Tallmadge girls cross country earns trip to regional meet

Roger Gordon
Correspondent

The top seven teams at the Division II district cross country meet Oct. 24 at GlenOak High School in Canton qualified for the regional meet Oct. 31 at Boardman High School.

Tallmadge girls head coach Jeremy Huth felt his team was definitely top-seven material going into the district meet. Thus when the Blue Devils finished fourth out of 17 teams with 120 points, he was more than pleased.

.

“To finish in fourth place behind three solid teams was exactly where we wanted to be, so I was extremely happy with the way that team performed on that day,” he said. “Knowing we were likely to make it out to regionals allowed the girls to run a little more relaxed and just let go and try some things that they haven’t done before.”

Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary won the meet with 35 points. Poland Seminary finished second with 77 points and Salem was third with 116 points.

Junior Ana Crangle led the way for Tallmadge by finishing sixth out of 125 runners with a time of 19 minutes, 59.90 seconds.

“Ana was dynamite. She was super-confident up front,” said Huth. “I know her sights are set on running down in Columbus. When you’re in the top 10 of any district, that sets you up great for the next week. She has to have another solid race at regionals, and I think she has a good chance of making it out to state individually.”

Freshman Cara Basso finished 18th with a time of 20:50.74, while senior Kelsey Bellman placed 25th with a clocking of 21:19.29.

“Cara has stepped right in and solidified our number two spot. She ran a fantastic time,” Huth said. “Once you start running under 21 minutes, that is a very, very solid time for any high school girl. So she now puts herself in that category to be a top contender for years to come. I’m super-proud of her. She got great experience.

“Kelsey had the race of her life. I’m so proud of her. Last year, we had to make a late-season move and put somebody in her spot, which bumped her out of our top seven. She did what was best for the team. Now, it’s her turn to shine. She was confident the entire race, was solid, was smiling. It was awesome to see her have success at this level. It was a second off her personal best, but at the district meet I’ll take her time any day of the week. She ran her heart out.”

Junior Katrina Hunt finished 34th with a time of 21:54.38, and senior Mackenzie Moran was 37th with a time of 22:07.45.

“Katrina had a solid performance,” said the coach. “She continues to improve throughout the year. She’s setting herself up nicely for the rest of the season.

“Mackenzie was probably a little disappointed with her race. I know she wants to be up there with Kelsey and Katrina. She just needs to refocus and reset. Like I told her, the great thing about it is that our team ran extremely well. Every weekend may not be your best race, but the team got us through. Now, it’s her turn to come back and knock it out of the water next week.”

The regional meet begins at noon. The top six teams advance to the state meet. If Tallmadge does not qualify for state as a team, the top 24 individuals advance to state.

“We’re right around seventh or eighth, kind of an outlier looking in,” Huth said. “I let these girls know that one of the teams in the top six that is expected to make it out is not going to make it out. Somebody never runs quite like they should.

“We have to be spot on, we have to run spectacularly. If we can do that, we’ll put ourselves in a pretty good position. It’s still going to be tough, but you never know. We’re just hoping for a duplicate from last year that we run our best at the regional meet.”