were passing people the whole last half mile. I’m very excited.”

Behind sophomore Maggie Jantz (sixth, 20:09.11) and freshman Riley Mullen (seventh, 20:14.78), the Avon Lake girls ruled the district for the first time since it was a Division II program.

“Oh my gosh, it’s the best feeling,” Jantz said. “It’s exciting. We are all so happy. We were feeling good the entire week. We had some very strong workouts. Everybody was killing it. It clearly paid off.”

Junior Emma Sherban (12th, 20:45.50), freshman Erin Boland (17th, 20:54.81) and freshman Alli Starr (20th, 21:03.77) rounded out the Shoregals’ top five.

“I changed some of training early in the season,” Avon Lake coach Rob Juergens said. “The girls really weren’t responding to it very well. Some of our early-season races we didn’t look very good. Then I decided to go back with what I’m more comfortable with. It just seems like after that everything got very good. Last week, Avon ran a heck of a race with five runners in the Top 15. I thought we ran very well. Our girls have been running hard and gained some confidence. We got a young team with good leadership.”

Senior Jules Frombach (third, 20:00.97) and sophomore Jett Wieber (third, 16:46.89) of Avon both led their respective squads with solid performances.

Frombach’s efforts helped the Avon girls earn its sixth regional ticket in seven years.

“It was way better than last week,” Frombach said. “It was still muddy, but you didn’t have those huge puddles. The course is in way better condition. Our team is really coming together. Hopefully, we can keep it rolling.”

A 14-second PR and 46-second course PR by Wieber was impressive, but the Avon boys missed regional for only the second time in eight years. The Eagles finished just nine points behind Avon Lake (109-118) for the fourth and final qualifying spot.

“It felt amazing,” said Wieber. “My gameplan was to go out with the top five, going through that and then sprint it out at the end. We’ve trained hard this season and just had the right mindset. I didn’t to leave anything out there, no matter what the weather, the competition or the course conditions. I always know I can do better.”

Keystone freshman Stephen Faltay (16th, 17:22.54) and Brookside sophomore Alicia Fike (18th, 20:53.78) were the lone Lorain County regional qualifiers for Division II. Each overcame some stomach issues to advance.

“I had stomach pains the whole time,” said Faltay. “I ate (an apple) right before my race (90 minutes before). I came here and practiced the hill (Mount Washka) on Sunday. I thought I was totally prepared for it, but I struggled. I just made sure that I held my position. It feels good to qualify.”

“I threw up twice during my race, but I held on,” said Fike. “I overcame that. It was probably the breakfast I had (oatmeal and toast) three hours before my race. My raceplan was to go out fast and strong and try to stay with the girls I knew. I held on to my position pretty well.”

Contact Paul Heyse at 329-7135 or ctsports@chroniclet.com.

Boys

Division I

Top 4 teams advance to Boardman regional, Oct. 27

1, Amherst, 75; 2. St. Edward, 89; 3. Strongsville, 95; 4. Avon Lake, 109; 5. Avon, 118; 6. Lakewood, 137; 7. Westlake, 171; 8. Berea-Midpark, 212; 9. Olmsted Falls, 227; 10. Midview, 267; 11. North Ridgeville, 272; 12. North Olmsted, 311; 13. Elyria, 389

Regional qualifiers

1, Josh Hill (AM), 15:59.74; 2. Dan Conway (SE), 16:45.27; 3. Jett Wieber (AV), 16:46.89; 4. Cormac Peppard-Kramer (L), 16:57.42; 5. Alex Hauptman (SE), 17:00.55; 6. Ethan Brandt (BM), 17:02.01; 7. Matthew Kirsch (AM), 17:04.28; 8. Joe Backus (OF), 17:16.96; 9. Neil Mazzone (ST), 17:22.06; 10. Robert Callaway (M), 17:22.69; 11. Ryan Keller (AL), 17:24.41; 12. Colin Walsh (W), 17:32.17; 13. Tyler Housum (ST), 17:33.71; 14. Matt Henry (AL), 17:34.05; 15. Muhammad Abedelejaber (AV), 17:35.16; 16. Dan Conrich (SE), 17:36.93

Division II

Top 5 teams advance to Boardman regional, Oct. 27

1, Woodridge, 31; 2. Bay, 45; 3. Tallmadge, 146; 4. Cloverleaf, 161; 5. Rocky River, 179; 6. Fairview, 191; 7. Orrville, 225; 8. CVCA, 245; 9. Triway, 250; 10. Padua, 266; 11. Northwestern, 294; 12. Buckeye, 312; 13. Keystone, 327; 14. Holy Name, 345; 15. Firelands, 390; 16. Brookside, 403

Winner: Ivan Slyepkan (BA), 16:24.80

Local qualifier: 16. Stephen Faltay (K), 17:22.54

Other top local runners: 39. Dawson Maiden (K), 18:14.55; 63. Joel Pospisil (BR), 18:54.67

Girls

Division I

Top 5 teams advance to Boardman regional, Oct. 27

1, Avon Lake, 62; 2. Avon, 68; 3. Rocky River, 104; 4. Berea-Midpark, 120; 5. Amherst, 125; 6. Westlake, 147; 7. Strongsville, 169; 8. Lakewood, 246; 9. North Olmsted, 246; 10. Midview, 272; 11. Elyria, 272; 12. North Ridgeville, 283; 13. Olmsted Falls, 349

Regional qualifiers

1, Erica Francesconi (W), 19:19.36; 2. Samatha Coleman (RR), 19:51.31; 3. Jules Frombach (AV), 20:00.97; 4. Elia Russell (RR), 20:04.18; 5. Megan Vapenik (ST), 20:05.81; 6. Maggie Jantz (AL), 20:09.11; 7. Riley Mullen (AL), 20:14.78; 8. Emily Nemeth (E), 20:29.19; 9. Meadow Smith (AV), 20:37.29; 10. Kalyn Potyrala (AM), 20:39.81; 11. Teagan Walsh (W), 20:44.67; 12. Emma Sherban (AL), 20:45.50; 13. Madison Coppolino (AV), 20:47.02; 14. Morgan Jankowski (BM), 20:48.21; 15. Jane Roach (AV), 20:50.23; 16. Marquis Globokar (ST), 20:51.36; 17. Erin Boland (AL), 20:54.81; 18. Shura Ermakov (BM), 20:58.37; 19. Megan Thai (BM), 21:02.57; 20. Alli Starr (AL), 21:03.77

Division II

1, Beaumont, 64; 2. Woodridge, 102; 3. Bay, 119; 4. Tallmadge, 135; 5. Cloverleaf, 142; 6. Padua, 145; 7. Hathaway Brown, 154; 8. CVCA, 155; 9. Buckeye, 268; 10. Orrville, 277; 11. Triway, 309; 12. Brookside, 318; 13. Holy Name, 376; 14. Northwestern, 385; 15. Fairview, 388; 16. Keystone, 498

Winner: Addison Ciecierski (Beaumont), 19:21.28

Local qualifier: 18. Alicia Fike (BR), 20:53.27

Other top local runners: 29. Alessandra Davis (FI), 21:21.84; 41. Mackenzie Allsop (FI), 21:54.13; 62. Mackenzie Glass (BR), 22:42.54

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