COLUMBUS — Nerves? A bit jittery? Naw. Only nerves of steel for two super underclassmen.
Elyria Catholic sophomore Marty Coolidge and Bay freshman Mike Brajdic handled the pressure like veterans at Saturday’s state cross country meet.
Coolidge finished 10th in the Division II boys race at Scioto Downs with a time of 16:08.26. He nipped Brajdic right at the line. Brajdic was 11th in 16:08.80. It was a personal-record time for both runners.
Vermilion’s Nate Cremean finished 29th in the Division II race and teammate Nate Rodriguez was 59th.
In other action involving area athletes, the Bay girls finished eighth in Division II, the Bay boys were 11th in Division II and the Amherst girls were 16th in Division I.
The top 25 finishers in each race earned all-state recognition.
Coolidge was the top sophomore finisher in the Division II race, Brajdic the top freshman.
Sandusky Perkins senior Cory Leslie won the race in 15:33.47 with a strong last mile. Marlington junior Jarrod Eick (15:47.96) was second.
“It felt great,” Coolidge said. “I was able to catch some people right at the end. I thought I didn’t have anything left, but I found a kick.”
Coolidge is the EC boys’ first all-state cross country runner since 2001 when Chris Hoban finished 22nd in 16:21. Chris Kuhman just missed All-Ohio last year (31st, 16:41) for Elyria Catholic. Coolidge wanted to make up for Kuhman’s near-miss.
“I got out exactly how I wanted,” Coolidge said. “I went through the mile mark in 5:01 and the two-mile in 10:14.”
It’s the first time an EC boy cracked the top 10 at state since 1983 when Tim Mackert placed third (15:53). Mackert was on hand to witness Coolidge’s special day.
“I thought the race couldn’t have unfolded any better,” said EC boys coach Chuck Lynch. “The first pack broke away and he was really with the group he wanted to be with anyway. He runs better when he’s in a smooth group. It’s going to push him. That group pushed him along. It helped the whole group.”
Brajdic, likewise, ran like he had ice water in his veins. He dug himself out of an early hole. Brajdic was seven seconds back of Coolidge at the mile mark, but rallied.
“I was trying to catch him (Coolidge),” Brajdic said. “I spotted him and pulled up to within a second or two of him by the two-mile.”
Brajdic’s performance wasn’t quite enough to help out his teammates. The Bay boys, ranked No. 8 in the state poll, finished only 11th of 16 teams with 240 points.
“Maybe we were just a little too happy to be here,” said Bay boys coach Steve Babson. “It’s been a while (seven years). We peaked at regionals.
“The fact Mike ran so good it makes it harder to understand. It makes you wonder why no one else was able to. Mike got better every week. He learns every week.”
Vermilion senior Nate Cremean came up just shy in his bid for Division II All-Ohio. He was 29th in 19:29.11, missing top 25 by 4.62 seconds.
“I should have taken over a little bit more around the
two-mile mark (10:22 split),” said Cremean. “I’ve been going out too conservative (5:08, mile split). The same type of thing happened last year. I didn’t go out fast enough so I had more people to deal with. I’m disappointed, but I can’t do anything about it.”
Last year, Cremean finished 42nd in 16:52.
Amherst didn’t have the type of day it hoped for. The Comets were 16th of 16 teams in the Division I girls race with 416 points. Junior Jessica Bartholomew (102nd, 20:15.92) and senior Michele Molnar (120th, 20:33.87) led Amherst. Freshman Kasey Schuler (123rd, 20:37.48), junior Jane Lehman (124th, 20:37.46) and sophomore Erica Kelly (147th, 21:33.45) rounded out the top five.
“The last thing in the world you want to say is that we’re just glad to be here,” said Amherst girls coach Terry Kemp.
“This isn’t what they hoped for. It took so much for them to get here.
“You can’t be disappointed with what they accomplished, especially when you go back and look how we placed at some of the meets. We only finished seventh at three major meets. They weren’t ranked the whole year until the end of the season.”
Magnificat sophomore Madeline Chambers of Westlake led the Blue Streaks to a second-place finish in Division I, taking seventh in 18:28.63.
“I’m so proud of my team, no matter how we did,” said Chambers. “We pushed it very hard today but still ended up losing. I still love my teammates.”
Bay girls eighth
The Bay girls team fared well in the program’s first state meet since 1995. The Rockets were eighth with 216 points in the Division II girls meet. Kettering Alter won the meet with 84 points, followed by Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy (111).
Senior Hannah Farver led Bay, finishing 28th in 19:28.71. The 2006 All-Ohio runner missed
all-state by just six seconds.
Senior Stephanie Black (60th, 20:09.24), senior Molly Gorie (78th, 20:29.59), sophomore Lisa Griebel (84th, 20:32.87), freshman Megan Mohney (91st, 20:39.83), junior Jessica Gale (125th, 21:32.24) and junior Megan O’Brien (144th, 22:45.44) rounded out the team.
“The pace felt harder and faster than last year,” Farver said. “I just tried to keep it smooth, then tried to pick off people in the end. I picked off a few people, it just wasn’t enough. Overall, we’re happy. We finished a lot better than what we were ranked (16th).”
