It’s not the title the Springboro Panthers want most, but the girls cross-country team will certainly take the Division I district championship Saturday at Cedarville University.
The Panthers won in a loaded D-I field to give them a boost of confidence entering next week’s regional championships. Springboro scored 37 points to outdistance Beavercreek (54), Troy (54), Lebanon (98) and Centerville (102). With a field of 23 teams, two teams were named district champions so Beavercreek claimed that honor, too.
Centerville, which held some top runners out Saturday, entered ranked No. 1 in the D-I state poll. Springboro and Beavercreek were tied at No. 4 with Troy at No. 12.
“It can be kind of intimidating when we come out here,” said Springboro’s Lindsey Coffin, who finished second overall to district champ Morgan Gigandet of Troy. “But when we race this well it’s really exciting. We’ve been training really hard so we’re happy with the result.”
Gigandet won the D-I meet in 17 minutes, 27.6 seconds. Coffin finished seven seconds later and held off Lebanon’s Faith Duncan by one second. Springboro’s Zoe Chappelle finished fifth, Lucy Short eighth and Cassie Moesner ninth.
“My plan for Morgan is to let her go and see if I can catch her at the end,” Coffin said of Gigandet, who earlier this season posted the fastest time in Ohio and fifth in the nation. “I’m planning to catch her one of these days.”
The top nine teams and top 36 individuals advanced to Saturday’s D-I regional championship meet in Troy.
“Our coach tells us to keep improving and don’t be nervous before races because we know we can do it,” Coffin said of competing with the state’s top teams that also happen to reside in the Greater Western Ohio Conference. “We just have to go out there and do it. That’s the great thing about how competitive our region is.”
Centerville won the D-I boys meet with 52 points and Carroll also grabbed a district title with 96. The Elks entered the meet ranked No. 6 in the state. Carroll is No. 15.
Middletown’s Conant Smith dominated the course in 15:18.8. Centerville’s Ben Burkett was next in 15:51.6. A group stayed with Smith until the first mile. Then it was a race for second.
“That’s when he exploded. I tried to stick with him after that,” Burkett said.
Centerville’s Andrew Craig (fourth) and Adrian Bostwick (11th) also helped run down the district championship. Carroll’s Karl Grossman (fifth) and Sam Janson (10th) also finished among the top 10.
“Last year at regional we got second, so I think this year we’re going for first,” Burkett said. “After that we’ll see how we do at state.”
In the D-II girls meet, Alter’s Perri Bockrath made her move with half a mile to go and out-kicked Oakwood’s Elizabeth Vaughn to the district title. Bockrath won in 18:36.6 for an 11-second victory.
“I was hoping to lay on her shoulder and have her set the pace,” Bockrath said. “In the last mile if I felt good I was going to go after it.”
Alter qualified as a team in fifth behind district champs Tippecanoe and Bellbrook. Oakwood and Springfield Shawnee finished as runners-up.
“I knew I couldn’t settle for second,” Bockrath said. “I knew I had to win this race for my team. I could sense (Vaughn) was wanting it as bad as I did. I was hoping to have a stronger kick.”
In the D-II meet, Joe Spitzer of Versailles won the title (16:07) with a 25-second victory over Tippecanoe’s Bryce Conley. Eaton and Brookville won district team titles.
In D-III, Greenon’s Max Pettit won the title (16:08.5) and Fort Loramie and Houston won district team titles. West Liberty-Salem’s Katelyn Stapleton won the girls race (18:46.6) to help the Tigers win a district championship along with Fort Loramie.