By Joe Ostrica
Both of Bay’s cross country teams and two individuals will compete at the cross country state championship meet this weekend in Columbus. The Bay boys placed second overall at the Division II regional meet at Tiffin Saturday. The Rockets scored 110 points, just edging out third-place finishers Van Wert (111) and trailing champion Lexington (57).
The Lady Rockets finished third overall with 131 points, trailing champions Lexington (52) and runner-up Wauseon (110). Avon junior Erin Laird qualified for her first state appearance after placing 11th overall at the Division I girls race with a time of 6:13.4. Lutheran West junior Michaela Bierly advanced in Division III competition, landing 14th for the final qualifying spot with a time of 6:35.4. Bierly is the first Lutheran West runner to qualify to the state meet since Jessie Graham qualified in 1998.
Bay junior Jack Hautz led the Rockets with a ninth-place finish with a time of 5:22.9. Junior Kyle MacMillan (5:32.4) and sophomore Jamie Dailey (5:33.0) finished among the top 20, placing 18th and 19th, respectively. Senior Isaac Mertic (28th, 5:35.2), sophomore Evan Britton (54th, 5:45.1), freshman Danny Desmond (64th, 5:48.1) and senior Matt Orr (82nd, 5:57.2) wrapped up the scoring for Bay.
Fairview finished 14th in the Division II boys race and was led by Stephen Cartier’s 35th overall finish with a time of 5:38.5. Connor Kilbane (68th, 5:50.8) and Jack Palisin (83rd, 5:57.8) were among the top three finishers for the Warriors. Brookside senior Creighton Jensen finished 38th overall with a time of 5:39.1.
The Lady Rockets were led by sophomore Amanda Cusimano (6:21.2) and junior Abby Christel (6:23.1), who placed fifth and sixth, respectively, overall. Junior Olivia Bechtel (18th, 6:35.8), senior Maddie Voiers (59th, 6:58.9) and freshman Aubrey Crabb (63rd, 7:00.8) rounded out the top five finishers for Bay.
Joining Laird in the Division I girls race, Avon’s Haley Parker (24th, 6:31.4), Lakewood’s Mallory Shaw (30th, 6:34.4), Westlake’s Meredith Hansen (45th, 6:39.5), North Olmsted’s Emily Johr (46th, 6:39.6), Olmsted Falls’ Sarah Makari (48th, 6:41.0) and Rocky River’s Anna Brandt (50th, 6:42.3) placed among the top 50.
Rocky River’s Brandon Williams led local Division I boys runners, placing 21st overall with a time of 5:23.9. Rocky River’s Charlie Swartz (29th, 5:27.0), Avon’s Sean Kane (39th, 5:31.0), Avon’s Christian Alexander (53rd, 5:36.5), Lakewood’s Ty’Saun Blevins (56th, 5:37.3) and Avon’s Joey Yanoska (60th, 5:39.7) placed among the top half of the pack.
Alex Jarufe represented North Olmsted and placed 63rd overall with a time of 5:40.1. Avon Lake’s Charles Connolly finished 65th with a time of 5:40.5. Fellow Shoreman Alex Holtz (79th, 5:45.8) also competed. Lakewood’s Henry Bish (74th, 5:43.6) and Rocky River’s Ethan Heald (76th, 5:44.1) placed among the top 80. Westlake was represented by Nick Irwin, who finished with a time of 5:53.2.
Bierly helped Lutheran West’s girls team finish ninth overall in the Division III competition. Amanda Elkisn was the team’s second finisher (49th, 7:04.3), besting her 2013 regional finish by two minutes. Anna Maxwell, MaQuila Norman and Emily Giguere rounded out the top five for the team.
“The ladies enjoyed an amazing season in 2014,” Lutheran West head coach Anjanette Whitman said. “Some of the highlights included winning the Cloverleaf Invitational and earning top honors as the Patriot Athletic Conference team champions. All the ladies set new personal record 5K times.
“We are very proud of the how they came together this season. They started as just a group of ladies running to a team of competitors chasing after a common goal focused on success. The best part of it all was how they encouraged each other along the way. They finished each race wanting to accomplish more the next time. That is the type of team that will continue to build upon itself which is very exciting.”