CARLISLE TWP. — Lutheran West will second that emotion.
While the Keystone girls ran well in Monday’s Keystone Icebreaker, placing all four of its runners in the top 11, it was the Longhorns who had the most consistent day among area teams as their boys (87) and girls (64) finished second at the Lorain County Equestrian Trails.
“It’s awesome,” Lutheran West coach Mark Fenske said. “If you would have asked me beforehand, I wouldn’t have wanted to hope that high, so to finish that high with both the girls and boys is tremendous.
“I think we’re going to see a lot of improvement over the course of the year. It’s kind of exciting. We have a lot of kids where this was their first real 5K race, and to be able to run like we did today is great for our future.”
Keystone’s foursome, led by runner-up Shannon Wargo, combined to score 26 points. However, the Wildcats did not register a team score because they were missing their fifth runner.
“We don’t have a full team because we had one person out with an injury and another is at the (Lorain County) fair all week and another just got back from a concussion,” said Wargo, who was the top area individual with a time of 21:14.24.
“We’re hoping two of them will run at our next meet (in two weeks at the Avon Lake Early Bird Invitational), but the other one has a while to recover and we’re hoping she gets better soon.
“For two of our girls, this is the first time they’ve ever run a 5K competitively, so I’m really proud of all of us on how we ran.”
Wargo, a sophomore, finished the same as she did at last season’s event, but gained a measure of revenge by beating Lutheran West sophomore Michaela Bierly to the finish line by just over 20 seconds. Bierly won this race last season.
“It wasn’t the finish I was hoping for, but I’m not acclimated to the heat at all,” said Bierly, who scored second-place points for her team. “This race really doesn’t mean anything. It’s the conference race that means the most, so I’ve got to look at this as a starting point and progress from there.
“I wanted to come in at 20:20 and my coach wanted me to come in at 20:50, so my time wasn’t what either of us had hoped it would be. I’ve got to put this out of my mind and focus on getting better.”
Wargo and freshman Jena Copley (fourth, 21:36.44) bookended Bierly. Copley came close to catching Bierly at the finish line, losing by less than two seconds.
“It was really tough and way tougher than I expected,” Copley said. “It was way hotter, and that third mile just gets to you. I was hoping to stay with our lead runner Shannon the whole time, but once she got out ahead, I just wanted to run my own race and see where I wind up.”
Wargo credited Cloverleaf’s Ashley Murray, who won with a time of 20:00.70 to lead the Colts to the team championship, for running a great race.
“Michaela beat me here last year and I really wanted to beat her here,” Wargo said. “We have a nice little rivalry going, and she’s a great runner. I’d expect us to be fighting for the top spot in the conference this year.
“It was definitely an improvement over how I ran here last year. I ran a 20-flat at the PAC (championship) last year after running 22:20 at the Icebreaker, so I’m definitely happy with my time, especially since I was out for six weeks at the start of the summer (with an injured toe).”
The Elyria girls, led by Tasha Miller’s eighth-place finish, took third out of the seven scoring teams with 87 points. Wellington did not score, competing with just three runners, but Ashley Martin placed fifth in 21:56.63.
For the Longhorns, senior Olivia Vasiloff (seventh), Katie Snable (17th) and Amanda Elkins (26th) joined Bierly in the top 30 individually.
“Michaela Bierly came in second in the conference race last year and took third here, and she’s worked really hard,” Fenske said. “She’s worked really hard to improve. While her finish was down, her time was better than it was last year.
“After Olivia Vasiloff, it could have been bad. But Katie Snable, Amanda Elkins and Jessica Bradley (32nd) really stepped up here, especially since this was Amanda’s first (varsity) race and we needed her to place where she did in order to finish second.”
On the boys side, Brookside junior Creighton Jensen was the top area finisher individually, finishing second behind winner Colin Theis of Buckeye with a time of 17:56.70.
“I’d say that was something I was shooting for,” Jensen said. “I’m aiming to finish really high in the PAC this year and finish really strongly. There are some guys I’ve been working on beating since track season, and I feel like I got past a lot of them today.
“I was hoping to get into the low 17s, and I came really close to that mark, so I feel really good. It definitely gives me confidence going into this year.”
Firelands’ Brennen Crawford finished fourth in 18:12.73, while Elyria’s Jake Chizmar took fifth in 18:14.63. Crawford led the Falcons to a third-place finish with 90 points, while Chizmar led the Pioneers to fifth with 124.
“I feel good about how I ran, especially for the first race,” Crawford said. “I was on pace for 2½ miles, but I fell a little behind at the end. Overall, I did good. As a team, we didn’t have a particular goal in mind except to run really hard for our first race.”
