Cross Country: Shawnee teams keep streaks intact; Cedarville starts its own

Shawnee senior Ethan Griffith (450) finished 35th to help the Braves qualify for the state meet for the ninth straight season. Contributed / Greg Billing
Shawnee senior Ethan Griffith (450) finished 35th to help the Braves qualify for the state meet for the ninth straight season. Contributed / Greg Billing

The Shawnee Braves boys and girls cross country programs kept their streak of state meet appearances intact. And on Saturday, the Cedarville Indians started one of their own.

A season after failing to qualify for state by three points, and edged out by Greenon, Cedarville reversed the roles to claim the fourth and final spot in the Division III boys race in Troy. Greenon, which last season qualified its boys team for the first time, finished fifth.

“Coach was saying this year was our chance,” Cedarville sophomore Ethan Wallis said. “He said we might not get it again. Now we have a chance to go to state and it’s going to be good.”

Wallis finished fifth overall in 16:41.45 to lead the Indians. Sophomore teammate Trent Koning was 12th (16:47.94). Junior Isaiah Estepp, freshman Drew Mason, sophomore Payton Herron, junior Jeffery Salisbury and sophomore Ben Kinsinger also helped the Indians make history.

“I think everybody is just super excited,” Wallis said. “The adrenaline is going to be really high. We just want to run to the best of our ability.”

Shawnee’s boys won the D-II regional championship with a 92-112 victory over former Central Buckeye Conference rival Tippecanoe. Senior Will Geist (16:37.67) finished seventh for the Braves, who will make their ninth straight appearance (and 15th overall) at the state meet Saturday at National Trail Raceway in Hebron.

“It was the goal but we knew we were going to have to work hard to get there,” said junior Alex Dyar, who finished 16th overall. “This gives us a pretty nice boost for the team. … We’re just going to see how the week goes.”

For the Shawnee girls, next week has to be better than this past one. The Braves’ top two runners were both ill, so much so that Shawnee coach Brian DeSantis gave junior Olivia Warax the option to not run.

Warax’s answer? An emphatic no. Warax ran a gusty race to finish 16th overall and help Shawnee finish fourth as a team to grab the final qualifying spot for state. Freshman teammate Audrey DeSantis finished third to help send Shawnee to its fifth straight state appearance and seventh overall.

“We’re always proud of each other and (state is) kind of an expectation right now,” Warax said. “We want to do well for each other. If everybody runs well and runs for each other it doesn’t matter how far we go.”

Also in D-II, Northwestern junior Drew Blazer (11th) and junior Kassidy Carpenter (6th) qualified for state as individuals.

In D-III, West Liberty-Salem freshman Megan Adams helped the Big Orange sweep the girls titles. Adams (18:51.48) out-dueled Catholic Central junior Addie Engel (19:01.58) for the individual championship. Last Saturday, Engel beat Adams by 13 seconds to win the district championship at Cedarville University.

West Liberty-Salem sophomore Katelyn Stapleton finished fourth and junior teammate Grace Adams fifth to help the Tigers with the regional team title, too.

West Liberty-Salem’s 41 points beat runner-up Fort Loramie’s 69. WL-S is ranked No. 2 in the state poll and Fort Loramie is No. 3. Both trail defending state champion Minster.

“That was definitely my goal,” Megan Adams said of the individual championship. “I love competing against Addie. She’s such great competition and she’s a really good friend. I knew it was possible if I stayed with her it could happen.”

WL-S makes its third straight state appearance and eighth overall.

“Today I was really pleased how well we kept our composure,” WL-S coach Ann Vogel said. “Grace Adams had a huge race for us. I think she moved up about 10 spots from the mile mark. Megan, what a kid. Nerves of steel. Katelyn had a (personal record) on the course which definitely was not the fastest course today. We stayed strong and on to the next one.”

Catholic Central junior Bridget Engel (12th) qualified as an individual and will join sister Addie at state.

The WL-S boys also qualified for state behind freshman Dylan Lauck’s fourth-place finish (16:30.77). Junior Noah Smith finished eighth to also crack the top 10.

WL-S, ranked No. 7 in the state, scored 75 points to finish third behind Fort Loramie and Cincinnati Summit Country Day. It’s the first trip for the Big Orange since 2013 and 17th overall.

“This time of the year is survive and advance,” WL-S coach Mike Louden said. “They did awesome. We ran great races and we’ll get another opportunity next week.”

Greenon sophomore Gavin Patrick (sixth) and Northeastern senior Payton Chatfield (15th) also qualified for state as individuals.