TIFFIN -- Two area individuals made the most of their trip to the regional meet at Tiffin's Hedges-Boyer Park as Napoleon's Steve Weaver won the D-II boys race and Liberty Center's Brittany Atkinson ran to a first-place finish in the D-III girls meet.
In the four races for divisions II and III, the Liberty Center and Wauseon girls' teams will head to the state meet at Hebron's National Trail Raceway while six runners made it out as individuals with top-16 finishes.
Coming in as the favorite in the D-II boys meet, Weaver did not disappoint as he cruised to victory in a time of 15:45.67, finishing almost 17 seconds ahead of Defiance's Abel Flores in second place.
"I felt pretty good at the end, my legs weren't really tired, I just cruised the last mile or so," said Weaver. "I took it out a little slower today than usual, figuring I could push the last two miles hard. I was about five minutes the first mile, and that's 15 seconds slower than last week. I just felt really good throughout the whole race."
After about the first mile, Weaver picked up his pace a little and as a result, many of the runners started to fade.
Flores' second place finish came in a time of 16:02.59 and the junior Bulldog said the he felt good after the race after dealing with a stress fracture for the better part of the cross country season.
"I'm very satisfied with second place, especially after last week's disappointing race," said Flores, who came in third in his district race with a time of 16:41. "Everything went as planned today, I didn't go out as fast as I usually do. I just stayed back and waited and waited and then made my move finally."
It turned out to be a bittersweet day for Flores as he is the only runner to advance for DHS after the team came in fifth place, 20 points behind fourth-place CVCA.
Alex Barrientos (19th overall) and Ben Rath (28th overall) combined to score 39 points for the team.
"We got smoked at number five and we needed that, we had real possibilities of going as high as maybe second, I didn't know about beating St. Marys, but anything else up there was fair game for us," said DHS coach Obie Mouser. "We had four guys run pretty well and then we had a young kid come for us at the end, but we needed to have some of our experience to get up there and help us out, but that didn't happen."
Wauseon's Wade Hodges and Swanton's Ric Roe ran together early on in the race, and while both finished in the top 16 and will head to the state meet, Hodges was able to pull away and finish in eighth in a time of 16:37.36 while Roe came in 13th with a time of 16:45.53.
"I trained hard all week," said Hodges, a freshman. "Ric Roe from Swanton, he was going to be my pacer guy and he started to kind of fade back there so I knew I had to make a decision to go or stay ... I had to go. It feels great to go to the state meet."
Hodges won't be the only runner donning the Wauseon colors on Saturday. Taylor Vernot, another Wauseon freshman, finished third in the girls meet and led her team to a fourth-place finish in the team's standings with 145 points, behind Akron SVSM (39) CVCA (70) and Woodridge.
Vernot, who came in a little under the weather, admitted that being sick made running a little more difficult, but she was pleased with her third-place finish, which she ran in a time of 19:25.69.
"It was definitely a little more difficult because I had a little trouble breathing but I'm just glad that I made it through without having any serious problems," said Vernot, the only non-CVC or SVSM runner in the top six. "I just wanted to try and stick around everybody, do the best I could and push myself as hard as I could to make it to state."
Tessa Herring (19th overall), Aleea Volkman (36th), Aneseesa Volkman (39th) and Jessica Bachman (61st) rounded up the Indians' top-five scorers which as a team finished only two points ahead of fifth place Crestwood.
"We looked at things, kind of put all the teams together and we knew we were in the hunt for one of those spots, but we knew we could end up anywhere from third to eighth," remarked Wauseon coach Rebecca Stuckey, whose team last made it to state in 2008. "I'm definitely pleased, we had five of the girls runs their best time or better so hopefully we can get them all to still be running well next week."
The Lady Tigers opened up the Tiffin Regional meet in fine fashion, picking up a second place finish as a team, three points behind Coldwater, with the freshman Atkinson leading the charge with her individual regional title in a time of 18:46.7.
Atkinson and Coldwater's freshman Sarah Kanney, exchanged positions early on the course at one point, but the Tiger was able to make up the deficit and pull away to win the race by almost 23 seconds.
"It feels really good to know that I helped my team as much as I could," remarked the freshman on finishing in the top spot. "I just tried to match (Kanney's) steps, get right on her hip and follow her to the first mile. Then I threw in a little surge up the hill and tried to break away."
Although the team was thrilled with moving on to the state meet, there was some disappointment in finishing second as some of the runners felt they could have easily made up the three points and won the team title.
