September 23, 2014

Elyria
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Cross country: Shoremen find reason to smile after taking second at Earlybird

ELYRIA – You don’t fist pump when you finish second.

Shaking hands? That’s a different story and definitely OK, especially when second place means something.

It did Saturday for the Avon Lake Shoremen who, for the second time in three years, took runner-up honors in the Maroon Division race at the Avon Lake Earlybird Cross Country Invitational at Lorain County Community College and celebrated with a bunch of handshakes on a brutally tough day that saw the heat index reach the mid-90s.

A high dew point (71 degrees) coupled with the 83 percent humidity made the temperatures seem even worse.

Avon Lake finished second with 99 points, trailing only defending champion St. Ignatius (71) in the 21-team field. The Wildcats were third at last year’s state meet.

Seniors Trevor Norris (fourth, 16:31.0), Francesco Maiorca (fifth, 16:38.0) and Connor Musial (eighth, 16:57.9) led Avon Lake.

Junior Tommy Parsons (33rd, 17:40.3) and sophomore James Darkow (43rd, 17:51.6) rounded out the top five.

“Our coach (Rob Juergens) is happy,” Norris said. “He knows we’re headed in the right direction. Last week (at the SWC Preview) we didn’t perform how we wanted to. We had a big gap last week between our No. 3 and 4 runners. They closed it today.

“The difference today was running better, more even splits. (Juergens) really emphasized that. Last week, I opened with a 5:06 mile, but today I opened with a 5:15. It helped at the end. He knows what he’s talking about.”

Better-balanced mile splits were definitely a difference-maker across the board. Norris was 22 seconds faster than last week (16:53), while Maiorca was 20 seconds faster and Musial 24. Parsons (13 seconds) and Darkow (27) also improved.

“The guys are happy,” Juergens said. “I’m glad they performed well. When the course is dry and the grass is cut, the times are good on this course. I thought today was a good step for us.”

A very good step. Avon Lake defeated Toledo St. Francis (117), St. Edward (118) and defending state champ Louisville (166). St. Francis was fifth at last year’s state meet.

Avon, last year’s Gold Division champ at the Earlybird, looked good in its debut for the Maroon Division race with an eighth-place finish.

Sophomore Austin Fasciana (15th, 17:08.5) and junior Blake Pecoraro (26th, 17:28.7) led the way.

“It went very well,” said Fasciana, who was 12th in the Gold Race last year. “I need to go back to the drawing board for my hill work. That still needs improvement. Division I is very tough, but it’s going to make us a better program. There are good schools in Division II, but there are more gaps between runners. You can run at your own pace in Division II. All the gaps are filled up in Division I.”

Sophomore Gabrielle Neubauer (third, 22:02.0) was the catalyst for the Open Door girls, who finished third out of 10 schools in the Gold Division. A year ago, they were fifth out of 13.

Junior Sarah Hoff (sixth, 22:56.1), senior Cassie Crowder (17th, 24:06.5), junior Sydney Schmidt (28th, 25:59.3) and sophomore Kelsey Strouse (36th, 26:46.4) rounded out the top five.

“Gabby was a solid third the entire way,” Open Door coach Chris Clark said. “Hoff is really starting to hit her stride. I’m very happy with how everyone ran. Today’s performance shows how hard the girls worked over the summer and how much they want to make it back to regionals.”

Black River junior Gus Kazek, a Division II state qualifier last year, was fifth (17:43.4) in the Gold Division boys race to lead area runners.

Contact Paul Heyse at 329-7135 or ctsports@chroniclet.com.

Boys

Maroon Division: 1. St. Ignatius, 71; 2. Avon Lake (AL), 99; 3. Toledo St. Francis, 117; 4. St. Edward, 118; 5. Louisville, 166. Other local teams: 8. Avon (AV), 232; 14. Amherst (AM), 332; 18. Elyria (EL), 561; 19. North Ridgeville (NR), 589; 20. Midview, 641. Out of 21 teams.

Top 3: 1. Mitch Baum (St. Ignatius), 16:19.0; 2. Dan Zupan (Berea), 16:26.0; 3. Ryan Gallagher (Buckeye), 16:30.0

Top local runners: 4. Trevor Norris (AL), 16:31.0; 5. Francesco Maiorca (AL), 16:38.0; 8. Connor Musial (AL), 16:57.9; 15. Austin Fasciana (AV), 17:08.5; 23. Mark Matos (AM), 17:26.0; 26. Blake Pecoraro (AV), 17:28.7; 33. Tommy Parsons (AL), 17:40.3; 38. Sean Kane (AV), 17:45.2; 43. James Darkow (AL), 17:51.6; 47. Mike Callesen (AL), 17:57.7; 54. Kevin Burgett (AM), 18:23.4; 65. Leon Kinsley (AL), 18:48.4; 73. Alex Shermak (AV), 19:03.7; 80. Matt Beltz (AV), 19:18.3; 82. Andre DelValle (AM), 19:21.5; 83. James Hawks (EL), 19:22.8; 85. Austin Miller (AM), 19:31.4; 88. Dakota Walker (AM), 19:37.8; 89. Drew Lawrence (AV), 19:41.1; 96. Matt Kretschmer (NR), 20:06.1. (Out of 139 runners.)

