It was a good day for Defiance senior Mhalicki Bronson and the Defiance boys cross country team. Bronson won his second straight WBL individual title and the boys put all seven runners in the first 12, to win their fifth consecutive WBL title.
Defiance topped runner-up Ottawa-Glandorf, 22-77, while St. Marys finished third ahead of Lima Shawnee by virtue of a better finish from its sixth runner.
Bronson did not get to break 15 minutes like he had hoped, but still managed to win the 3.1 mile race in a meet-record 15:23.85.
“I wanted to break 15 minutes, but that was before I found out how wet the course was, how cold it was and how windy it was,” Bronson said. “I was on pace to do it at both the one and two mile marks, but then I hit the last straightaway and it was all wind. But I did get a meet record, so nothing wrong with that. And on top of that, the whole team ran good.”
After Bronson, senior Cooper Morton placed second in 16:26.52 and sophomore Brennen Roehrig was third.
Senior Colin Moats placed sixth (16:43.79) and Defiance’s fifth, sixth and seventh runners, sophomores Eli Fortman (17:00.72), Josh Horvath (17:04.26) and Nathan Morgan (17:08.21), placed 10th, 11th and 12th.
“It was tough running in the cold, but Coach (Obie Mouser) had us prepared for it, with the courses we ran the last few weeks,” Morton said. “The plan was to run in a pack, which three of us did and then Brennen and I pulled away near the end.”
Roehrig, a sophomore, managed a personal best time in the meet at 16:27.94.
“It was an amazing race and great work by our team and I loved it,” Roehrig said. “I did run a personal best today and only did that because the other guys pushed me.”
Mouser was pleased by how his team ran.
“The guys ran well today,” Mouser said. “We hadn’t run well lately, except for last weekend and today, we started to get back at it. Mhalicki ran really well, getting the meet record. It would have been hard to break 15 today, though. That wind was tough.”
Second-place Ottawa-Glandorf was led by senior Kamron Maag’s eighth place finish (16:52.06). Other runners from Ottawa-Glandorf’s top-five team finishers were freshman Hunter Stechschulte (13th), junior Max Buddelmeyer (16th), senior Parker Schomaeker (17th) and freshman Ty Buckland (23rd).
The Defiance girls team didn’t fare as well. The girls’ WBL streak of five consecutive titles was broken by Lima Shawnee.
As a team, Defiance finished fourth. Lima Shawnee placed first, nipping Celina, 59-64. Van Wert nipped Defiance for third, 83-87.
Senior Caylee Phillips of Van Wert defended her title, winning in 18:42.78, ahead of Celina freshman Kaylie Dameron (19:16.66). Defiance senior Abby Horvath ran well, finishing sixth.
“I felt good about my race today, though that third mile was hard,” Horvath said.
Defiance senior Shay Soukup was not far behind, placing eighth (20:23.76). Freshman Mira Horvath placed 16th, with a personal best time of 20:47.74.
“I definitely felt like it was a good race for me today and I felt good,” Mira said.
Also for Defiance, sophomore Emily Wahl was 26th (21:23.74) and sophomore Kameron Burkhart was 31st (21:58.6). Of Defiance’s sixth and seventh runners, sophomore Olivia Moats placed 49th and junior Joanna Schlatter placed 80th.
Ottawa-Glandorf’s top runner was senior Allison Schroeder in 34th (22:03.49).
“Our home course has not been good to us, because the last time we ran the WBL meet here, we had a streak of titles broken that time, too,” said Defiance coach Scott Saner. “What you saw today is that the league is considerably better than it was last year. We did have a couple of kids who were off a little bit today and we’re still seeking our identity. But this is who we are, right now. The girls ran hard, but this year, we’re just not as good as we have been in the past.”
Defiance 22, Ottawa-Glandorf 77, St. Marys 97, Lima Shawnee 97, Van Wert 139, Celina 140, Wapakoneta 211, Elida 218, Kenton 221, Lima Bath 249
Mhalicki Bronson (D), 15:23.85; Cooper Morton (D); Brennen Roehrig (D); Isaiah Johns (LS); Noah Tobin (SM); Colin Moats (D); Hunter Sherer (VW); Kamron Maag (OG); Ethan Ly (C); Eli Fortman (D).
Lima Shawnee 59, Celina 64, Van Wert 83, Defiance 87, St. Marys 125, Kenton 130, Wapakoneta 170, Lima Bath 183, Ottawa-Glandorf 231
Caylee Phillips (VW), 18:42.78; Kaylie Dameron (C); Joscelyn Dameron (C); Kierra Krohmer (K); Celia Spieles (LS); Abby Horvath (D); Paige Schneider (W); Shay Soukup (D); Alaina Williams (LS); Caleigh Ross (C).