Chelsea Knapp finished ninth overall with a time of 19:56.68, Kelly Haubert (20:12.46) came in 16th, and Paige Chamberlain (20:37.92) came in 23rd, with each runner less than a second behind the runner in front of them.
"We're never satisfied with getting second, but we're happy with the day," said LC's coach, Tim Atkinson. "I thought the kids performed well in some areas and in other areas we need to get a lot better in. Our number two, three and four runner did not run like they're capable of running and they know that and realize that. They are upset about it but I told them next week that they have another opportunity. I told them I'll take the blame on this one, maybe we weren't as prepared as I wanted to be. I was really shocked that the point difference was only three points based on how we ran."
Junior Jordan Sidel rounded out Liberty's top-five scorers with a 26th place finish in a time of 20:46.21.
Kalida's Jessica Doepker qualified for state with a fourth place finish in a time of 19:30.03.
Fairview's Kyle Thomas extended his cross country season one more week.
After falling short of last year's state meet when he came in 23rd, the Apache junior used that as motivation this season and it paid off as he came in fifth overall with a time of 16:47.48.
"The plan was to just go out strong and be in the top 16 the whole way through and then after the second mile, pick it up from there and move on to state," Thomas said of his pre-race strategy. "Right from the start of the race, things worked out. I was in the top 16 and just had to keep that position throughout the race, and it worked. I can't express how happy I am."
At Hedges-Boyer Park in Tiffin
Akron SVSM 80, Woodridge 116, Van Wert 119, CVCA 124, Defiance 144, Tallmadge 149, Lexington 180, Sandusky Perkins 247, Wauseon 254, Lake 268, Galion 295, Shawnee 301, Medina Buckeye 312, Padua 338, Rocky River 340, Bay Village 375
Steve Weaver (Napoleon) 15:45.67, Abel Flores (Defiance), Jared Fleming (Van Wert), Patrick O'Brien (SVSM), Drake Sulzer (Woodridge), Evan Bialosky (Padua), Ryan Gallagher (Medina Buckeye), Wade Hodges (Wauseon), Patrick Ferguson (Tallmadge), Connor Holiday (Van Wert).
Other Area Individual Advancing in top 16
13. Ric Roe (Swanton)
Akson SVSM 39, CVCA 70, Woodridge 134, Wasueon 145, Crestwood 147, Shawnee 156, Lexington 176, Van Wert 198, Bellevue 224, Eastwood 224, Shelby 242, Columbian 312, Medina Buckeye 344, Keystone 400, Padua 419, Firelands 482
Samantha Bockoven (CVCA) 18:43.08; Marissa Rossetti (SVSM), Taylor Vernot (Wauseon), Julia Mendola (SVSM), Tessa Weigand (SVSM), Sarah MacIntosh (CVCA), Karlie Lieberth (Crestwood), Andi Foster (Van Wert), Amanda Sollenberger (SVSM), Ericka Hosang (Bellevue).
Coldwater 80, St. Henry 101, Seneca East 109, Hopewell-Loudon 162, Minster 184, Old Fort 190, Elmwood 211, Pettisville 217, Liberty Center 232, St. Mary CC 242, Crestview 252, Toledo Christian 276, Lincolnview 284, Van Buren 292, Fairview 296
Mike Seas (Coldwater), Jason Willman (Seneca), Nathan Lane (Toledo Christian), Aaren Hemmelgarn (St. Henry), Kyle Thomas (Fairview), Isaaz Kuntz (New Knoxville), Cameron Strunk (Parkway), Joe Brodman (Calvert), Zack Alexander (Old Fort), Mycah Grandstaff (Crestview).
Coldawter 50, Liberty Center 53, Liberty-Benton 120, Crestview 121, Toledo Christian 161, Spencerville 173, Fort Recovery 227, Hopewell-Loudon 238, Bluffton 264, Carey 274, Mohawk 274, Fairview 280, Elmwood 281, St. Mary CC 288, Pandora-Gilboa 320, Seneca East 346
Brittany Atkinson (Liberty Center) 18:46.70; Sarah Kanney (Coldwater), Christina Seas (Coldwater), Jessica Doepker (Kalida), Hannah Chappell-Dick (Bluffton), Jill Kanney (Coldwater), Amanda Miller (Western Reserve), Olivia Smith (Calvert), Chelsea Knapp (Liberty Center), Lindsay Kaetz (St. Mary CC).