YORK TWP. — Streaks are made to be broken.
The Buckeye girls cross country team has been Patriot Athletic Conference champions for the last five years with Keystone playing bridesmaid each time, even losing by just one point last year.
The Wildcats were motivated by the close call during the offseason and it paid off as they won Saturday’s league championship at Buckeye High School going away, 31-54, as each of their first five runners finished in the top 12.
Buckeye slipped to third this year as Lutheran West also knocked off the Bucks, finishing in second on the strength of Michaela Bierly’s first-place finish with a time of 19:48. She was the only runner under the 20-minute mark.
“This was a real fun course, I’m glad we got a chance to come out earlier to run it before the conference meet,” Bierly said. “I really wanted to get out early, sit and relax my breathing and then go hard again (at the end of the race).
“That purple team (Keystone) ran really well today and I’m proud of them for the way they ran.”
Keystone’s Shannon Wargo was the defending individual champion, but she was more than happy with the way things turned out.
“If I have to get second place and our team get first, I’d rather have that,” Wargo said about Keystone’s first conference title since 1994. “I so happy for the team and proud of the girls for all the hard work they put in this year. Losing by a point last year pushed us to work that much harder.”
Rounding out Keystone’s top five were Jean Copley (third), Beth Plas (fifth), Erin Hostal (ninth) and Jillian Peters (12th). The Wildcats’ sixth and seventh runners, Madison Copley and Morgan McNulty, finished 16th and 18th.
With all the girls finishing in the Top 21, the entire Wildcats varsity earned all-conference honors.
“From the very first day of practice, I told the girls that they should be tired of finishing second and we are going for first place this year,” Keystone coach Tom Habenicht said. “We thought Lutheran West was our main competitors this year, so I told the girls to chase down anyone in red that is in front of you.”
The Longhorns lived up to that billing, placing their top five runners in the top 21.
Olivia Vasiloff finished fourth for Lutheran West with teammates Anna Maxwell (11th), Emily Giguere (17th) and Jessica Bradley (21st) rounding out the team’s scoring.
Wellington’s Ashley Martin had a strong showing, running a 21:47 for sixth, while Tori Hritsko (22:15) and Leslie Peterson (22:45) finished ninth and 11th for Firelands.
On the boys side, Buckeye maintained its winning streak in the PAC, capturing its fourth straight championship with 57 points. The Bucks outdistanced second-place Firelands, which finished with 77 points.
Sophomore Colin Theis captured the individual title with a blistering 16:19, finishing 35 seconds ahead of Brookside’s Creighton Jensen and Oberlin’s Simon Perales, who finished with identical marks of 16:54.
“I feel really good finishing where I did against him (Theis),” Jensen said. “When we go out, I know I want to try and beat Colin. He was able to pull away from me about halfway through the race and he was just gone. He was out there like the roadrunner today.”
Oberlin may have finished seventh as a team with 166 points, but Perales is in a group with Jensen, Black River’s Tanner Hawley and Firelands’ Brennan Crawford that is continually battling for second behind Theil.
“I was real happy with my race and I usually have trouble with my last 800 meters, but I was able to push through and finish really strong today,” Perales said.
After finishing no higher than fourth the last two years, Firelands coach Greg Northeim was pleased with the Falcons second-place showing.
“Buckeye is just a really good team and they came on strong today,” Northeim said. “I thought it would be a four-team race between us, Buckeye, Fairview and Lutheran West. We’ve taken turns finishing second and today we were able to finish strong.”
Contact James Brady at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
GIRLS TEAM STANDINGS: 1. Keystone 31, 2. Lutheran West 54, 3. Buckeye 87, 4. Fairview 95, 5. Brookside 123, 6. Firelands 139, 7. Clearview 190.
TOP 30 INDIVIDUALS: 1. Michaela Bierly (Lutheran West) 19:48, 2. Shannon Wargo (Keystone) 20:21, 3. Jena Copley (Keystone) 20:57, 4. Olivia Vasiloff (Lutheran West) 21:05, 5. Beth Plas (Keystone) 21:36, 6. Ashley Martin (Wellington) 21:47, 7. Isabelle Petek (Buckeye) 21:55, 8. Emma McQuate (Fairview) 22:14, 9. Tori Hritsko (Firelands) 22:15, 10. Erin Hostal (Keystone) 22:42, 11. Leslie Peterson (Firelands) 22:45, 12. Anna Maxwell (Lutheran West) 22:50, 13. Jillian Peters (Keystone) 22:52, 14. Emily Porter (Buckeye) 22:55, 15. Eric Fauver (Buckeye) 23:11, 16. Sarah Kelley (Black River) 23:11, 17. Shannon Kilbane (Fairview) 23:21, 18. Madison Copley (Keystone) 23:25, 19. Emily Giguere (Lutheran West) 23:40, 20. Morgan McNulty (Keystone) 23:47, 21. Sarah Guerry (Fairview) 23:51. 22. Korrie Czerwony (Buckeye) 23:57, 23. Jessica Bradley (Lutheran West) 23:59, 24. Alli Schill (Brookside) 24:10, 25. Savannah Pliszka (Brookside) 24:13, 26. Jocelyn Miller (Brookside) 24:22, 27. Emilee Gil (Brookside) 24:25, 28. Caytlin Groh (Fairview) 24:29, 29. Katie Snable (Lutheran West) 24:36, 30. Clare Rehor (Fairview) 25:09.
BOYS TEAM STANDINGS: 1. Buckeye 57, 2. Firelands 77, 3. Fairview 81, 4. Lutheran West 95, 5. Black River 110, 6. Clearview 165, 7. Oberlin 166, 8. Brookside 170, 9. Keystone 229, 10. Wellington 266.
TOP 30 INDIVIDUALS: 1. Colin Theis (Buckeye) 16:19, 2. Creighton James (Brookside) 16:54, 3. Simon Perales (Oberlin) 16:54, 4. Tanner Hawley (Black River) 17:12, 5. Aidan Gallagher (Buckeye) 17:28, 6. Drew Fuchs (Lutheran West) 17:38, 7. Brennen Crawford (Firelands) 17:39, 8. Derek Reynolds (Firelands) 17:44, 9. Stephen Cartier (Fairview) 17:45, 10. Michael Adkins (Firelands) 17:46, 11. Noah Parsons (Clearview) 17:56, 12. Matt Brown (Lutheran West) 17:59, 13. Vincent King (Buckeye) 18:03, 14. Luke Borsody (Fairview) 18:12, 15. Tyler Hornbeck (Black River) 18:16, 16. Matt Shook (Buckeye) 18:21, 17. Andrew Fox (Keystone) 18:32, 18. Billy Guerry (Fairview) 18:35, 19. Josh Hollaway (Fairview) 18:36, 20. Chris Szado (Luthern West) 18:37, 21. Kevin Kerchencski (Fairview) 18:40, 22. Jared Bartter (Buckeye) 18:46, 23. Triston Hornbeck (Black River) 18:54, 24. Seth Hancock (Clearview) 18:57, 25. Matthew Brightbill (Firelands) 18:58, 26. David Quayle (Lutheran West) 18:59, 27. Cullen Grude (Firelands) 19:10, 28. Walter Polanski (Black River) 19:11, 29. Jacob Corcino (Clearview) 19:12, 30. Justin Raynak (Brookside) 19:12.