By Patrick Elder
For the second year in a row, the Bay girls cross country team won the West Shore Conference championships, beating out second-place finisher, Avon 31-52. Rockets junior Maddie Britton won the race with a time of 18:39.94, a personal record.
While not expecting too much because of the muddy conditions, Bay head coaches Danielle Harkins and Anne Purdy-Ashley were pleasantly surprised by their girls’ performances.
“We were obviously looking for a win,” co-head coach Danielle Harkins said, “but we were really looking for a good meet for all of our girls.”
Not a single one of the varsity seven for Bay finished below 17th. Freshman Abby Christel finished third (19:19.45), junior Hallie Bechtel finished seventh (19:46.84), sophomore Maddie Voiers finished eighth (19:54.20), freshman Olivia Bechtel finished 12th (20:09.77), junior Alyse Arko finished 15th (20:34.48), and freshman Hailey Russell finished 17th (20:42.38).
“This is a serious confidence booster going into next week’s districts,” Purdy-Ashley said. “You never know there; we’ve got some really good teams like last year’s state champ Brunswick and Magnificat. They’re all very talented, so we’re just going to put together our best performance.”
After second place Avon came Rocky River with 72 points. Pirates senior Madison Connelly finished second overall with a time of 18:59.60, while freshman Chloe Bierut came in fifth at 19:42.04. However, no other Rocky River runner came in the top 20.
Rocky River head coach Laura Brabant was happy with her team’s performance, especially on a wet, muddy course.
“A good number of girls had a career personal record today, which is great on a day that’s a little muddy,” she said. “It’s nice for the girls to get the opportunity to run these kinds of times before districts next week at LCCC, which is a historically slow course.”
In fourth-place with 86 points, was Lakewood, paced by junior Maeve Christie, who came in 11th place with a time of 20:05.85. Junior Alyssa Hasman (20:40.48, 16th place), freshman Cate Schleckman (20:45.59, 18th place), junior Grace Latham (20:46.94, 19th place), senior Hannah Gregory (21:20.74, 24th place), sophomore Mikayla Harper (21:36.15, 27th place), and junior Yasmeen Shafik (21:43.80, 29th place) rounded out Lakewood’s varsity seven.
Bay’s boys finished second behind a loaded Avon team. Despite expecting such an outcome, head coach Steve Babson was still disappointed in his team’s performance. “You never quite know what to expect, but I did expect them to do better,” he said. “I’m a little disappointed.”
Bay was led by senior Griffin Thompson (16:41.54), who came in seventh place overall. Coming in ninth, 11th and 13th respectively, were freshman Jack Hautz (17:07.12), and seniors Aric Diamond (17:08.17) and James Fell (17:14.67). Rounding out the top seven were sophomore Isaac Mertic (17:34.96, 19th place) and juniors Jeremy Gillespie (17:36.69, 21st place) and Henri Adams (17:37.46, 22nd place).
“We came in second, which is fine, because Avon ran exceptionally well,” Babson said. “I’m not surprised that we didn’t win, but we had a few varsity people that ran fairly poorly, actually.”
With districts coming up next week, Babson still doesn’t foresee any complications to advancing to regionals.
“I expect to advance without any problems, barring some flu-bug that the whole team gets,” he said. “If we run what we’re capable of it shouldn’t be an issue. I hope to do much better than we did today.”
Third-place-finishing Lakewood (69 points), was led by Nick Boatman (16:33.34), who also came in third overall. Also finishing in the top 20 were freshman Jacob Gregory (17:07.65, 10th place), senior Ben Toole (17:10.56, 12th place), and senior Peter Quigley (17:31.96, 17thplace).
“Six of our top seven guys ran personal bests, as well as most of the rest of our team,” Lakewood head coach Mike Schreiner said. “I was really please with our effort overall.”
Coming in fourth-place with 85 points, was Rocky River, which featured three top-20 runners in junior Justin Reynolds (16:34.34, 4thplace), freshman Charlie Swartz (17:27.07, 16th place), and sophomore Brandon Williams (17:33.05, 18th place).