OLD FORT – Bigger isn’t always necessary better. Which is why the Fremont Ross cross country teams run at the Old Fort Invitational.
Ross used to run annually at a meet hosted by Oregon Clay, featuring a number of larger schools, including TRAC rivals like Whitmer and St. John’s/Notre Dame Academy.
But then the Little and Lady Giants opted to run closer to home, at Old Fort, where the smaller schools pose just as strong competition.
I looked at the Clay results, and we would have fit right in, which had Whitmer, St. John’s, TRAC schools,” coach John Elder said. “But Old Fort is really competitive Division II/III meet. It’s so close to home and it’s a really nice meet. …I think around this part of Ohio in Division II and III, there are some outstanding schools.”
The boys team placed third out of 21 teams, with 110 points, just two points shy of second-place Liberty Center while the Lady Giants were seventh out of 18 teams, totaling 192 points.
I thought everybody ran a real good first two miles, it’s that last mile that we haven’t gotten there yet,” Elder said. “That’s OK. All we can do is keep trying.”
Zach Edmonds finished fourth overall, with a time of 17 minutes, 11.2 seconds, while Ethan McClory also finished inside the top 10, coming in seventh. Brayden Darr placed 25th, Jake Thompson 29th and Trenton Ward crossed the finish line 45th.
For the Lady Giants, McKela Elder led the way with a fifth-place finish in 20:17.44, while Mackenzie Smith finished 10th and Allison Taylor crossed 15th.
With Nadia Kirksey and Grace Egbert both nursing injuries, McKenna Englund was Ross’ No. 4 runner, at 102nd overall while Kelli Byrne rounding out the scoring at 107th.
“On the girls’ side, we’re banged up,” Elder said. “…Kelli Byrne, boy she stepped up and PR’d by a good margin. She was in our top 5, which was very nice. She’s developing quite well.”
The boys also ran in a junior varsity race, which the Little Giants won easily, with four top 10 finishes (Evan Starkweather, Jewlius Pasch, Zach Glotzbecker, Zach McNutt) and a team score of 41 points, 48 points fewer than second-place.
“Our boys killed it,” Elder said of the JV race.
Ross will take a week off before the TRAC championship on Oct. 12 at Lima.
“One the boys’ side, Whitmer is the team to beat,” Elder said. “Individual goals for Zach and Ethan is to be top 7, it’d be nice to see if our other boys can be in the second seven, I think Brayden’s personal goal is to be in that second seven. One of the things at Van Buren that hurt us is, Findlay has a nice pack of five boys that aren’t as fast as Ethan and Zach but all faster than Brayden, our No. 3. We need Brayden to break that gang up and if we can slide Jake, Trent or Isaias (Ortiz) to help break that gang up. If we do, maybe we can do some damage.
“The girls race will come down to where our 4-5 girls come in and how close they can be to our third, that’s going to be the key.”
OLD FORT INVITATIONAL:
Team result: The Little Giants placed third, out of 21 teams, with 110 points.
Zach Edmonds, 4th overall, 17:11.20
Ethan McClory, 7th, 17:25.22
Brayden Darr, 25th, 18:23.34
Jake Thompson, 29th, 18:31.10
Trenton Ward, 45th, 19:03.09
Team result: The Lady Giants placed seventh out of 18 teams, with 192 points.
McKela Elder, 5th overall, 20:17.44
Mackenzie Smith, 10th, 21:03.33
Allison Taylor, 15th, 21:29.75
McKenna Englund 102nd, 25:40.09
Kelli Byrne 107th, 25:48.25
BOYS JUNIOR VARSITY RACE
Team result: The Little Giants finished first with 41 points, 48 points ahead of second-place Upper Sandusky.
Evan Starkweather, 3rd overall, 19:40.16
Jewlius Pasch, 6th, 19:53.81
Zach Glotzbecker, 7th, 19:57.18
Zach McNutt, 9th, 20:00.24
Trent Harkness, 21st, 20:36.45