XENIA — On a course that is likely to be the hilliest around, host Legacy Christian was the only school to have a top-3 runner in both high school races at the Oct. 7 Legacy Christian Academy Ambassador Classic cross country meet.
Seniors Isaac Erlundson and Tori Estepp turned the top-3 feat for Legacy Christian.
Erlundson finished seven seconds ahead of runner-up Marcus Pettiford of Dayton Stivers (18:19.8), with Miami Valley’s Carter Logan finishing third in 18:20.9. He said familiarity with the tough course is a bit of an advantage for the Knights runners.
“This is the toughest course I’ve ever run,” said Erlundson, a 2016 state qualifier. “A lot of people would agree with me. There’s lots of people who hate this course. All the hills, there’s a couple creek jumps that are tough, and there’s a long stretch in the second mile that is just completely flat and there’s always wind there. It hurts people mentally.
“We also had some runners in the middle school races turn in some (personal records). I’d say the whole school put in a good effort today.”
Erlundson’s winning time was 18:11.7 on Saturday.
Estepp placed third behind girls individual winner Addie Engel of Springfield Catholic Central (20:37.8) and runner-up Jenna Burns of New Richmond (21:15.4). Estepp’s third-place time was 22:44.2.
“I know those two girls who got first and second, so I was happy for them,” Estepp said. “This is a tough course, too. You’re not going to get a (personal record) here.”
While other teams placed higher in the team standings, no other school could boast of having a top-3 finisher in both high school events.
“It definitely makes a statement for our program, but we also want to be good testimonies for our school,” Estepp said. “So we do well, and we make sure that our competitors feel welcome and congratulated too.”
Middletown Fenwick won the boys high school team title with 90 points, two better than runner-up New Richmond.
In the girls team race, New Richmond turned the tables by winning by seven points over Fenwick.
Legacy Christian placed fifth in the 15-team boys race. Yellow Springs was the other Greene County representative in the field. Led by Mark Bricker’s 12th-place finish (19:36.3), the Bulldogs finished seventh overall.
The Knights’ James Brads finished eighth overall (19:11.4). Yellow Springs’ Zach Lugo was the other area runner to finish in the top 25. Lugo was 25th in a time of 20:35.9.
LCA didn’t have enough girls runners competing in the race to be scored in the high school event. Greeneview was the only Greene County school with a full contingent of at least five runners. The Rams placed seventh overall.
Jude Meekin placed 15th for Yellow Springs in 24:59.0, and Greenevew’s McKyna Woods was 16th (25:10.0). LCA’s Rachel Walquist had the area girls’ other top-25 finish. She was 18th with a time of 25:56.1.
In the middle school races, Beavercreek and Bellbrook placed second and third respectively behind girls middle school winner Wilmington, with Yellow Springs placing seventh. Bellbrook seventh grader Madison Bretland won the shorter distanced event in a time of 13:12.4.
Beavercreek Middle School won the boys team event by 80 points over runner-up London. Bellbrook was third with LCA sixth and Yellow Springs 14th. LCA’s Jonathan Merritt finished third overall to lead area runners (12:34.3). London’s James Marco won the middle school boys race in 11:59.8.