Drew Fuchs’ sixth-place finish led the Longhorns, who used a nice pack of runners to place their top six runners all in the top 29.
Contact Dan Gilles at 329-7135 or email@example.com.
TEAM STANDINGS: 1. Fairview 70, 2. Lutheran West 87, 3. Firelands 90, 4. Buckeye 96, 5. Elyria 124, 6. Cloverleaf 135, 7. Black River 170, 8. Keystone 238, 9. Clearview 245, 10. Brookside 262, 11. Oberlin 287.
TOP 30 INDIVIDUALS: 1. Colin Theis (Buckeye) 17:26.41, 2. Creighton Jenson (Brookside) 17:56.70, 3. Andrew Jarrett (Cloverleaf) 18:10.16, 4. Brennen Crawford (Firelands) 18:12.73, 5. Jake Chizmar (Elyria) 18:14.63, 6. Drew Fuchs (Lutheran West) 18:28.97, 7. Tanner Hawley (Black River) 18:40.63, 8. Luke Borsody (Fairview) 18:58.21, 9. Aidan Gallagher (Buckeye) 19:19.66, 10. Andrew Fox (Keystone) 19:24.44, 11. Cullen Grude (Firelands) 19:28.66, 12. Kevin Kerchenski (Fairview) 19:30.16, 13. Michael Adkins (Firelands) 19:31.45, 14. Stephen Cartier (Fairview) 19:32.48, 15. Billy Guerry (Fairview) 19:34.12, 16. Chris Szado (Lutheran West) 19:44.21, 17. Nick Ferancy (Elyria) 19:47.04, 18. Triston Hornbeck (Black River) 19:48.07, 19. David Berchtold (Cloverleaf) 19:49.44, 20. Matt Brown (Lutheran West) 19:50.57, 21. Josh Holloway (Fairview) 19:54.60, 22. David Quayle (Lutheran West) 19:56.13, 23. Thomas Wetzel (Lutheran West) 20:01.31, 24. Ryan Bryner (Elyria) 20:10.36, 25. Jaan Pirn (Lutheran West) 20:14.48, 26. Noah Parsons (Clearview) 20:15.49, 27. Michael Keith (Buckeye) 20:20.64, 28. Vincent King (Buckeye) 20:23.94, 29. Daniel Dmytriw (Lutheran West) 20:24.32, 30. Derek Reynolds (Firelands) 10:24.83.
TEAM STANDINGS: 1. Cloverleaf 29, 2. Lutheran West 64, 3. Elyria 87, 4. Buckeye 97, 5. Fairview 103, 6. Firelands 156, 7. Brookside 158.
TOP 30 INDIVIDUALS: 1. Ashley Murray (Cloverleaf) 20:00.70, 2. Shannon Wargo (Keystone) 21:14.34, 3. Michaela Bierly (Lutheran West) 21:34.76, 4. Jena Copley (Keystone) 21:36. 44, 5. Ashley Martin (Wellington) 21:56.63, 6. Riley Freeland (Cloverleaf) 22:06.05, 7. Olivia Vasiloff (Lutheran West) 22:36.69, 8. Tasha Miller (Elyria) 23:12.93, 9. Beth Plas (Keystone) 23:22.72, 10. Anna Winnicki (Cloverleaf) 23:33.62, 11. Jillian Peters (Keystone) 23:44.27, 12. Isabelle Petek (Buckeye) 23:49.03, 13. Emma McQuate (Fairview) 23:58.51, 14. Shannon Kilbane (Fairview) 23:58.51, 15. Tori Hritsko (Firelands) 24:01.34, 16. Erica Fauver (Buckeye) 24:09.05, 17. Clare Rehor (Fairview) 24:22.90, 18. Katie Snable (Lutheran West) 24:26.31, 19. Hannah Swain (Cloverleaf) 24:41.22, 20. Molly Siegel (Cloverleaf) 24:54.64, 21. Emily Porter (Buckeye) 25:01.05, 22. Ashley Oleszewski (Elyria) 25:10.69, 23. Sabrina Knowlton (Elyria) 25:30.15, 24. Brandee Bell (Cloverleaf) 25:35.84, 25. Sarah Kelley (Black River) 25:46.76, 26. Amanda Elkins (Lutheran West) 25:50.76, 27. Sarah Sommers (Cloverleaf) 25:56.10, 28. Savannah Pliszka (Brookside) 26:14.64, 29. Emma Gardner (Elyria) 26:22.61, 30. Erian Hamilton (Cloverleaf) 26:31.18.