July 1, 2016

Intermittent clouds

Cross country: Bucks runaway with a pair of titles

CARLISLE TWP. — They did it again — all four of them.

Buckeye won both the boys and girls divisions of the annual PAC Preview Meet at Carlisle Reservation. The Bucks also took both divisions in last year’s meet.

Buckeye’s Ryan Gallagher shows his winning form at the PAC Preview. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY JUDD SMERGLIA)

Buckeye’s Ryan Gallagher shows his winning form at the PAC Preview. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY JUDD SMERGLIA)

The two individual winners — Ryan Gallagher for the boys and Emma Franz for the girls — are from Buckeye and they are repeat champions, too.

Gallagher had little trouble winning his second individual championship, covering the distance in 16 minutes, 54 seconds. That was 26 seconds ahead of runner-up Augustine Kazek of Black River.
The junior shaved about a half a minute off his 2010 winning time.

“That was what I was going for,” Gallagher said. “I was in the 17:20s last year, and this year I ran it in under 17. That was my goal.”

Gallagher’s first-place finish helped the Bucks score 58 points, well ahead of second-place Black River (83) and third place Lutheran West (89).

“It was really cool,” said Gallagher, referring to the unseasonably mild weather. “The course is mostly shaded, so it’s easy to run here.”

The defending champion wasn’t worried about two new teams — Firelands and Fairview — joining the festivities. The two schools are in the first year of competing in the Patriot Athletic Conference.

“We had scoped them out,” Gallagher said. “There’s definitely more depth in the conference now. It’s better now.

Gallagher finished 32nd at the state meet in 2010.

“Our goal is to get him back there (state finals),” Buckeye coach Jon Brenenstuhl said. “He did well for a first time out. We want to keep Ryan healthy, keep him improving and let him have some fun.”

Franz, a sophomore, finished 31 seconds faster than her nearest competitor, Emma McQuate of Fairview. The Buckeye girls scored 25 points in a division in which only four full teams competed.

“We looked good,” Brenenstuhl said. “There is always room for improvement, but it was a solid day for both boys and girls. We’re pleased with the results.”

Franz said she felt good about being familiar with the course, but was wary of the new teams in the race.

“It was easier than last year because I had been here before but I didn’t know what to expect,” Franz said. “I was very nervous because we had new competition.”

Neither Firelands or Fairview had five runners compete, the minimum a team needs to be counted in the standings. The Bucks had five runners in the top 17 of the 47-runner field.

Buckeye also had the No. 3 finisher in J.J. Grzincic (17:37) and the sixth-place runner in Bob Auber (18:22).

For the girls, Isabelle Petek came in sixth (22:52), Jordan Walker ninth (23:38), and Kaitlin Kennedy 10th 10 (23:54).

Contact Steve Byrne at (440) 329-7135 or stephenbryne@att.ntet.