High School Sports

High school cross country: Amherst's Josh Hill headed back to state for third straight year; Columbia's Matt Pettegrew and Madeline Finton making their first trips

  • Josh-Hill-Amherst

    Amherst's Josh Hill



    Columbia's Matt Pettegrew.



BOARDMAN — Feeling excited about a second straight second?

Josh Hill will second that emotion.

The Amherst senior was runner-up for the second year in a row at the Division I regional cross country meet at Boardman High School to advance to the state tournament at Hebron’s National Trail Raceway for a third straight season. He ran a 16:04.64 to trail only Warren Howland senior Vincent Mauri (15:51.00).

“It was good. I executed it perfectly,” Hill said of his race plan. “I went out a little quick, but that’s what I’m going to need to do next weekend. The conditions were tough. The course was probably 30 seconds slow, but everybody experienced the same conditions.”

Hill is Lorain County’s first three-time boys individual state qualifier since Elyria Catholic’s Marty Coolidge (2007-09).

Two Columbia runners also qualified for state Saturday in Division III. Matt Pettegrew, a junior, is the first Raiders boy to make state since Michael Griffiths in 1991. He also finished second in 17:09.43 as East Canton junior Demetrius Snellenberger (16:46.00) took the title.

In the girls race, freshman Madeline Finton ran a 20:42.56 to finish seventh out 12 individual qualifiers.

She’s the first Raiders girl to make state since Karin Coyne, who made it in 2004 and ’05.

“I’m a little surprised,” Pettegrew said. “I was hoping to finish around seventh or eighth. I’m glad I was able to hold on to second.”

Pettegrew had reason to be a little shocked having finished just fourth at the Medina district. Also, he had to overcome memories of last year’s regional when he was in contention for a top-16 spot only to struggle coming in and ending up 18th, 10 seconds from qualifying.

“I wanted to make sure I had a chance in the race so I made sure not to get stuck behind a big group of people,” Pettegrew said. “I didn’t think I was going to blow the race myself. If someone was going to catch me they were going to have to work hard to do it. Last year, I fell apart around the last mile. I was kind of disappointed and upset. I wanted to do better. I didn’t want that to happen again. I just had to know where to attack and to be ready to respond.”

Columbia coach Adam Bailey was pleasantly surprised, as well.

“I have to be honest I didn’t think he as going to place that high,” Bailey said. “I knew he was going to take top 16. I knew he was going to go to state. He ran the race of his life. I’m super proud of him. He looked super strong the whole time. He usually doesn’t have a kick and he blew that kid (McDonald’s Connor Symbolik, 17:12.20) away at the end of the last 400.

“He hasn’t been able to lot speed work this year because he’s been dealing with a quad injury most of the year. He finally got that fixed and he got that in at the end.”

Finton was thrilled to be going to state.

“It feels like a dream come true,” she said. “I just had to keep telling myself this is what I wanted to do and I made it happen. I was just very confident with how I did at districts. This is just incredible. This year I learned how to push through the pain and not give up.”

The Amherst boys almost made state as a team. The Comets were in seventh midway through the race before slipping back to ninth. The top seven teams qualified.

“I’m very proud of my entire team,” Amherst coach Rob Glatz said. “Back in June we set the goal to compete at regionals and form a strong team bond. Both of those goals were accomplished this season. Josh had another incredible race and will continue to progress throughout this championship season. He will finally have fresh legs at the state meet and we’re excited to see what he can do.

The Elyria Catholic boys team was the top overall local finisher with a sixth in Division III, scoring 169 points. Maplewood had 114 to earn the fourth and final qualifying spot.

Sophomore Matt Krese led EC with a 22nd-place finish out of 102 runners in 18:04.30.

“I got my race plan down and went out pretty strong,” Krese said. “I felt like I was able to maintain it the whole way. The rest of our guys pretty much did their plan, too, by going out strong. It was pretty muddy, especially going around the pinpoint turns. I saw a couple people slip. We gave it our all.”

It was not an easy day for the area girls in Division I as Avon Lake (13th, 349), Avon (16th, 361) and Amherst (23rd, 504) finished out of the money. The Division I girls had it especially tough being the last of six races on the day and having to deal with an exceptionally chewed up course.

Avon Lake sophomore Maggie Jantz was the top area finished, taking 43rd in 20:49.73.

“It was brutal,” Jantz said. “That course was in bad shape. I think I went out way too fast. I went out in seventh place. I was worried I would get blocked in. Our starting block was so inside I was afraid I was going to get blocked in. As a result I was already feeling very beat by the mile so I’m kind of kicking myself. I don’t know if it would have made much a difference. There are some amazing runners out here.”

Last year, the Avon girls were 11th at the regional with Jules Frombach leading the way in 30th place (19:38.20) as Lorain County’s top finisher. Saturday was a different story. Frombach struggled and finished 63rd in 21:07.16 as her team’s No. 2 runner behind sophomore Meadow Smith (46th, 20:51.64).

“It was pretty rough,” said Frombach, a four-time regional qualifier. “The ground was very squishy and soft. It wasn’t a place or anything I wanted. It is what it is. This region is very tough and we knew it would be very hard (with eight state-ranked teams) coming in.”

