It has been a tremendous past two weeks for the Tallmadge girls cross country team.
First, the Blue Devils won their first-ever Suburban League American Conference championship. They also captured their first-ever district title last Saturday, winning a Division II meet at Lorain Community College in Elyria to qualify for a regional meet at Boardman High School in Boardman Township.
Tallmadge scored 53 points in the 14-team competition. Woodridge was the runner-up with 63 points. Also advancing to the regional competition were Cleveland Heights Beaumont (65), Shaker Heights Hathaway Brown (110) and Lodi Cloverleaf (164).
According to Tallmadge head coach Jeremy Huth, there was something that his senior individual winner Ravyn Edge said that summed up the meet for the Blue Devils.
"I looked at her after she won and said, ‘Unfortunately, they don’t give out any individual medals at this race,’" Huth said. "And Ravyn said, ‘That doesn’t matter.’ She pointed at the team trophy and said, ‘That’s all that matters. We’re district champs.’ That meant a lot. She was putting the team first.
"Every week, somebody else [amazes] me. The stuff we’ve done this year … every week it’s something new."
Edge’s winning time in the 99-member race was 19 minutes, 8.39 seconds. The runner-up was her teammate and classmate Kenna Loveless, who clocked in at 19:15.09.
"For Ravyn to get a district championship was awesome, but Kenna dictated the entire race," Huth said. "Kenna, Ravyn and two Beaumont girls were running together in the lead. After the two-mile mark I looked at Kenna and said, ‘You have to do something to break this pack up.’
"Kenna is such a smart runner. She knows how to race. She threw in a couple surges and those Beaumont girls couldn’t hang with her. And Ravyn matched Kenna. It was the two of them for the last mile side-by-side. Ravyn just got her at the end.
"It was a brilliant race by Kenna because she definitely pushed it the entire way. It’s good to have competition amongst each other. It makes them both better. They know the ultimate goal is the team."
Freshman Kat Carter wasn’t far behind her two talented teammates. She finished seventh with a time of 19:52.46.
"Kat has had back-to-back great performances, which is unheard of out of a freshman," Huth said. "She was in the lead group for the first mile and a half. I think she went out a little too fast and that it cost her the last mile of the race. She’s capable of running with those top girls, though."
Rounding out the top five for Tallmadge were sophomores Ana Crangle (16th, 20:45.39) and Katrina Hunt (27th, 21:13.22).
"Ana has been the difference maker for this team, running extremely well late in the season," Huth said "Going into the meet, we were searching for a No. 5 runner. We’ve had three different girls finish fifth. And Katrina was the one who stepped it up in this meet. Your No. 5 runner is a huge contributor to the team’s success. It was an outstanding day for Katrina."
The regional competition is scheduled to take place this Saturday. Racing for the Blue Devils is set to begin at 2:15 p.m.
The top six teams advance to the state meet in Hebron. The top 24 individuals qualify for state.
Edge and Loveless advanced to the state meet last year. Huth feels Carter can join them there this year. He also thinks the team itself can qualify.
"We definitely have a chance to get there," Huth said. "Beating Beaumont and Woodridge was great, but now we have to turn around and run against them at the regional meet and they’re going to be coming after us.
"If we can get three girls in the top 24, we’re going to have a great shot of making it out as a team."