HEBRON — A long distance phenom closed out her high school cross country career in record style, her team won a title and set records of their own, four other Greene County-area teams earned top-10 finishes, and Bellbrook’s Takumi Ford proved that having two shoes is overrated, during the annual Ohio High School Athletic Association Cross Country Championships at National Trail Raceway.
Senior Taylor Ewert dominated the girls Division I race in record setting style, winning the event with a meet-record time of 17 minutes, 22.5 seconds over teammate and runner-up Savannah Roark. According to their coach, Howard Russ, it’s possibly the first time in girls D-I that two members of the same team finished 1-2 in the event.
Beavercreek also set another esteemed mark: With Ewert and Roark finishing first and second, and teammates Jodie Pierce and Juliann Williams finishing seventh and ninth respectively, it’s also the first time that a girls D-I team placed four runners in the top 10.
The Beavers girls team defended their crown from 2018.
“It helps that we have lots of experience, and also that we run in the Southwest all season long. We go against the Lakotas and the Masons every week,” Beavercreek coach Howard Russ said. “We’ve been to big races. We traveled to races in Indiana, Michigan and New York, so it kinda felt like another big meet for us. We’re really pleased with going back-to-back.”
Ewert and Roark reflected on how special the race was for them both.
“I mean it’s awesome! It’s amazing to share such a special moment with a teammate. Not only to win, but to look behind and see my teammate coming in strong behind me. Not a lot of people can say that, and to be able to share it with someone I know who has worked so hard for this, it’s just amazing,” Ewert said.
“Even though I didn’t feel that I could win, it pushed me to try and finish second, because it had never been done before. It definitely drove me for the whole race,” Roark added.
Cedarville was represented by Ellyn Coe in the girls Division III race and placed 51st in her first-ever year of competing in cross country. She and her coach hope to bring the entire girls team and the boys squad back to Hebron in 2020.
The Indians boys placed fifth in the boys D-III event, with Ethan Wallis placing eighth overall (16:16.8) and Trent Koning 15th (16:30.9). Fellow team members were Caleb Sultan (85th), Payton Herron (94th), Jeffrey Salisbury (116th), Drew Mason (132nd), and Isaiah Estepp (140th).
“Our goal was to finish in the top 10; I was hoping for a top-5, and so I’m pretty happy with that,” said Cedarville coach Kris Williams. “We bring a lot of talented runners back for next season on the girls and boys teams. Hopefully, we can both be here next season.”
Carroll’s Kevin Agnew ran near the front for much of the boys Division II race, finishing 10th overall to lead the Patriots to a sixth place team placing. Agnew’s teammates were Grant Arnold (36th), Drew Maxwell (94th), Michael Osgood (108th), Andrew Connair (111th), Seth Tivakaran (117th) and Luke Wittmann (145th).
“I’m really happy with my finish,” Agnew said. “My goal going into the race was to get a top-10 finish, so I’m happy that I achieved that. … We weren’t really sure of how other teams were going to do, but I think we did as much as we could.”
The Beavercreek boys team couldn’t muster the accolades the girls team put down, but they still claimed a very respectable 10th-place finish in the D-I event.
Team members were: Connor Ewert (36th); Keegan Souhan (39th); Taylor Hess (66th); Ryan Massie (106th); Andrew Radford (155th); Andrew Woodford (160th); and Brendan Baker (183rd).
And Bellbrook’s Takumi Ford might’ve taken on the new nickname of ‘Shoeless’ after his performance in the D-I finale. Ford ran most of the event without his right shoe, and still managed to turn in a personal-best time of 15:48.1 and place 16th overall.
“It was hard, because the ground was so cold. And everytime I stepped into someplace muddy, it would seep in between my toes. I felt like I was running on slime,” Ford said. His lost shoe, which had been accidentally stepped on by another runner, had been turned in to the race’s lost & found after the event.
Just imagine what he would’ve done with TWO shoes?
Contact John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123. Complete state cross country results can be found at baumspage.com.