The definition of a dynasty?
Woodridge cross country can pen in that title with little doubt when it comes to the Portage Trail Conference. Whether it was in the County Division or the Metro Division, the boys and girls’ programs have been dominant.
With Woodridge joining the Metro Division in leaving the PTC next year, veteran head coach Jeff Howard saw his clubs capture another pair of titles at the Portage County Fairgrounds Oct. 12.
Howard’s boys’ squad, Ohio’s top-ranked Division II unit, looked like the defending champions.
"The top-ranked Bulldogs ran well to secure their 15th consecutive conference championship," said Howard. "Our boys will leave the PTC without ever suffering a conference loss."
Not to be outdone, the Woodridge girls also were spectacular in winning a league title.
Fueled by a 1-2-3 finish and an individual championship by Howard’s senior daughter, Libby Howard, Woodridge dominated the Metro Division in Randolph.
"The girls cross country team wrapped up their time in the Portage Trail Conference with their 14th league championship in the 15-year history of the conference," said the coach.
Looking to use the momentum into the post season, Woodridge was set to compete at the Lorain Division II District Championships Oct. 19 at the Lorain County Community College..
At districts, the top five teams and individuals not on qualifying teams that finish in the top 20 will advance to the Oct. 26 Boardman Regional Championships.
In boys PTC action, Woodridge easily outscored runner-up Lodi Cloverleaf 20-69 to win the Metro Division team crown. Field was third (99).
With a strong race, Ryan Champa earned second-place out of 114 runners with a clocking of 15 minutes, and 42.8 seconds.
Only Cloverleaf star Max Gucker beat Champa as Gucker posted a time of 15:34.5. Last year, Gucker was second just in front of Champa. Two year’s ago, Gucker ran third.
"The boys placed seven runners in the top ten and were led by Ryan’s runner up finish," pointed out Howard.
"Champa joined Zayd Elkurd, Micah Blair, Aaron Dutt, Andrew Lauck, and Sam Dutt by earning first team all-conference honors," added the coach. "Ryan Lauck and Caden Hibbs will also be recognized as second-team all-league as they both finished in the top 14."
Another great race was turned in by Elkurd, who ran third overall after placing fourth in 2018. Elkurd’s time was 15:48.2.
Both Champa and Elkurd are two-time All-PTC first team selections.
A senior, Blair became a rare four-time All-PTC first teamer.
Blair, the defending two-time league champ, raced fourth overall with a time of 15:54.1.
Aaron Dutt also impressed as he grabbed fifth, Andrew Lauck crossed sixth, and Sam Dutt finished seventh overall.
With a time of 15:56.9, Aaron Dutt was in the team’s top four while Andrew Lauck also earned first-team honors for the first time, placing sixth in 15:59.
Sam Dutt is a senior who ran seventh with a strong clocking of 16:33.6. Sam Dutt became a three-time All-PTC honoree.
Running 10th was Ryan Lauck and Hibbs placed 14th. Lauck’s time was 16:40.4 and Hibbs crossed in 16:55.9.
In girls’ action, Woodridge shined by outscoring runner up Cloverleaf 18-54. Springfield placed third (77).
Libby Howard collected an individual championship with a sterling time of 19:01.4.
Named the Runner of the Year in the league, Howard is a four-time All-PTC performer.
"Libby ran an outstanding race to grab PTC Runner of the Year honors and win," said a proud father. "Libby paced the Bulldogs with seven of the top 10 finishers in the race."
Rounding the exciting 1-2-3 finish was Anastasia Bakuhn and Izzy Best, who ran second and third, respectively.
Bakuhn had a monstrous improvement from 2018 as she was timed at 19:29.6. Best ran third at 19:44.6 to gain her second All-PTC honor in as many years.
"Anastasia and Izzy, and Elise Carey all had top five finishes," commented Howard.
With the fifth-place finish, Carey had an incredible 186-second improvement from last fall! Her time was 19:48.7.
"Leighton Kline joined these four girls with first-team all-conference honors with her seventh-place finish," remarked Howard.
Kline gained her All-PTC honors for the first time with a clocking of 20:11.4.
"Joy McFarland, Leah Ziegler, Anna Wojcik, and Leah Stanfield each grabbed second team honors as they each finished in the top 14 of the race," said Howard.
Finishing ninth was McFarland, who was timed at 20:19.4.
Ziegler raced 10th with a clocking of 20:24, Wojcik was 12th in 20:25.2, and Stanfield was 14th with a time of 20:46.
Making honorable mention All-PTC for the girls were Evelyn Willett (17th) and Rosie Sterling (18th).