July 23, 2016

Mostly sunny

Medina County runners roll, earn plethora of state berths

TIFFIN — It was a great Saturday for Medina County cross country at the Tiffin Regional at Hedges-Boyer Park.

The No. 2-ranked Brunswick girls won the Division I meet despite an off day by senior Selena Pasadyn. The Blue Devils held off Sylvania Northview 99-107.

Anna Boyert

The D-I boys race was also with good news. No. 15-rated Medina finished second to top-ranked St. Ignatius to earn its eighth straight ticket to the Big Dance. No. 16 Brunswick (154) edged No. 8 Avon Lake (156) for the fourth and final berth, the Blue Devils’ first since 2006.

Senior Loren McDaniel (14th, 19:24.60), senior Alexis Uber (16th, 19:27.70) and sophomore Tara Horton (17th, 19:38.20) led the Brunswick girls.

“It’s kind of a shock because some of us didn’t have our best races today,” McDaniel said. “About halfway through the race, Alexis was still in front of me and I knew was in a qualifying position (top 16). I knew that she wasn’t going to let up, so I made sure that I stuck with her the rest of the way. I didn’t want to go to state to just watch her. I wanted to be able run with her (at state). That gave me a ton of motivation.”

Sophomore Kristine Kamper (35th, 20:10.40) and Pasadyn (44th, 20:18.10) rounded out the top five.

“It’s amazing,” Brunswick coach Kerry Hunter said. “Without Selena as our No. 1 and we still finish first. That’s a team when you get that happening. That’s awesome. That shows you we’re not a one-person team. It’s a great feeling.”

The Medina boys definitely felt the pressure of extending its state appearance streak, but they didn’t buckle.

“I’m not as worried now. It’s a big relief,” said Medina senior Robert Robinson. “Everyone ran well. I’m proud of everybody. Right now, we just need to get ready for next week and prove some people wrong (about the rankings) and do well at state.”

Robinson led Medina with a fourth-place finish in 16:04.47. Senior Brad Palocko (20th, 16:24.12), junior Tommy Menyes (36th, 16:47.12), junior Ian McKee (46th, 16:54.28) and senior Zach Dombi (48th, 16:56.08) rounded out the top five.

“We just had a nice pack with our No. 3-6 runners,” Medina coach Milt Place said. “It truly is a team sport. In basketball, you can hide the weak guy who wouldn’t touch the ball. You can’t hide a weak No. 5 runner.”

Avon Lake led Brunswick 47-71 through the two teams’ first three runners, but the Blue Devils rallied thanks to juniors Logan Indre (45th, 16:53.97) and Cody Bukszar (57th, 17:03.46). Junior Tyler Mennear (22nd, 16:07.26), senior Nathan Geiss (33rd, 16:45.09) and senior Austin Oshavsky (39th, 16:48.37) comprised the top three.

A total of 56 seconds separated Brunswick’s top five, compared to 97 for Avon Lake.

County individuals also ran great.

Seniors Paige Szabat of Wadsworth (18:21.90) and Anna Boyert of Medina (18:48.90) finished 2-3 in the Division I girls race behind winner Elyse Bierut (18:19.90), a senior from Rocky River.

Bierut led Szabat the entire way until the last half mile. Bierut then stole the lead back from Szabat 30 yards from the finish with a strong finishing kick.

“It was a hard race. It was good to be pushed,” Szabat said. “I pushed the hills, which is what I wanted to do. It would have been nice to have more left at the end, but it gives me something to work on for next week.”

Boyert was also pleased with her efforts, which were more focused on rallying her teammates for a state-qualifying berth. They fell short, however, as the Bees (169) were fifth.

“It’s awesome to qualify as an individual but to qualify as a team is so much better,” said Boyert, a three-time state qualifier. “Sarah (Pack) and Maria (Scavuzzo) have really been running well together. We work at practice on our pack-running. If you run as a pack I think it’s sometimes more intimidating and breaks the other teams down more. We all gave it our best. That’s all you can do.”

Pack (27th, 19:55.90), Scavuzzo (30th, 20:04.50), Rita Mayer (73rd, 20:54.50) and Sam Mader (78th, 20:57.90) rounded out the Medina girls top five.

Buckeye junior Ryan Gallagher earned his third straight ticket to the Division II state meet as he finished seventh in 16:31.31.

“I made it out, but not the way I wanted to,” Gallagher said. “No injuries, no illness, just suddenly a bad day. It might be mental. I’ll work on it this weekend. That was the main thing I was worried was just making it out.”

Buckeye sophomore Emma Franz finished 30th in the Division II girls race with a 20:49.61. She was 43 seconds out of qualifying.

Contact Paul Heyse at (440) 329-7135 or ctsports@chroniclet.com.