Gold Division: 1. Independence, 88; 2. Hudson Western Reserve, 105; 3. University School, 121; 4. Rocky River, 122; 5. Padua, 126. Local teams: 10. Firelands (FI), 240; 11. Black River (BR), 280; 12. Clearview (CL), 282; 13. Brookside (BK), 283; 14. Open Door (OD), 293; 16. Keystone (K), 415; 17. Wellington (W), 416. Out of 17 teams.

Top 3: 1. Ryan Polman (Independence), 16:29.9; 2. Kyle Polman (Independence), 17:16.4; 3. Evan Bialosky (Padua), 17:20.6.

Top local runners: 4. Gus Kazek (BR), 17:43.4; 7. Brady Jeffers (FI), 18:06.7; 13. Mike Hollingsworth (CL), 18:36.3; 15. Matt Hollingsworth (CL), 18:36.4; 18. Tom Ziebro (BR), 18:49.7; 21. Cameron Rusnak (OD), 19:03.4; 26. Seth Jeffers (FI), 19:15.6; 30. Max Diedrick (W), 19:25.0; 48. Zach Bradley (BK), 19:49.7; 51. Matt Bastock (K), 19:53.9; 55. Nick Brenneman (BK), 19:59.1; 60. Jeremy Squire (OD), 20:28.6; 62. Chris Jensen (BK), 20:40.6; 65. Logan Rathge (FI), 20:46.5; 68. Mike Adkins (FI), 21:00.8; 69. Dean Wasil (OD), 21:05.6; 72. Alex Vonderau (BR), 21:13.8; 74. Cullen Grude (FI), 21:14.4; 77. Shane Horstmann (CL), 21:18.6; 78. Lenny Eiermann (BK), 21:24.0; 79. Dane Zunich (OD), 21:25.9; 80. Marshall Farnsworth (W), 21:26.5. (Out of 113 runners.)

Girls

Maroon Division: 1. Brunswick, 57; 2. Magnificat, 115; 3. Toledo Notre Dame, 121; 4. Bay, 127; 5. Wadsworth, 169. Local teams: 11. Avon Lake, 250; 12. Avon, 297; 16. North Ridgeville, 437. Out of 17 teams.

Top 3: 1. Selena Pasadyn (Brunswick), 19:19.0; 2. Elyse Bierut (Rocky River), 19:25.9; 3. Paige Szabat (Wadsworth), 19:39.3.

Top local runners: 10. Katy Link (AL), 20:09.3; 31. Amanda Ramsey (AV), 21:35.0; 37. Jessica Lambert (AL), 21:50.4; 50. Annie Wennerberg (AL), 22:15.3; 58. Monica Bickley (AV), 22:39.0; 65. Linda Morales (AV), 22:50.2; 69. Leah Lindak (NR), 23:10.5; 73. Emily Starr (AV), 23:30.9; 74. Emily Roessler (AV), 23:32.3; 76. Jane Duskey (AL), 23:38.8; 77. Taylor Lowery (NR), 23:40.0; 79. Charlotte Ward (AL), 23:45.6; 85. Katey Faber (AL), 24:05.3; 86. Annie Bowen (AV), 24:10.3. (Out of 123 runners.)

Gold Division: 1. Beaumont, 31; 2. Padua, 71; 3. Open Door, 90; 4. Holy Name, 125; 5. Hudson Western Reserve, 128. Other local teams: 6. Keystone, 147; 7. Black River, 178; 10. Brookside, 238. (Out of 10 teams.)

Top 3: 1. Rachel Slingsluff (Beaumont), 20:58.3; 2. Therese Thomason (Holy Name), 21:48.6; 3. Gabrielle Neubauer (Open Door), 22:02.0

Other top local runners: 6. Sara Hoff (OD), 22:56.1; 9. Jenna Periandri (BR), 23:06.9; 16. Maddie Copley (K), 23:45.7; 17. Cassie Crowder (OD), 24:06.5; 23. Katy Ackerman (BK), 25:08.7; 24. Bri Buckley (K), 25:12.4; 28. Sydney Schmidt (OD), 25:59.3; 30. Emily Doering (BR), 26:05.1; 33. Cait Shaw (K), 26:08.8; 35. Tina Ficociello (K), 26:26.4; 36. Kelsey Strouse (OD), 26:46.4; 39. Meredith Pollock (K), 27:48.1; 43. Courtney Smith (OD), 28:57.5; 44. Angie Kazek (BR), 29:10.7. (Out of 62 runners.)