Three local runners take center stage for the Division II boys race at Saturday’s Northeast District meet at Lorain County Community College.
Vermilion senior Nate Cremean, Elyria Catholic sophomore Marty Coolidge and Bay freshman Mike Brajdic lead the contenders for the top spot.
Cremean defeated Brajdic in four out of five meetings this season, including the West Shore Conference meet on Oct. 6. Neither has faced Coolidge this season, who has also run very well.
All three have posted times consistently around 16 minutes, 30 seconds for 5K. Cremean was third (17:55) and Coolidge seventh (18:13) at the 2006 Elyria District meet.
Bay is heavily favored to defend its Division II boys team title. Last year’s title was its eighth in 17 years as Bay defeated Elyria Catholic, 92-100. Bay and Avon are favored to qualify on the girls side for Division II.
The Amherst girls aim for their 17th regional berth in 18 years in Division I. Brunswick is Amherst’s No. 1 obstacle to the title. No. 2 state-ranked Medina is favored in the Division I boys race. Amherst, along with St. Edward and St. Ignatius, are among the top contenders.
District start times
The start times of the Elyria District meet on Saturday at LCCC is as follows: 1:05 p.m. - Girls Division II; 1:50 - Girls Division I; 2:35 - Boys Division II and 3:20 - Boys Division I.
For Division I girls, Division II boys and Division II girls, the top four teams and top 16 individuals qualify to the Tiffin Regional. For Division I boys, the top six teams and top 24 individuals advance.
Local Division I teams are: Admiral King, Amherst, Avon Lake, Elyria, Midview, North Olmsted, North Ridgeville, Olmsted Falls, Southview and Westlake. Area Division II teams are: Avon, Bay, Brookside, Clearview, Elyria Catholic, Firelands, Keystone, Vermilion and Wellington.
The Cleveland District meet is Saturday at Edgewater Park. The start times for Division III teams are 2 p.m. for Division III girls and 3:30 pm. for Division III boys. Local teams are Lake Ridge, Lutheran West and Open Door boys, and Black River and Columbia girls.
The top five girls teams and top three boys teams advance plus the top 20 individual girls and top 12 individual boys qualify to the Boardman Regional.
Close, but not best
The 21 points by Brecksville girls was impressive at last Saturday’s Southwestern Conference meet. It wasn’t the SWC meet record, however, as first reported. It remains the No. 2 performance in the 31-year history of the girls meet. Amherst scored 15 at the 1991 SWC meet on their way to a Division I state title that year. The Comets secured the top six spots on the day.
Fifteen is a perfect score in cross country. So at best, the Amherst record can only ever be tied.
Junior Amanda Winslow, who ran cross country freshman and sophomore years at Keystone and now at Collins Hill High (GA), is ranked No. 17 nationally by milesplit.com with a time of 17:42.
Winslow posted the performance on Sept. 29 at the fourth annual Mill Run at Clinton Farms in Western Douglas County, Georgia. She finished sixth at last year’s OHSAA Division II state meet in 18:53.
Victory was huge for the Black River boys team as it won its first conference title in 20 years at Saturday’s third annual Patriot Athletic Conference meet at the Lorain County Equestrian Center.
Black River placed five runners in the top 10 as it defeated two-time defending champ Buckeye, 23-40.
Seniors Robert Altenburger (17:45) and Brian Bush (17:52) finished 1-2 overall. Senior Dave Kindall (fourth, 18:20), senior Jim Randolph (sixth, 18:34) and freshman Matt Ross (10th, 18:47) also finished in the top 10 to earn All-PAC recognition (top 14).
Black River last won a league title back in 1987 when it was in the Firelands Conference. It also won titles from 1971-74 and in 1982.
The Black River boys team guns for their second straight regional berth and third in four years at Saturday’s Elyria District meet. Black River edged Rocky River last year for the fourth and final qualifying spot last year.
Altenburger, Bush, Kindall and Randolph were members of the 2004 and 2006 regional-qualifying teams.
The top four teams and top 16 individuals at Elyria qualify to the Tiffin Regional, which is slated for Oct. 27.
“The kids have begun to expect to do well. That is something we have worked hard to instill, the expectation of success,” said Black River coach Eric Yetter. “I believe that attitude carries over into every part of life, and it provides these kids with an advantage they wouldn’t otherwise have.”
Although they’ve never won a league title, the 2004 Black River girls team advanced to Division III regionals. The school wasn’t in a conference that year because the Mohican Area Conference had folded.
The Westlake girls team had several standout performances at Saturday’s SWC meet.
Several runners had course personal records: Sophia Kopasakis (23 seconds) and Lauren Ledek (-:27). Others set both course and overall 5K PR’s, including Alesha Beverly (1:09), Natalie Halczuk (2:00), Brittany Daniels (-:52), Cassie Gajda (-2:58), Hannah Zapfe (-1:12), Catherine Beaton (-1:56), Katya Howard (-1:27), Dani Harriger (-:43), and Kelley Koehler (-2:41).
Kopasakis is the first Westlake girls to earn back-to-back first team All-SWC honors since 1998. She set a new LCCC personal record that saw her go from the sixth fastest time ever run at this meet for a Westlake runner (which she earned last year) to the third fastest all-time.
“Lauren ran a terrific race,” said Westlake girls coach Travis Haselswerdt. “She was only 22nd place at the mile mark, but didn’t panic. By mile two she was in 11th place and finished ninth overall. She beat many other runners who had outperformed her throughout the season.”
Contact Paul Heyse at (866)
236-2865 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Players of the Week
Robert Altenberger, Black River
LAST WEEK: Won the Patriot Athletic Conference meet at the Lorain County Equestrian Trails in 17:45. His efforts helped the Pirates to win their first conference title since 1987.
OTHER SPORT: Track.
BIO: Altenburger was a member of Black River’s 2006 Division II regional-qualifying cross country team. He is a member of National Honor Society, student council and art club. Altenburger plays saxophone for the high school band. He is a member of Fellowship of Christian Students (FCS). Altenburger enjoys art and riding the Bible. He hopes to major in architecture in college and hopes to tie that in with landscape design. Altenburger has a 3.8-grade-point average.
PARENTS: Don and Beth Altenburger
Mandy Culley, Lutheran West
LAST WEEK: Finished fourth at the PAC meet in 21:30 as she helped the Longhorns finish second in the conference behind three-time defending champ Buckeye.
OTHER SPORT: Track.
BIO: Culley was a three-year volleyball player in middle school for Lakewood Lutheran, but decided cross country a try for the first time sophomore year. She was 15th at the 2006 PAC meet in 2006. Culley is also a member of Key Club, NHS and ski club. She also enjoys reading. Culley has a 4.0 GPA.
PARENTS: Dennis and Judy Culley