FINDLAY – A little extra motivation can go a long way.
Running in the district meet, a chance to advance to the regional race is motivation enough. But Saturday, the Fremont Ross cross country teams had a little extra incentive to run as fast as they could.
The Little and Lady Giants weren’t just racing their opponents, they also had a ticking clock to contend with counting down to the start of Homecoming festivities back home.
“They all were concerned about what time they had to run (and get back in time) for homecoming,” said coach John Elder. “I said, ‘The faster you run, the sooner you can get to Homecoming activities.’
“And both boys and girls really ran well today. The league meet, you really do it for pride reasons and have fun, but if you want to be a good cross country runner, you really have to run well at districts in order to move on. We look at districts as a bigger meet.”
Ross entered the day with four runners looking at real shots to advance to regionals, with a fifth runner having an outside chance as well. The day went as-expected, with the teams three seniors, Ethan McClory, Zach Edmonds and McKela Elder, along with freshman Mackenzie Smith, advancing to next week.
McClory finished fourth overall in the boys race, clocking a time of 16 minutes, 31.58 seconds. Zach Edmonds came in 11th, with 12 being the cut-off for regional qualifying, with a time of 17:02.91.
“It ended up being a very good day – Zach Edmonds made it a little bit dicey, but it was a good day,” Elder said. “He’s been battling a cold and I think it’s more than a cold. I’m just not sure he was at 100 percent today. …But he hung on and it’s OK. He has another week to get healthy.
“(McClory) and I talk about this a lot, he does well in the district meet then he gets to the regional meet and doesn’t do well,” Elder added. “I keep telling him we need to straighten that out.”
As for the girls, McKela Elder placed third overall in 19:25.91 while Smith, in her first career district meet, took ninth in 20:00.11. Allison Taylor finished 23rd overall, crossing the finishing line in 21:11.17.
“(McKela Elder) is in a really good spot to move,” John Elder said. “The boys have a hard time, the boys is real completive. The girls race is competitive too but not as many runners. If (Elder) can run the way she knows she can run, she should be able to make it out. But she has to show up and run and today she showed up and ran.
“For (Smith), yeah, she’s a competitor. She shows up to compete, which I like.”
Ross four surviving runners will have to finish in the top eight of next week’s regional meet to advance to the state meet. The regional will be at Hedges Boyer Park in Findlay. The girls’ Division I race will be at noon while the boys will race at 3 p.m.
“I hope Zach is healthy,” Elder said of what he wants to see happen next week. “I want Ethan to run the race he’s capable of running and I want McKela just has to do what McKela can do. …I hope (Smith) can compete. I want her to enjoy the moment and not worry about anything else but just run what she can run and let the chips fall where they may.”
Division I District Meet
Team Results: Fremont Ross finished sixth out of 10 teams with 148 points.
Ethan McClory, fourth place, 16:31.58
Zach Edmonds, 11th place, 17:02.91
Brayden Darr, 42nd place, 18:21.53
Trenton Ward, 45th place, 18:33.33
Isaias Ortiz, 46th place, 18:54.48
Jake Thompson, 47th place, 18:55.78
Evan Starkweather, 55th place, 19:41.72
Team Results: Fremont Ross finished fifth out of 10 teams
McKela Elder, third place, 19:25.91
Mackenzie Smith, ninth place, 20:00.11
Allison Taylor 23rd place, 21:11.17
McKenna Englund, 50th place, 24:11.11
Kelli Byrne, 52nd place, 24:19.11
Grace Egbert, 53rd place, 24:28.46