Woodridge boys cross country makes it 10 Division II state titles
OBETZ — In a year where everything has been unusual, the 2020 Division II boys state cross country meet had a familiar feel to it.
The Princes of Peninsula made history yet again.
Woodridge won its second consecutive Division II boys title and 10th since 2006, winning the title with 113 points. Waynesville and Unito tied with 149 points, but Waynesville won the tie-breaker to take second
Not only did Woodridge win the team title, but senior Ryan Champa became the first individual champion for the Bulldogs, winning the race in a personal record time of 15:42.9.
Elsewhere in the Division II boys race, Tallamdge finished 14th with 301 points, led by an All-Ohio performance from senior Tommy Naiman.
Woodridge coach Jeff Howard was beaming after the win.
"They ran their best race today," Howard said. "It's the culmination of years of hard work for these guys."
The Bulldogs became the first boys program in Ohio history to win 10 titles. Minster's girls program holds the record with 13 state title.
"You take each one as it comes," Howard said. "We wanted to make sure we kept things going after [former coach] Stan Stammen started us off so well."
Champa won the race my making a move in the last mile. He admitted he wanted the individual title, especially after Woodridge was upset by Bay at regionals.
"We worked hard all week," Champa said. "We made certain that it wouldn't happen again. It almost feels wrong to be the first one to win with all the legends we've had, but the fact I did is pretty special."
Champa was one of three All-Ohioans for Woodridge, along with senior Andrew Lauck (13th, 16:11.4) and junior Aaron Dutt (14th, 16:11.9).
The race for the individual title came down to Champa and CVCA's Brennan Akins. Akins stayed with Champa until the final mile, but took second in a personal record time of 16:49.8.
"I'm super happy with what I did today," Akins said. "I was trying to stay with Ryan. He knew I was there and he took off."
Naiman improved nearly 50 places from his last year's run, taking 18th place in 16.14.5.
"I still ran a good race and I'm happy with what I did," Naiman said. "The state meet is all about getting All-Ohio. Champa was running with a serious mission today."
"We did not run that great as a team, but the fact we were down here took the pressure off Tommy," Tallmadge coach Jeremy Huth said. "Tommy ran the race he wanted today."
St. VIncent-St. Mary senior Chase Powers finished 77th in 17:14.4.
In the Division II girls race, the Irish held the lead after the first mile before defending champion Lexington surged back to the title, winning with 113 points.
Dayton Oakwood edged St. V 127-135 for second place. Woodridge finished fourth with 139 points and Revere finished 12th with 293 points.
"There was some very tough competition and a very fast course today," Irish coach Dan Lancianese said. "They stepped it up."
The Irish had two All-Ohio finishes from junior Kate Saum (24th, 19:23.5) and senior Theresa Hagey (25th, 19:23.7).
Woodridge also scored two All-Ohio girls, as freshman Reese Reaman finished 20th in 19:06.3, and junior Izzy Best was 26th in 19:25.8.
"We were ranked fourth in the state coming in," Howard said. "We had a good day. We ended up with two All-Ohioans when we didn't have any last year."
Tallmadge junior Anna Crangle took 61st in 20:07.1
"It was different. There was a lot of heat today," Crangle said. "I think that was big. I was able to run my race."
"When you're by yourself, it's totally different then when she ran with the team last year," Huth said. "That was a good performance for her."
Hoban freshman Lauren Mahoney finished 95th (20:38.7), and CVCA's Anna Ripple was 97th (20:40.6)
In the Division III girls race, Mogadore freshman Katie Lane didn't look like a state rookie.
Lane went out just behind the lead back and stayed consistently in the mid-20s. She finished 24th in in 19:28.8, shattering her personal record by about 20 seconds and earning All-Ohio honors.
"It was super nice out there," Lane said of the course. "It was really flat, so I knew that I could go and get a PR [personal record]. My strategy was to keep a positive attitude and know that God was with me the whole race."
Lane said she was aiming for an All-Ohio spot and that her ultimate goal was to break Mogadore's school record.
Wildcats coach Tim Baker was sporting purple hair, thanks to his freshman's request. Baker noted he expects a lot more from Lane in the future.
"There's not a better day to run a PR than at states," Baker said. "She did everything that we asked of her this year. She puts in the work. The sky is the limit with her."
In the Division III boys race, Manchester senior Cale Olechnowicz was stoked with his performance. He set a personal record time of 16:48.3 and finished in 49th place, moving up 12 places in the last mile.
"It was a lot faster than what we ran on last year," Olechnowicz said. "Overall, I was close to the school record. I missed it by about five seconds. I beat my personal best. That was my goal."
"It was an awesome race," Manchester coach Steve Schaadt said. "It was definitely different because we couldn't run invitationals this year. We knew there was a chance we could even race here. I'm very proud of him."