By VINCE PELUSO — firstname.lastname@example.org
As the leaves begin to change colors on the trees, it is a sign that fall is here. It also a sign that The Legends Cross Country Meet is here and in turn, that postseason racing is right around the corner.
That’s a good sign for Bill Sarvis and his Perry Pirates as the Pirates were the top finisher in the Star Beacon’s coverage area, placing fifth in the Division II boys race and eighth in the Division II girls meet.
“It was not a bad race, we had a nice pack today in the boys,” Sarvis said. “We had some young girls step up today. We’re still trying to get healthy. We have a couple of kids out with a few aggravations but with it being as soft as it was today we decided to play it safe with them.”
Junior Aaran Gessic led the Pirates with a time of 17:52, which was good enough for 23rd. Sophomores Dustin Gilber (27th, 18:10.6), Eric Grubaugh (31st, 18:13.6), Erik Pritschau (47th, 18:41.6) and senior Alexander Guthrie (35th, 18:23.6) weren’t far behind in helping the Perry boys.
On the girls side, sophomore Marissa Sell was the top finisher, placing 19th with a time of 21:56.9. Freshman Madeline Dew (22:56.5), junior Sara Kerestman (22:57.3) and freshman Mackenzie Fath (22:58.9) were the perfect illustration of the pack Sarvis describe as they finished 38th, 39th and 40th.
Sophomore Taylor Golinar rounded out Perry’s girls with a 24:02.1, good enough for 65th.
“The girls are really young,” Sarvis said. “We have to stay in those packs because I don’t think our boys or girls has that one runner who is a single digit runner every race so we’ve got to rely on the strength of our pack. Last week and this week, we’ve had the best pack we’ve had all year.”
For Sarvis, sometimes ignorance is bliss when it comes to his young girls.
“Our girls are so young, you can just tell when they’re running that they aren’t sure what they’re doing but sometimes that’s a good thing,” he said.
In Division II, the top area finisher was Edgewood’s Chris Lemay, who finished 16th with a time of 17:34.4. Senior teammate Derryn Tomsic finished one place behind with a time of 17:38.8 and Chris’ twin brother Josh placed 28th with a time of 18:11.0.
Warriors coach Steve Hill was pleased with how the trio ran.
“I’m really pleased with how our top three performed today,” he said. “We were missing our four and five today, so typically the gap between our third and fourth runner won’t be so big. But I’m happy with how we ran today.”
Although the track was muddy in areas and the temperatures cooler, Hill said his team wasn’t bothered by the conditions.
“Weather in the low 50s like that is perfect running conditions,” he said. “This is a good meet for us. We don’t run this week so we won’t run again until districts in two weeks, so I think this was good preparation for that.”
All told, Edgewood finished ninth in the Division II race.
On the girls side, Hill’s Warriors found themselves in a similar position as Sarvis’, as the youthful group placed 13th.
That said, Hill still liked the way his girls ran.
“We had two girls run personal bests and a few others come close,” he said. “They’ve ran here before in junior high, but this is really the first time they’ve been in a meet like this at this level so I think they handled it well. They’re just so young.”
Leading Edgewood were freshmen Savannah Spring in 31st with a time of 22:35.9, Shelbie Sporich (35th, 22:50.2), Rebekah Simmons (49th, 23:13.7) and senior Keegan McTrusty (24:15.7).
Jefferson placed eighth on the boys side in Division II with Matt Kantor leading the Falcons with a 17:47.2, good enough for 22nd. He was followed by fellow sophomore Brandon Scribben (34th, 18:23.5), junior Steven Houser (44th, 18:32.3), senior Andrew Picard (18:47.3 and freshman Paul Bogdan (19:21.0).
On the girls side, the Falcons finished 16th and were led by junior Collen O’Connor in 46th with a time of 23:06.5.
Conneaut’s boys didn’t have enough runners to qualify for a team score, but Christian Tusai was the Spartans top finisher in 94th with a time of 19:37.4.
Conneaut’s girls finished 14th, led by sophomore Keeley Cole in 42nd with a time of 23 flat. She was followed by freshmen Alyssa Chadwick (58th, 23:48.7), Christa Oxley (75th, 24:24.1), sophomore Alexis Millar (77th, 24:28) and senior Maria Perkio (78th, 24:31.2).
There were only two schools competing in the Division I race in the Star Beacon’s coverage area as Lakeside’s boys placed seventh overall while the Dragons’ girls placed eighth.
Geneva’s girls finished 11th.
On the boys side, Lakside was led by senior Brandon Lopez who placed 18th by running a 17:41.3.
“That’s fair for him,” Dragons coach Greg Zannelli said. “It’s not his best time, not his worst time. The course was slow and we had a tough week of training so this was about what I was expecting.”
Lopez was followed by juniors Brady Bunnell (31st, 18:21.9), William Taggart (37th, 18:36.3), Logan Cleversy (44th, 19:04.9) and Caleb Henery (47th, 19:13.9).
“We’ve had a few injuries, but everyone has been working really hard,” Zanelli said. “Our fifth man has been different every race and there’s been no crying just competition. That’s absolutely a good thing to have.”
Zanelli said he wasn’t entirely satisfied with the meet itself, though, noting that they may not return next year to better prepare for this week’s upcoming Premier Athletic Conference meet.
That goes along with the lines of his team’s mantra for the season.
“We’ve kind of adopted the philosophy to be bigger than Ashtabula,” he said. “It’s not good enough to be the best in Ashtabula, we want to be the best anywhere . It doesn’t matter what county we’re in, we want that competition.”
Leading the Dragons on the girls side was Karen Barrientos with a 33rd place finish with a time of 21:37. Senior Kristen Beres followed in 40th with a time of 21:53.9 preceded by sophomores Carlie Watt (41st, 21:57.7), Megan Abrams (62nd, 23:21.3) and senior Jennifer Schwentker (24:36.9).
Hailey VanHoy was the leader of the pack for Geneva as the junior finished 24th with a time of 21:08. Eagles following her were sophomores Emily Deering (51st, 22:36.6), Julia Hanchosky (63rd, 23:22.1), Kayla Nieset (73rd 25:01.9) and freshman Sydney VanHoy (27:53.3).
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