Vermilion’s See advances to Division II state meet

TIFFIN – Vermilion sophomore Luke See earned a ticket to Saturday’s Division II state meet. He was ninth out of 12 individual state qualifiers at Saturday’s Tiffin regional at Hedges Boyer Park with a time of 16:35.98. Lexington senior Kyle Johnston won the race in 15:32.89.

The state berth was a bit of a surprise as See was only 12th of 20 qualifiers a week earlier at the Galion district in a time of 17:06.2. See is the Vermilion boys’ first state qualifier since Nate Rodriguez in 2008.

Contact Paul Heyse at (440) 329-7145 or


Division I

(Top seven teams, top 28 individuals qualify to Saturday’s state meet)

1, Hudson, 65; 2. Massillon Jackson, 112; 3. St. Ignatius, 167; 4. Medina, 184; 5. University School, 189; 6. Louisville, 215; 7. Kenston, 223; 8. Solon, 225. Local teams: 9. Amherst, 264; 20. Avon Lake, 605. Out of 23 teams.

Individual results

Winner: 1. Vincent Mauri (Howland), 15:51.00

Local state qualifier: 2. Josh Hill (Amherst), 16:04.64

Other top local runners: 42. Matt Kirsch (Amherst), 17:17.73; 58. Robert Callaway (Midview), 17:39.28; 82. Jacob Nasr (Avon Lake), 17:5.783;

91. Devin Baumgartner (Amherst), 18:03.94; 94. Jett Wieber (Avon), 18:04.89; 98. Jacob Raesler (Amherst), 18:05.40; 101. Ryan Keller (Avon Lake), 18:06.25; 103. Cael Walker (Amherst), 18:08.37113. Matt Henry (Avon Lake), 18:13.83

Division II

(Top six teams, top 24 individuals qualify to Saturday’s state meet)

1, Woodridge, 55; 2. Akron SVSM, 63; 3. Bay, 92; 4. Tuslaw, 196; 5. Salem, 212; 6. Chardon NDCL, 225. Out of 19 teams.

Individual results

Winner: 1. Alex Phillips (SVSM), 16:31.22

Local runner: 72. Stephen Faltay (Keystone), 18:25.90

Division III

(Top four teams, top 16 individuals qualify to Saturday’s state meet)

1, East Canton, 55; McDonald, 64; 3. Gilmour Academy, 78; 4. Maplewood, 114; 5. Mapleton, 140; 6. Elyria Catholic, 169; 7. Canton CC, 208; 8. United, 210; 9. Columbia, 211. Out of 12 teams

Individual results

Winner: 1. Demetrius Snellenberger (East Canton), 16:46.00

Local state qualifier: 2. Matt Pettegrew (Columbia), 17:09.43

Other top local runners: 22. Matt Krese (Elyria Catholic), 18:04.30; 46. Ian Smith (Elyria Catholic), 18:41.17; 47. Zach Smith (Elyria Catholic), 18:41.72; 49. Jared Swartz (Columbia), 18:45.75; 59. Connery Van Dyke (Elyria Catholic), 18:59.02; 62. Jackson Zsigray (Elyria Catholic), 19:06.98; 69. Brian Barta (Columbia), 19:23.85; 71. Kevin Theile (Elyria Catholic), 19:25.48


Division I

Top seven teams, top 28 individuals qualify to Saturday’s state meet)

1, Medina, 103; 2. Massillon Jackson, 156; 3. Green, 183; 4. Brunswick, 196; 5. Wadsworth, 213; 6. Hudson, 225; 7. Louisville, 227; 8. St. Joseph Academy, 236. Local teams: 13. Avon Lake, 349; 16. Avon, 361; 23. Amherst, 504. Out of 24 teams.

Individual results

Winner: 1. Emily Bardwell (Brunswick), 18:50.23

Top local runners: 43. Maggie Jantz (Avon Lake), 20:49.73; 46. Meadow Smith (Avon), 20:51.64; 49. Riley Mullen (Avon Lake), 20:53.10; 60. Victoria Bailey (Amherst), 21:06.12; 63. Jules Frombach (Avon), 21:07.16; 78. Madison Coppolino (Avon), 21:15.41; 81. Erin Boland (Avon Lake), 21:16.34; 102. Kalyn Potyrala (Amherst), 21:31.60; 104. Emma Sherban (Avon Lake), 21:34.55; 112. Abby Sidloski (Avon), 21:41.78; 115. Emily Nemeth (Elyria), 21:43.15

Division II

(Top six teams, top 24 individuals qualify to Saturday’s state)

1, Akron SVSM), 84; 2. Beaumont, 106; 3. Hawken, 154; 4. Ashtabula Edgewood, 196; 5. Woodridge, 201; 6. Chagrin Falls, 208. Out of 20 teams.

Individual results

Winner: 1. Ella Gilson (Hawken), 18:55.49

Local runner: 75. Alicia Fike (Brookside), 21:53.78

Division III

(Top three teams, top 12 individuals qualify to Saturday’s state meet)

1, Gilmour Academy, 2. McDonald, 81; 3. Mineral Ridge, 106; 4. Independence, 110. Out of 11 teams

Individual results

Winner: 1. Miranda Stanhope (Badger), 19:29.62

Local state qualifier: 7. Madeleine Finton (Columbia), 20:42.56

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