A very warm and windy November morning greeted the Division III runners and the afternoon races as 548 boys from 169 schools and 538 girls from 168 schools competed in the 94th annual Boys and 45th annual Girls Ohio High School Athletic Association State Cross Country Championships held at Fortress Obetz.

By the afternoon the above normal temperatures and strong winds took its toll on a number of runners forcing them to not finish with a few runners crawling across the finish line.

The tournament Manager was Steve Adams of Fortress Obetz and Terry Oehrtman who has managed the State Championships for twenty-two years as the Tournament Coordinator.  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 Boys Division III started the day of racing with five runners hitting the first mile in 4:51 and five more at 4:52. East Canton’s senior Brylan Holland took a five second lead at the two mile mark over Rittman’s freshman Luke Snyder with his 9:56.  Holland would widened his lead as he improved eight spots from last year to win in 15:41 with Snyder taking home runner up honors in 15:50.  A pair of Bluffton’s seniors Landon Armstrong (15:55) and Erik Nygaard (15:59) finished next.  Mowrystown Whiteoak’s sophomore Landen Eyre (16:04) placed fifth.

Last year’s runner up Mount Gilead ran away with the Boys Division III team title with 82 points.  Ottawa Hills took home the runner trophy with 151 points.  Cincinnati Summit County Day (157), Botkins (167) and Cortland Maplewood (188) rounded out the top five teams.

In the girls division III race McDonald’s senior Megan Hipple and Crestone Norwayne senior Jaylee Wingate would go thru the first mile in 5:21.  Anna’s junior Paige Steinke (11:18) would take a one second lead over Hipple at the two mile mark.  Steinke widened her lead to easily win in 17:46.  Wingate took home the silver with last year’s winner Maplewood junior Caleigh Richards third as they both crossed the finish in 18:05.  Hipple (18:17) finished next with Old Fort Macie Miller (18:25) taking home fifth.

Minster defended their last year Division III title to win their sixth titles in the past seven years and thirteenth time overall with their 63 points.  Ft. Loramie improved one spot from 2021 to capture the runner up trophy with 119 points.  Colonel Crawford (164), West Liberty Salem (183) and Liberty Center (184) rounded out the top five.

West Geauga’s senior Daniel Kearns had five second lead over five other Division II boys as he passed the first mile in 4:46.  Fairfield Union’s senior Marcus Runkle and Kearns passed the two mile mark in 9:56 just ahead of last year’s winner Dayton Carroll’s senior Jack Agnew and Alliance Marlington’s junior Colin Cernansky.  Cernansky (15:26) improved six spots from last year to hold off Agnew (15:29) for the win.  Runkle (15:36) finished third.  A pair of Alliance Marlington runners senior Nash Minor (15:56) and Michael Nichools (15:57) finished next.

Alliance Marlington easily defended their Division II team title with 56 points.  Dayton Carroll improved five spots from 2021 to capture the runner up trophy with 149 points. Peninsula Woodridge (156), Fairfield Union (183) and Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy (199) rounded out the top five.

Dayton Oakwood’s senior and last year’s girl Division II runner up Bella Butler had a one second lead over eleven runners with her 5:45 first mile.   Butler crossed the two mile mark in 11:28 with Waynesville’s junior Samantha Erbach eight seconds back.  Buttler held on to her lead to win in 18:09.  Erbach improved nine spot from last year to take home the silver.  Peninsula Woodridge’s junior Reese Reaman (18:32) took home the bronze. Shelby’s senior Kayla Gonzales (18:35) and Minerva’s senior Hera Hoffee (18:42) finished next.

Last year’s runner up Granville took home the team trophy with 130 points.  Chagrin Falls Kenston won the runner up trophy with 155 points.  Lexington (164), Minerva (188) and Salem (194) rounded out the top five teams. 

Nine Division I boys hit the first mile in 4:51 with seven other runners one second back.  Hilliard Davidson’s senior Connor Ackley and Glen Oak’s senior Tommy Rice passed the two mile mark in 9:43. Ackley who finished second last year ran away from the field in the final mile to win in the days’ best time of 15:10. Dublin Jerome’s junior Sam Ricchiuti edged Rice by a second to take home runner up medal in 15:25.  Westerville North’s junior Ben Gabelman (15:31) placed fourth with Miamisburg’s innocent Ntwali finishing fifth in 15:35. 

Mason easily defended their Division I crown winning with 128 points.  Cincinnati St. Xavier improved four spots from 2021 to take home the runner up trophy with 142 points.  Lancaster improved six spots from last year to finish third with 155 points.  Dublin Coffman (177) and Hilliard Davidson (197) finished next.

Last year’s runner up Olmsted Falls senior Katie Clute and Mason’s freshman Efa Paschka    passed the one mile marker in 5:17. Clute would have a fourteen second lead over last year’s bronze finisher Westlake’s junior Sarah Peer and Paschka with her 10:55 two mile clocking.  Clute who is headed to Oregon next year recorded the fastest girl’s time of the day with her 17:25.  Peer would capture the silver in 17:44.  Northmont’s senior Abby Drosdak improved eight spots from 2021 to captures the bronze in 18:18 finishing one second ahead of Hilliard Davidson’s senior Caitlyn Jones and Lakota West’s sophomore Evelyn Prodoehl.   Paschka placed sixth in 18:20.

The Mason girls would improve seven spots from last year to join the boy’s team at the top of the podium winning with 75 points.  Hilliard Davidson improved three spots from last year to capture the runner up trophy.  Westlake improved twelve spot from 2021 to finish third with 151 points.  Perrysburg (193) and Loveland (221) rounded out the top five.

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.

A few race photos are posted on https://www.runohio.com/index.php/photos/2022