TIFFIN — It was another outstanding year for Medina County cross country runners at the Tiffin Regional at Hedges-Boyer Park.
The Brunswick girls earned their third straight ticket to the state meet. The Blue Devils led the way for the area with a second-place finish in Division I.
No. 6-ranked Sylvania Northview won the meet with 73 points. No. 9 Brunswick edged No. 15 Bay 122-123, while North Royalton (165) was fourth.
Freshman Vanessa Pasadyn led the Brunswick girls, finishing 10th overall in 19:14.80.
“Coach (Kerry Hunter) warned us that our field was a fast group that takes it out and doesn’t always come back,” said Pasadyn. “I attacked it right in the beginning to get my spot. I got tired in the middle of the race, so I knew that I took it out hard.”
Junior Tara Horton (22nd, 19:48.11), sophomore Katie Pavlick (29th, 19:58.29), freshman Jenna Scott (36th, 20:03.75) and sophomore Emily LaPolla (38th, 20:07.03) rounded out the top five.
“We ran like garbage,” Hunter said. “Vanessa ran good, Tara ran good and Katie ran good. Tara’s been solid. She’s awesome. I know what I’m going to get from her every week. Jenna and Emily were too far back.”
Pasadyn stayed positive when she heard the team result.
“We were lucky to get second,” Pasadyn said. “We work together well and came in well as a pack. That was our main goal.”
Buckeye seniors Ryan Gallagher and J.J. Grzincic advanced to the D-II state meet. Gallagher finished fourth in 16:12.06, while Grzincic was eighth in 16:22.49.
“It would have been nice to win, but in the end, none of this really matters,” said Gallagher, a four-time state qualifier and 2011 All-Ohioan. “My freshman year, course conditions were worse, but this year was pretty close. That first mile was pretty rough.”
Van Wert senior Jared Fleming (15:57.31) surged by Defiance senior Abel Flores (16:01.08) in the final 30 meters to win it. St. Vincent-St. Mary senior Mick Iacofano (16:10.39) was third.
“I just need to keep my head in the right place (for state),” said Gallagher, who placed fifth at last year’s state meet. “It’s the fourth year in a row. I pretty much know what to do now. I just need to stay loose and ready.”
The race offered redemption for Grzincic, who missed qualifying by 18 seconds last year (29th, 17:06).
“It was a good race. I’m happy to go to state,” he said. “The key today was the middle. That’s the hardest part. You can get out well on adrenaline. During the middle of the race is where I start to fall back. I’ve been working on trying to keep the middle up. It feels good to make it happen this year.”
There were nine state-ranked teams in the D-II boys race, including seven rated in the top 10. No. 3 Woodridge (89), No. 5 CVCA (96), No. 1 Defiance (105) and No. 7 St. Vincent-St. Mary (105) were the state qualifiers.
No. 15 Buckeye (202) placed eighth.
The Brunswick boys earned their second straight state berth, finishing third in D-I with 135 points behind No. 2 St. Ignatius (42) and No. 8 Toledo St. Francis (131). Medina captured its ninth consecutive state ticket by edging out No. 19 Avon 155-159 for fourth.
Senior Tyler Menear led the Brunswick boys, finishing 14th in 16:25.82.
“Something was different today,” Menear said. “I felt a lot better. It was a tough race — one of the hardest races I ever ran. About 1½ miles in, I was thinking that I was almost done. I really wasn’t paying attention. I tried not to lose anybody. I was around where I needed to be the entire time. This was probably the race I was most focused on.”
A 42-second split between Brunswick’s top five was critical to its big day. Senior Cody Bukszar (27th, 16:48.32), senior Jake Mehalik (33rd, 16:56.37), senior Josh Sumerauer (38th, 16:59.80) and freshman Tim Bizon (45th, 17:07.70) rounded out the top five.
“Today’s special after taking third at districts and just not knowing (what to expect),” Hunter said. “Tyler had a good day. Our No. 1-5 runners ran very well. For our meeting Friday, I told Tyler that he had qualify (top 16) and everyone else just has to pack. I told the guys that I would let them know (during the race). That’s what I let them know.”
Senior Tommy Menyes (25th, 16:45.64) and junior Dylan Dombi (26th, 16:45.78) led the Medina boys. Junior Dan Schwendler (29th, 16:50.80), senior Ian McKee (40th, 17:01.74) and senior Ken Kutcel (59th, 17:13.96) rounded out Medina’s top five, which had a 28-second split.
“After Thursday’s workout, I thought that we had a 40 percent chance of qualifying,” Medina coach Milt Place said. “On paper, we were eighth, but I was giving us more of a chance. That total (155) is a lot to qualify to state.”
Last year, Brunswick took the fourth spot with nearly the same amount (154), edging Avon Lake (156).
A 2010 Division II state qualifier, Black River senior Gus Kazek rallied late but came up just short of qualifying as he finished 18th in 16:45.83. He missed the final berth by 3.78 seconds.
“I took the pace out a little quick,” he said. “The first mile was fast (5:04). I was just trying to stay with the lead pack.”
Contact Paul Heyse at email@example.com.