Jon Huff | The Gazette
MEDINA — District day turned out to be double day for Medina County teams.
Two runners, Buckeye’s Colin Theis and Brunswick’s Vanessa Pasadyn, won the Division I races at Ella Canavan Elementary, while Medina and Brunswick saw both their boys and girls teams move on.
As the temperature dropped and the rain came down, the D-I girls took off. Pasadyn stepped into the lead from the first straightaway and never gave a second thought. She went into the woods — first at the one-mile mark — with the Berea-Midpark duo of Miranda DiBiasio and Lindsey Scarton following. Behind them were two more Blue Devils in Rebecca Craddock and Kristine Camper.
When they reappeared, Pasadyn had 5 seconds between her and DiBiasio. That lead grew as the race went on, and she finished in a season-best 19:01.0.
“I took it out pretty good and I maintained,” Pasadyn said. “I felt strong. I had a lot of confidence being out front. I figured, ‘I’ve got to keep this pace because everyone’s watching me and trying to catch me.’ I tried to stay out there and get a low score for our team.”
DiBiasio crossed the line 20 seconds after Pasadyn, and Scarton solidified the Titans’ challenge for a Regional spot with the third-place finish. Craddock and Camper rounded out the top five.
With Hannah Meyer (13th) and Katie Pavlick (15th), the Brunswick girls took the team title with ease.
Freshman Tarynn Cullings led the Bees with an eighth-place finish. Maria Scavuzzo (16th) took the final individual qualifier spot and Sarah Pack finished 19th. The scores helped the team place third behind North Royalton and just ahead of Berea-Midpark.
“We ran pretty well overall,” Medina coach Scott VanFleet said. “The team ran great considering the conditions. It’s one goal off the list, and work on the next one.”
Taking two of the individual qualifying spots was Cloverleaf’s power tandem of Ashley Murray and Riley Freeland. They battled at the front of the pack, holding sixth and seventh at the two-mile mark. Freeland challenged North Royalton’s Kaitlyn Dzuroff in the final stretch, but lost by a second to place seventh. Murray finished on the other side of Cullings for ninth.
“I felt really good today,” Freeland said. “I competed with Ashley and we worked through the whole race together. We tried to use the rain to our advantage, and the mud, and the cold. It was so fun. I’m so excited for regionals.”
Like Pasadyn, Theis took the boys race from start to finish, striding to an early lead and holding off challengers. Medina’s Dylan Dombi and Brunswick’s Tim Bizon comprised a county trifecta at the start, following Theis’s early lead.
Theis hit the first mile marker in first place. Dombi and Bizon fell into the chase pack. Coming out of the woods, St. Ignatius’ Luke Wagner caught Theis and the two raced one another into the second mile, but Theis responded and built his lead as they went into the last mile. When he appeared again, Theis had space behind him and coasted for the win.
“I lost (Wagner) probably at the mile-and-a-half on a downhill,” Theis said. “We both do downhills really good, but I felt good this race so I just took it and took off on him.”
Dombi came into the stretch in fourth, but could not hold off St. Ignatius’ Jim Rogers at the line. Bizon finished sixth.
Led by Dombi’s race, the Bees grabbed the third team spot. Medina’s top five well and all finished 20th or better. Kevin Menyes (11th) and Dan Schwendler (16th) qualified as individuals, while Jake French (19th) and Matt Stump (20th) punched the team’s ticket to Tiffin.
“They’re all coming along,” Dombi said. “They’re learning how to race even though they’re all young, our three through eight or nine. They’re learning how to start racing now and that’s all we need.”
The last team spot turned into a tight four-way fight between Brunswick, Wadsworth, Berea-Midpark and North Royalton. Bizon and Wadsworth’s Jon Bach (10th) set the tone. The Grizzlies’ Jeff Batey crossed next in 17th, but Brunswick’s Andre Bollam-Godbott (24th), Tyler Decuzzi (26th) and Ben Eyssen (29th) grabbed the spot for the Blue Devils.
“We weren’t real sure where we were going to be,” Brunswick coach Kerry Hunter said. “We said we had to beat one of a couple teams. They’re excited to move on for another week.”
Black River’s Tanner Hawley will run next week at Boardman after placing ninth in the Division III race.
“It was tough,” Hawley said. “It was very tiring, how muddy it is. My strategy was stay out front and not let anybody pass me.”
Hawley moved up the pack early and settled into his race. He fought with Oberlin’s Simon Perales going into the last mile. Out of the woods the two remained close, but Hawley held off Perales for the place.
Behind Hawley, Tyler Hornbeck (30th) and Triston Hornbeck (32nd) helped the Pirates compete for the top four, but they could not pass a strong Mapleton team for the final spot. Black River finished seventh.
Tyler Polman of Independence finished first individual. Gilmour Academy was the top team.
Contact Jon Huff at firstname.lastname@example.org.