HEBRON — Ryan Gallagher went for the gusto. The Buckeye senior vowed at last year’s state cross country meet he would go for the top prize.
For 2 miles Saturday, Gallagher appeared to have a shot. He trailed leader Abel Flores of Defiance by only 5-7 yards.
Gallagher went through the 1,600 meters at 4:52 and the 3,200 mark at 9:57, but things fell apart as he faded in the last mile to seventh in 16:00.7.
St. Vincent-St. Mary senior Mick Iacofano edged Flores 15:32.98 to 15:46.48 for the title.
“It’s my senior year, last race, I might as go well go out with a win,” Gallagher said. “I knew where I had to attack the race to get a good place. Unfortunately, I couldn’t hold it.”
Gallagher was sixth (15:59.75) last season, 36th (16:41.7) as a sophomore and 72nd (17:41.12) as a freshman.
“I’ve been a risk-taker, but pretty conservative most of the year,” Gallagher said. “I went out to win it and I didn’t, but that’s fine.
“If I had stayed with Flores, I could have gone with the other guy (Iacofano). I know hindsight is 20-20, but I did it the best way I knew how.”
Iacofano barely defeated Gallagher at the Tiffin Regional, trailing nearly the entire way before outkicking Gallagher in the end.
“I was going out for the win and came up short,” Gallagher said. “I didn’t want to regret not trying. I can walk away with no regrets.”
“We had a couple discussions this past week,” Buckeye coach Jon Brenenstuhl said. “That was his goal. You had to take a chance. There were 5-6 people capable of winning it. You have to have a little more guts if you want it.”
Teammate J.J. Grzincic had the race of his life, as he finished 10th in 16:06.32 for All-Ohio honors — top 25 — in his state debut.
“The weather was very good and the course was in perfect shape,” he said. “It was a little cold with not that much wind. I’m glad where I ended up. I would have liked to finish a little closer to Ryan, but it’s good.
“Honestly, I went out a little too fast, but I think that’s also what helped me to stay out front. I left it all out there.”
Medina County teams fared respectable in the team competition.
The Brunswick girls finished 11th, with six of their seven runners having personal records or very close to it.
Freshman Vanessa Pasadyn led the way, finishing 52nd in a personal-record 19:02.23 despite being tripped from behind and losing up to 12 places.
“I somersaulted when I landed,” said Pasadyn. “I was really caught off guard. I was spiked back in the seventh grade, but never had a bad race like that before. I just had to get focused and right back into it. I wasn’t going to let the race get away from me.
“The girl who did it was a little freshman from Solon (Louiza Wise, 58th in 19:06.19). She said, ‘Sorry,’ when it happened and apologized to me after we finished.”
It was a bit amusing that Pasadyn used the tab “little freshman.” Pasadyn is 4-foot-9, 74 pounds and undoubtedly the smallest athlete at state.
Freshman Jenna Scott (73rd, 19:21.20), junior Tara Horton (86th, 19:32.33), sophomore Emily LaPolla (87th, 19:33.83) and sophomore Hannah Meyer (105th, 19:50.45) rounded out the top five.
Scott, Horton and Meyers ran personal records.
“They ran well,” coach Kerry Hunter said. “A couple of spots could have been a little bit better, but when you have that many PRs, you have to be very happy.”
Brunswick finished with 243 points and within striking distance of Bay (218), Hudson (219) and Massillon Jackson (220).
The Brunswick boys finished 13th with 264 points. The top five finished within a 20.01-second spread, and all seven finished within 23.73 seconds.
Senior Tyler Menear (63rd, 16:15.96) led the way.
“The top five all had PRs, although I had my sights on sub-16,” Menear said. “I’m still happy with how things turned out. It was a fun day. We were ranked only No. 15, so it’s good.”
Senior Logan Indre (88th, 16:30.12), Cody Buszkar (89th, 16:32.44), Josh Sumerauer (91st, 16:33.87) and Jake Mehalik (94th, 16:35.97) rounded out the top five.
“I couldn’t ask for anything better,” Hunter said. “We don’t have the big stud out front to get a low number, so we all have to be close. Every day at practice we talk about it.”
Junior Dan Schwendler (86th, 16:29.12) led the Medina boys, who finished 16th with 376 points. Junior Dylan Dombi (108th, 16:40.87), senior Ken Kutcel (111th, 16:43.09), senior Ian McKee (118th, 16:47.45) and senior Tommy Menyes (125th, 16:54.86) rounded out the top five.
“Dan, Dylan and Ken ran pretty well,” said Medina coach Milt Place. “The rest of the guys didn’t run as well as the week before at regionals, but it’s nice to get here. Our state meet was probably last week.”
Contact Paul Heyse at (440) 329-7135 or email@example.com.