October 21, 2014

Elyria
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High school cross country: Avon’s Austin Fasciana sets school record at state meet, earns All-Ohio honors

HEBRON — Austin Fasciana’s third state cross country meet was the charm.

The Avon junior had a stellar day at Saturday’s 84th annual boys and 35th annual girls state cross country championships at National Trail Raceway, finishing 17th to earn Division I All-Ohio honors.

He did it with a school-record 15:46.12 clocking, the third-fastest all-time 5K mark for a Lorain County boy at the state classic.

Firelands’ Mike Beetler holds the  two fastest state times, running 15:39 in a second-place finish in the 1983 Class AA individual race and then 15:42 for a third at the 1982 Class AA team race.

“I was just really thrilled making it here a third time,” said Fasciana, whose placing was the first Division I top-20 finish by a Lorain County boy since Zak Wilburn finished 15th in 2004. “I knew that I didn’t have a chance for a top-five finish, so I didn’t go out there with a big head. And, even though I took the first mile out kind of quick (4:51), I managed to back it down and run a controlled race.”

Fasciana was 50th in 16:22.50 at the 2011 state meet and 17th in Division II in 2010 as a freshman (16:18.9).

“Today’s field was way tougher. The stakes were so much higher,” said Fasciana, who broke Avon’s 2010 school record of 15:54.7 set by Tyler Kvach. “It was just all about going out there and taking care of business. It was a perfect day to race.”

Fasciana’s Avon teammate Blake Pecoraro also ran a career-record time to finish 45th. His 16:05.72 slashed 12 seconds off his personal best.

“I wanted sub-16, but I’m happy,” said Pecoraro. “To make it here is exciting, but to run a huge PR like that is even better.”

“It was a great performance. I’m very happy,” said Avon coach Matt Nortz. “I was a little nervous with how fast they went out. It was gutsy. I couldn’t ask for anything more from those guys.”

A two-time Division III state qualifier, Elyria Catholic senior Michaela Foisy also hoped for an All-Ohio finish, but fell just short.

The Panther school record-holder at 19:00, Foisy was in contention for an all-state spot for two miles. She ended up 34th in 19:28.93, her second fastest time of the season, missing All-Ohio by 11.81 seconds.

“I wanted top 16 and at least All-Ohio,” said Foisy, fighting back tears. “I came out with a stress fracture of four weeks, so I knew it might be a struggle. I didn’t run at all this week. I had to rely on a lot of cross-training.”

“It hurt a little bit during the race, but that wasn’t the main issue. It just seemed like after the mile mark (5:35 to 5:40), I felt like I wasn’t prepared. I just fell short. I know there are reasons for that, but I try not to let myself justify that.”

A cancer survivor, Foisy was diagnosed with leukemia at six months old and underwent a bone marrow transplant. She has been in remission ever since.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity to run,” said Foisy. “The state meet is such an honor. I’m a cancer survivor. I have the scars and everything. Having the chance to do this and just to live my life is special. Running is something I love to do.”

Last year, Foisy finished 45th at state in 20:00.39.

Amherst sophomore Alexis Szivan finished 49th in Division I in 19:00.41, a career-record mark by nearly 18 seconds.

“I started off way too fast, but I ran a PR,” said Szivan. “Every race I learn something new. I was so nervous. I had a relaxed night, but I was just very nervous.”

Tipp City Tippecanoe senior Sam Wharton won the Division I boys race (15:09.95), defeating Westerville North senior Jacob Dumford (15:17.62). Wharton is the son of Jim Wharton, an Avon High graduate. Sam was second last year (15:24.98) by 3.46 seconds and also took second in the 3,200 meters at the 2012 Division I state track meet.

“It was what I was looking to do this year,” said Sam. “All the goals have been accomplished. I’m going to have fun the postseason.”

Contact Paul Heyse at 440-329-7135 or ctsports@chroniclet.com

Division I

Boys
Team scores: 1. St. Xavier, 71; 2. Mason, 123; 3. St. Ignatius, 129; 4. Westerville North, 151; 5. Hilliard Davidson, 189; 6. Walsh Jesuit, 219; 7. Tippecanoe, 229; 8. Mentor, 231; 9. Toledo St. Francis, 232; 10. Twinsburg, 241; 11. Solon, 246; 12. Centerville, 257; 13. Brunswick, 264; 14. Olentangy Liberty, 264; 15. New Albany, 324; 16. Medina, 376

Top 5: 1. Sam Wharton (Tippecanoe), 15:09.95; 2. Jacob Dumford (Westerville North), 15:17.61; 3. Brian Brennan (Walsh Jesuit), 15:22.63; 4. Nick Elswick (Chardon), 15:24.01; 5. Kent Ford (Westerville North), 15:29.11

Local runners: 17. Austin Fasciana (Avon), 15:46.12; 45. Blake Pecoraro (Avon), 16:05.72

Girls

Team scores: 1. Mason, 42; 2. Centerville, 142; 3. Beavercreek, 147; 4. Sylvania Northview, 158; 5. Hilliard Davidson, 180; 6. Dublin Coffman, 201; 7. Springboro, 203; 8. Bay, 218; 9. Hudson, 219; 10. Massillon Jackson, 220; 11. Brunswick, 243; 12. Mentor, 279; 13. Upper Arlington, 291; 14. Walsh Jesuit, 310; 16. Dublin Scioto, 333

Top 5: 1. Jacquelyn Crow (Lebanon), 17:39.31; 2. Janelle Noe (Northview), 17:40.88; 3. Annie Heffernan (Cincinnati St. Ursuline), 17:45.07; 4. Lauren Wood (Mason), 17:52.35; 5. Samantha Siler (Sycamore), 17:56.57

Local runner: 49. Alexis Szivan (Amherst), 19:00.41

Division III

Girls

Team scores: 1. Liberty Center, 101; 2. Coldwater, 116; 3. Gilmour Academy, 123; 4. Russia, 145; 5. Minster, 146; 6. West Liberty-Salem, 158; 7. Berkshire, 221; 8. Garaway, 229; 9. McDonald, 234; 10. Liberty-Benton, 263; 11. Fort Loramie, 264; 12. Smithville, 266; 13. Mount Gilead, 288; 14. Grandview Heights, 292; 15. Columbus Academy, 310; 16. Spencerville, 325

Top 5: 1. Sarah Kenney (Coldwater), 17:58.03; 2. Brittany Atkinson (Liberty Venter), 18:06.67; 3. Delainey Phelps (Toledo Christian), 18:16.06; 4. Alexandra Markovich (Hawken), 18:19.55; 5. Meghan Vogel (West Liberty-Salem), 18:24.76

Local runner: 34. Michaela Foisy (Elyria Catholic), 19:28.93