“I thought everyone raced fine,” said Bay girls coach Joe Knap. “They ran the perfect race at regionals. It was going to be hard to duplicate that. Tiffin’s a faster course. Our kids stuck together well.”
Contact Paul Heyse at 329-7135 or PHHeyse@aol.com.
1. Medina, 76; 2. Centerville, 127; 3. North Canton Hoover, 157; 157; 4. Brecksville, 162; 5. Toledo St. John’s, 201
1. Donny Roys (Medina), 15:21.83; 2. Dan Theiler (Cincinnati St. Xavier), 15:22.86; 3. Dave Rafailedes (Massillon Jackson), 15:30.27; 4. Zach Willis (Mason), 15:32.96; 5. Greg Roeth (Miamisburg), 15:34.45
(Top 5 and area teams)
1. Woodridge, 83; 2. Walsh Jesuit, 115; 3. Canal Winchester, 132; 4. Uhrichsville Claymont, 150; 5. Tipp City Tippecanoe, 176; 11. Bay, 240
(Top 5 and area runners)
1. Cory Leslie (Sandusky Perkins), 15:33.47; 2. Jarrod Eick (Marlington), 15:47.56; 3. Brian Himmelright (Woodridge), 15:47.92; 4. Galen Dillis (Unioto), 15:50.27; 5. Tyler Cantley (Warren), 15:51.44; 10. Marty Coolidge (Elyria Catholic), 16:08.26; 11. Mike Brajdic (Bay), 16:08.80
Other area runners
29. Nate Cremean (Vermilion), 16:29.11; 59. Nate Rodriguez (Vermilion), 16:59.41; 75. Brian Zeuch (Bay), 17:20.28; 84. Jordan Hawkins (Bay), 17:28.12; 103. Marty Sammon (Bay), 17:50.50; 105. Jeremy Farver (Bay), 17:52.49; 120. Matt Notarberardino (Bay), 18:11.07; 130. Kyle Nickel (Bay), 18:11.07
1. Louisville St. Thomas Aquinas, 54; 2. McDonald, 118; 3. Russia, 124; 4. Bellaire St. John Central, 185; 5. Trinity, 195
1. Water Luttrell (Dayton Christian), 15:34.09; 2. John Luttrell (Dayton Christian), 15:34.36; 3. Tony Miglossi (St. Thomas Aquinas), 15:47.31; 4. James Gibson (East Canton), 15:56.94; 5. Landon Hamilton (Pymatuning Valley), 15:57.06
(Top 5 and area teams)
1. Brecksville, 115; 2. Magnificat, 120; 3. Massillon Jackson, 132; 4. North Canton Hoover, 147; 5. Cincinnati Colerain, 151; 16. Amherst, 416
(Top 5 and area runners)
1. Claire Durkin (Worthington Kilbourne), 17:10.51 (MEET RECORD, old record 17:15.3 set in 1992 by Salem’s Jenni Brown); 2. Brooklyne Ridder (Cincinnati Oak Hills), 17:38.03; 3. Carly Hamilton (Springboro), 18:12.01; 4. Emily Pritt (Massillon Jackson), 18:15.40; 5. Erika Alpeter (Hilliard Darby), 18:21.29; 7. Madeline Chambers (Magnificat, Westlake resident), 18:28.63
Other area runners
43. Kelly Gallagher (St. Joseph Academy, Westlake resident), 19:25.54; 59. Alex Helfrich (Magnificat, Grafton resident), 19:43.45; 102. Jessica Bartholomew (Amherst), 20:16.81; 120. Michele Molnar (Amherst), 20:33.87; 123. Kasey Schuler (Amherst), 20:37.48; 124. Jane Lehman (Amherst), 20:37.76; 147. Erica Kelly (Amherst), 21:33.45; 151. Megan Byrne (Amherst), 22:02.90; 153. Abbie Hornyak (Amherst), 23:29.74
Top 5 and area teams
1. Kettering Alter, 94; 2. CVCA, 111; 3. Beaumont, 123; 4. Defiance, 125; 5. West Milton-Milton Union, 131; 8. Bay, 216
1. Emily Infeld (Beaumont), 17:30.91; 2. Chelsea Oswald (Walsh Jesuit), 18:12.49; 3. Hilary Esselstein (Kettering Alter), 18:22.21; 4. Katie Gillespie (CVCA), 18:28.72; 5. Abbie Clifford (Perry), 18:32.13
28. Hannah Farver (Bay), 19:28.71; 60. Stephanie Black (Bay), 20:09.24; 78. Molly Gorie (Bay), 20:29.59; 84. Lisa Griebel (Bay), 20:32.87; 91. Megan Mohney (Bay), 20:39.83; 125. Jessica Gale (Bay), 21:32.24; 144. Megan O’Brien (Bay), 22:45.44
1. Versailles, 119; 2. Gilmour, 120; 3. Minster, 124; 4. Berkshire, 136; 5. Fort Loramie, 145
1. Stephanie Morgan (Barnesville), 17:27.16; 2. Janel Olberding (Fort Loramie), 18:28.75; 3. Natalie Perzanowski (St. John Central), 18:38.84; 4. Brittany Stockmaster (Seneca East), 18:50.67; 5. Shayla Siefker (Ottoville), 18:51.74