July 23, 2016

Mostly sunny

Frosh are fresh surprises


Special to the Gazette

WADSWORTH — Though most county girls cross county coaches were prepared for their freshmen to perform well, no one expected so many ninth-graders to dominate in their first high school meet.

Four of the top five finishers at the Medina County Meet at Memorial Park were freshmen, including the top three.

Medina’s Anna Boyert won the meet, while teammate and classmate Magen Murphy finished second as the Bees won the season opening invite.

“For their first high school meet, it was not only impressive that they finished first and second, but their times for that course were exceptional,” Medina coach Phil Brewer said.

Brunswick finished second, followed by Wadsworth.

The Grizzlies won the boys meet, followed by Medina, whose varsity team finished fourth Saturday at the Asics Hot Summer Bash in Galion, while its junior varsity team finished second in the County Meet.

Grizzlies senior Bobby Over won the boys meet ahead of teammate Adam Graff. Brett Nehrenz of Cloverleaf was third.

The fact that freshmen — six of the top 11 finishers — were successful was not shocking.

In 2006, Brunswick’s Alexx Muller finished ninth at the county meet and there were four freshmen in the top 25 in the last two years.

But having so many finish with good times was a shock.

 “It was kind of an oddity,” Brewer said. “Occasionally, you’ll see one or two freshman girls but when you get that many, that’s really odd.”

Wadsworth coach Jennifer Stack — a star athlete for the Grizzlies under her maiden name of Martin — said she had never witnessed a varsity competition where freshmen had so much impact.

“It was nice to watch that race and know that, being that they’re all freshmen, that we’re going to have a great four years a head of us at the Medina County Meet,” Stack said.

Brunswick coach Kerry Hunter may have been the only coach aware of the talented class.

“In the last couple years it hasn’t been that way, but this year we kind of expected it because we knew there were some good freshmen coming up,” Hunter said. “We had a suspicion it would be a freshman-dominated meet at the front of the pack.”

Boyert and Murphy were joined at the front of the pack by four other classmates.

Paige Szabat finished third in 19:34.86, helping Wadsworth to a third-place team finish.

“I knew before she even came to us that she was a talented runner because of what she did in middle school,” Stack said. “I knew she’d be running up there with (Megan) Toddy (sixth) and Nicole Cargill (fourth).”

Brunswick freshman Selena Pasadyn followed with a fifth-place finish and fellow frosh Loren McDaniel was 11th.

The Bees also had freshman Marissa McHugh finish in ninth place.

“It’s pretty remarkable,” Brewer said. “I’ve been doing this for 22 years and  I’ve never seen anything like it. It certainly is something that I’ve not seen before.”

Ferrise may be reached at sports@ohio.net.