November 22, 2014

Elyria
Cloudy
49°F
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Cross country: Avon boys win West Shore, snap league-title drought

BAY VILLAGE — The last time the Avon boys cross country team won a conference title, Coach Tara Gruskiewicz was about to turn 6 and athletic director Erich Frombach was a senior at Amherst High School.

The drought ended Saturday for the Eagles, who last won a league title in 1986 when they won the inaugural Lorain County Conference meet.

On Saturday, Avon dethroned six-time defending champ Bay, 18-52.
Avon put its top five runners across the finish line at Cahoon Park before Bay had anyone break the line. All seven Eagles finished in the top 19.

Eagles sophomore Austin Fasciana was the class of the field. He ran away from everyone to win in a time of 17 minutes, 28.09 seconds. Teammate Sean Kane (18:00.14), a freshman, was second. Junior Blake Pecoraro (fourth, 18:18.08), sophomore Alex Shermak (fifth, 18:22.45) and sophomore Corey Hermann (seventh, 18:33.80) rounded out the top five.

“This feels great,” a mud-splattered Fasciana said. “Everyone ran great. This team has a lot of good runners. Despite the course, everyone ran well.”

Just how big of a giant did Avon slay? Since 1970, Bay has won 27 conference titles, including 21 in the Southwestern Conference.
“Hopefully, it’s a step in the right direction,” Fasciana said. “The course was incredibly wet, but the wind was even worse. It was pushing me around all over.”

Last year, Avon lost a heartbreaker to Bay, 37-40, despite placing its first three runners in the top 10. Fasciana was the team’s No. 4 runner a year ago at conference, taking 11th overall (17:10.47).

The scope of Avon’s win extended beyond Saturday for the Eagles, who are in Division I this year.

“Today’s kind of the turning point in our season,” Gruskiewicz said. “It sets the tone for the rest of the season. I put a huge emphasis on this meet. We needed to show up ready to race. I felt that if we didn’t come through like we did today it would severely impact our chances at districts.

“It’s good to pull it together — finally.”

Avon won the Elyria district and Tiffin regional meets last year, then went on to finish third at the Division II state meet.
Fasciana finished 17th at the 2010 state meet to earn All-Ohio honors (top 25). He had the fastest time of the day for any freshman runner (16:17) at Columbus in all three divisions.

“I wasn’t feeling well last year at conference,” Fasciana said. “My asthma was kicking in. This year I took my inhaler. I felt very good today.”

Last year’s tough defeat at the WSC championships served as a big motivator.

“We ran well (at conference last year). Bay ran better than us,” Gruskiewicz said. “That’s what it came down to. Last year’s (WSC) meet helped us by coming up a few points shy. For the weeks following, we emphasized every point and every place. It was a lesson learned that they did not take anything for granted.

“This year’s team is of a much different makeup. We have younger kids that don’t have as much experience. I felt like we needed to the win and a big win today in order to give them confidence going into the next two weeks.”

Bay snapped Rocky River’s six-year reign on the girls side, 27-49. It was the Bay girls’ first conference title since 1985 when it won the SWC. Avon (68) and Elyria Catholic (117) rounded out the top four.
Junior Michaela Foisy of EC was the top local finisher, taking sixth (21:26.15).
Contact Paul Heyse at 440-329-7135 or ctsports@chroniclet.com.

Boys
Team scores: 1. Avon, 18; 2. Bay, 52; 3. Rocky River, 68; 4. Elyria Catholic, 93; 5. North Ridgeville, 148. Midview and Vermilion had incomplete teams.
Individual results
Top 5: 1. Austin Fasciana (Avon), 17:28.09; 2. Sean Kane (Avon), 18:00.14; 3. Blake Williams (Rocky River), 18:08.49; 4. Blake Pecoraro (Avon), 18:18.08; 5. Alex Shermak (Avon), 18:22.45
Other top local runners: 6. Zach Siefker (M), 18:31.64; 7. Corey Hermann (A), 18:33.80; 10. Jacob Betts (A), 18:52.76; 14. Kevin McCaffrey (EC), 19:00.47; 16. Greg Nagy (EC), 19:07.50; 19. Jake Amato (EC), 19:07.50; 20. Matt Beltz (A), 19:22.78; 21. Ben Amato (EC), 19:23.18; 29. Kyle Carter (A), 20:05.91; 32. Zach Myracle (V), 20:14.74; 33. Ben Smith (A), 20:15.74; 34. Matt Kretschmer (NR), 20:17.34; 35. Jacob Linkous (EC), 20:23.66; 37. Henry Jani (A), 20:38.93; 38. Drew Lawrence (A), 20:42.74; 39. Ben Davis (EC), 20:43.45; 43. Wes Ford (A), 20:50.71; 47. Nick Kearney (A), 20:59.10; 48. Parker Williams (A), 20:59.51; 49. Drew Dudukovich (A), 20:59.84; 50. John Howard (A), 21:04.55; 52. Ryan Prieto (A), 21:09.84; 53. Don Henderson (NR), 21:10.54; 55. Brad Miller (NR), 21:52.14; 56. Nate Dorton (NR), 21:54.25; 58. Nathan Suhay (A), 22:09.76; 59. Seth Myers (NR), 22:10.86; 60. Chris Ellis (EC), 22:20.32

Girls
Team scores: 1. Bay, 27; 2. Rocky River, 49; 3. Avon, 68; 4. Elyria Catholic, 117; 5. North Ridgeville, 120; 6. Midview, 160. Vermilion had an incomplete team.
Individual results
Top 5: 1. Elyse Bierut (Rocky River), 19:27.64; 2. Madi Connelly (Rocky River), 19:50.25; 3. Maddie Britton (Bay), 20:52.80; 4. Hanna Sterle (Bay), 21:08.26; 5. Maddie Voiers (Bay), 21:19.84
Top local runners: 6. Michaela Foisy (EC), 21:26.15; 9. Amanda Ramsey (A), 22:02.40; 10. Linda Morales (A), 22:12.16; 13. Annie Bowen (A), 22:31.05; 14. Maddie Duncan (M), 22:39.51; 15. Leah Lindak(NR), 22:45.44; 17. Kaitlin Robertson (A), 22:53.40; 19. Maggie Fragapane (A), 23:01.44; 20. Taylor Lowery (NR), 23:06.94; 21. Monica Bickley (A), 23:12.55; 22. Katie Schlather (A), 23:22.38; 24. Emily Roessler (A), 23:36.02; 25. Sara Lehman (EC), 23:41.16; 26. Maddie Toth (A), 23:43.65; 27. Ali Kahl (A), 23:43.93; 28. Danielle Nagy (EC), 23:47.45; 29. Haylie Toth (A), 23:55.15; 30. Kelsey Sikon (NR), 24:21.57; 33. Cassie Cunningham (EC), 24:23.48; 35. Caitlyn Tipple (NR), 24:31.48; 39. Grace Wade (NR), 24:40.74; 41. Alexis Konya (A), 24:44.32; 42. Emily Starr (A), 24:45.63; 43. Kendra Pierce (A), 24:47.65; 45. Tessa Comnick (NR), 24:55.39; 50. Rachael Poling (A), 25:12.47; 51. Hannah Cebull (V), 25:13.10; 52. Danielle Stevens (A), 25:18.64; 54. Baylee Ford (A), 26:00.25; 55. Anna Jaskowiak (M), 26:04.04; 56. Rachel Pelfrey (A), 26:11.05; 57. Melissa Mattwig (M), 26:18.78; 59. Jamie Squillante (A), 26:46.34.