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Obetz, OH  - November 6, 2021 By Matt McGowan - A frosty November morning greeted the Division III runners and the afternoon races were run in perfect weather as 541 boys from 165 schools and 554 girls from 179 schools competed in the 93rd annual Boys and 44th annual Girls Ohio High School Athletic Association State Cross Country Championships held at Fortress Obetz. 

The tournament Manager was Steve Adams of Fortress Obetz and Terry Oehrtman who has managed the State Championships for 21 years was the Tournament Consultant.  The course was laid out so the fans could see the runners straight across from the grand stands four times, the 400 meter mark, the one and two mile marks and the finish line.

The Girl’s Division III started the day of racing as Maplewood’s sophomore Caleigh Richards and West Liberty’s Salem’s senior Megan Adams passed the one mile mark in 5:41 while Minster sophomore Margaret Hemmelgarn and Liberty Center’s senior Hope Oelkrug were a second behind.  Richards would hit the 2 mile mark in 11:39 while McDonald’s junior Megan Hipple was three second back.  Richards would continue to pull away to defend her title in 18:16.  Adams moved up three spots from 2020 to take home runner up honors in 18:22.  Hemmelgarn improved eight spots from last year to capture the bronze in 18:23. Oelkrug improved eleven spots this year to finish fourth in 18:24 while McDonald’s junior Megan Hipple finished less than a second back for fifth.

Last year’s Girls Division III runner up Minster returned to the top of the podium for the fifth time in the last six years and twelfth time overall with their 86 points.  Liberty Center improved a spot from 2020 to take home the runner up team trophy with 108 points.  Ft Loramie (124) and Gatesville Gilmour Academy (167) also moved up a spot from last year to capture the next two spot.  Last year’s winner West Liberty Salem finished fifth with 179 points.

In the Boys’ Division III race seven runners were within a second as the leaders hit the mile mark in 4:55.  
Lima Perry’s senior Braden Yingst crossed the 2 mile mark in 9:57 with three seniors Anna’s Hayden Schmidt, Canton Central Catholic’s Ian Paul and Waynedale’s Johnathan Varner five seconds back.  Yingst who was ninth last year continued to widened the gap as he won in 15:29.  Schmidt improved five spots from 2020 to capture runner up honors in 15:44.  Varner moved up eight spots from last year to finish third in 15:49.  East Canton’s senior Gabe Schilling (15:53) improved six spots and Paul (15:55) moved up twenty-nine spots to round out the top five.

East Canton defended their Boys Division III title winning with 93 points.  Mount Gilead moved up a spot from 2020 to take home the runner up trophy with 108 points.  Ft Loramie finished one point back for third.  Columbus Grove improved two spots from 2020 to finish fourth with 140 points and Holgate moved back a spot from last year to finish fifth with 181 points.

Oakwood’s senior and North Carolina State bound Grace Hartman hit the mile mark all by herself in 5:16 and the two mile mark in 10:53.  Last spring Hartman won both the Girls Division II 1600 and 3200 meters in the OHSAA State Track & Field Championships easily defend her 2020 cross country title with an impressive 17:31 to record the fastest girl’s time of the day. Oakwood’s junior Bella Butler improved three spots from last year to take home the runner up spot in 18:02.  Hathaway Brown’s senior Morgan Monesmith jumped sixty eight spots from 2020 to capture the bronze in 18:09.  Marlington’s junior Bella Graham moved up two spots for fourth in 18:11.  Granville’s senior Regina Rose improved seven spots from last year for fifth in 18:18.

Minerva won their first cross country team title edging Granville 136 to 139 for the Girls Division II crown.  Peninsula Woodridge had the team lead at two miles, but one of their top runners went down with 100 meters to go and slowly finished the race changing the overall outcome as they placed third with a score of 166 points. Salem (185) and Richfield Revere (195) rounded out the top five.

Thirteen Division II boys hit the mile mark within a minute of 4:52.  Marlington’s senior Noah Graham and Dayton Carroll’s junior Jack Agnew cross the two mile mark in 9:54 with Cuyahoga Falls CVCA’s senior Drennan Akins one second back. Agnew would pull away in the final 100 meters and improved thirty one spots from 2020 to win in 15:31.  Graham improved one spot from last year to take home the silver in 15:33.  Minerva’s senior Connor Shingleton improved fifty seven spots from last year to finish third in 15:39.  Akins moved down two spots from 2020 finished fourth in 15:45 and Unioto’s senior Corey Schobelock finished one second back and  improved four spots from last year to round out the top five.

Alliance Marlington ran away with the Boys Division II crown with 77 points.  Two time defending champion Peninsula Woodridge took home the runner up trophy with 153 points. For the second year in a row Chillicothe Unioto finished third with 171 points.  Cincinnati Mariemont was fourth with 185 points while Bishop Watterson improved thirteen spots from 2020 to place fifth with 216 points.

Gahanna Lincoln’s senior Alyssa Shope and Westlake’s sophomore Sarah Peer cross the Girls Division I mile marker mat in 5:20. Shope would have a three second lead (11:05) on Olmsted Falls’ junior Katie Clute at the two mile mark.  Shope would cross the finish line in 17:32 to win improving four spots from last year.  Clute improved five spots from 2020 for runner up honors in 17:39.  Peer would improve eighteen spots from last year to capture the bronze in 17:44.  Centerville’s junior Mia Robillard was fourth in 17:54 while Perrysburg’s senior Aubrey Duhaime improved eleven spots form last year to round out the top five with her 17:59.

Perrysburg improved six spots from 2020 to take home the gold in the Girls Division I race with 101 points.  Loveland retuned with a runner up finish with 109 points.  Shaker Heights repeated as the third place team with 155 points.  Beavercreek improved five spots from last year to finish fourth with 187 points while last year’s runner up Hilliard Davidson was fifth with 194 points.

The final race of the day saw Little Miami’s senior William Zegarski and Hilliard Davidson’s junior     
Connor Ackley hit the Boys Division I mile mark in 4:35 with Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit’s senior Luke Ondracek four seconds off the pace.  Zegarski would open up a six second lead on Ackley at the two mile with his 9:20 clocking.  Zegarski would increase his lead to the finish line to capture the boys Division I crown in an impressive 14:39.  Ackley improved ten spots from last year to captures the silver in 14:58.  Talawanda’s senior Kiefer Bell moved up seventeen spots from 2020 to capture the bronze in 15:16.  Ondracek improved forty four spots from last year to finish fourth in 15:18 while Dublin Coffman’s junior Liam Shaughnessy  improved nineteen spots from last year to round out the top five with his 15:24 clocking.

Mason improved nine spots form 2020 to win the Boys’ Division I crown with 106 points.  Dublin Coffman moved up thirteen spots form last year to captures the runner up trophy with 144 points while cross town rival Hilliard Davidson moved down a spot from last year to finish one point back.   Louisville was fourth with 172 points and Cleveland St Ignatius was fifth with a 179 points.

Congratulations to all athletes and coaches who competed in one of the largest and most competitive High School State Cross Country Championships in the country.