October 2, 2014

Elyria
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Avon wins second straight WSC cross country title

BAY VILLAGE — In sharp contrast to their last match-up against Bay seven weeks ago, the Avon boys ran away with the West Shore Conference meet Saturday, winning its second straight championship.

Avon outdistanced the second-place Rockets, 28-59, for the title. Bay defeated Avon by less than half a second in a tiebreaker Aug. 25, in the WSC Preview meet at Cahoon Park.

Junior Austin Fasciana of Avon defended his individual title in 16 minutes, 12.64 seconds. But probably the happiest Eagle was senior Blake Pecoraro, who took second in 16:18.46. Pecoraro was only his team’s No. 5 runner (20th overall, 18:25.34) at the preview meet because of bronchitis and low blood iron.

“Oh my God,” said Pecoraro when he heard the team result. “Wow. It’s amazing. I thought we would be able to do it but I didn’t know how close it would be. I thought three of our guys might be in the top five. Other than that, I didn’t know if it was still going to be up in the air. But my teammates proved me wrong. I’m so ecstatic.”

Sophomores Sean Kane (fifth, 16:37.56) and Ben Smith (sixth, 16:40.68), along with junior Alex Shermak (14th, 17:1925), rounded out the top five.

“The first half of the season was not what I wanted,” Pecoraro said. “I knew going into it would be rough because I was feeling sick and had low iron. When I hit the McDonough meet (Sept. 15) I was back under 18 (17:39). Every race after that I was better and better. Today was a huge PR (personal record, 23 seconds).”

The Avon boys made team history by winning back-to-back conference titles for the first time in the program’s history. The Eagles won Inland Conference titles in 1975, ’77 and ’84, plus the Lorain County Conference title in 1986.

“We just kept our heads up,” Fasciana said. “We hadn’t gone head-to-head with Bay since the preview. That’s one of the disadvantages of moving from Division II to Division I. My freshman year we were always neck-and-neck with Bay at many meets.

“But going back to today, Bay was ranked No. 8 in Division II and Rocky River was No. 22, so we were a little bit antsy.”

Fasciana’s win marked the first time that the Avon boys won consecutive individual conference titles since Joe Berlyoung (2002) and Dezmond Douglas (2003) won in the Lorain County Conference.

“We have momentum,” said Fasciana, whose team has won four of its last five meets. “We now know how we stand (with our top seven) going into districts (Oct. 20). Today was a good day all around.”

Avon was so dominating that Fasciana, Pecoraro, Kane and Smith all finished in front of Bay’s No. 1 runner, senior Griffin Thompson (seventh, 16:41.54).

The Avon girls equaled their best performance in the West Shore Conference, finishing second only to No. 12-ranked Bay, 31-52, who unlike the Bay boys are in Division I. The Eagles last finished second in the WSC in 2008 and ’09.

The Avon girls top five all earned all-conference honors (top 14). Sophomore Alli Clark (sixth, 19:44.76) and senior Linda Morales (ninth, 19:54.20) led the way. Freshman Erin Laird (10th, 19:58.86), senior Kaitlyn Robertson (13th, 20:15.58) and sophomore Annie Bowen (14th, 20:25.58) rounded out the top five.

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

Boys

Team scores

1. Avon (AV), 28; 2. Bay (B), 59; 3. Lakewood (L), 59; 4. Rocky River (RR), 85; 5. Elyria Catholic (EC), 139; 6. Vermilion, 174; 7. North Ridgeville (NR), 201. Midview had an incomplete team

Top 5

1. Austin Fasciana (AV), 16:12.44; 2. Blake Pecoraro (AV), 16:18.46; 3. Nick Boatman (L), 16:33.34; 4. Justin Reynolds (RR), 16:34.34; 5. Sean Kane (AV), 16:37.56

Other top local runners: 6. Ben Smith (AV), 16:40.68; 8. Jake Amato (EC), 16:46.80; 14. Alex Shermak (AV), 17:19.25; 15. Matt Beltz (AV), 17:19.66; 20. Joe Goetz (AV), 17:36.19; 25. Corey Hermann (AV), 17:49.27; 26. Ben Safer (V), 17:49.02; 27. Kevin McCaffery (EC), 17:53.60; 28. Joey Yanoska (AV), 17:54.96; 29. Mike Young (AV), 17:56.43; 36. Mike Stoffiere (AV), 18:11.16; 37. Wes Ford (AV), 18:11.74; 39. Greg Nagy (EC), 18:17.14; 41. Ben Amato (EC), 18:23.41; 44. Ryley Miller (V), 18:32.84; 45. Nick Kearney (AV), 18:34.64; 50. Drew Dudokovich (AV), 18:38.20

Girls

Team scores

1. Bay, 31; 2. Avon, 52; 3. Rocky River, 72; 4. Lakewood, 76; 5. Elyria Catholic, 134; 6. Vermilion, 192; 7. Midview, 197. North Ridgeville had an incomplete team

Top 5

1. Maddie Britton (B), 18:39.94; 2. Madi Connelly (RR), 18:59.60; 3. Abby Christel (B), 19:19.45; 4. Michaela Foisy (EC), 19:33.93; 5. Chloe Bierut (RR), 19:42.04

Other top local runners: 6. Alli Clark (AV), 19:44.76; 9. Linda Morales (AV), 19:54.20; 10. Erin Laird (AV), 19:58.86; 13. Kaitlyn Robertson (AV), 20:15.58; 14. Annie Bowen (AV), 20:25.58; 25. Julia Koehler (AV), 21:31.65; 28. Shannon Adams (M), 21:37.74; 32. Anna Zemanek (EC), 21:48.45; 35. Kellie O’Keefe (AV), 22:03.47; 39. Kendra Pierce (AV), 22:08.67; 40. Alexis Konya (AV), 22:13.66; 41. Leah Lindak (NR), 22:16.18; 44. Sarah Ziegelmeyer (EC), 22:33.83; 45. Hannah Cebull (V), 22:42.83; 48. Ellen Michelich (AV), 22:53.34; 50. Jamie Squillante (AV), 22:55.46