SPENCERVILLE — The rain came down hard and heavy.
However, Shawnee wasn’t going to let the wet, humid conditions affect how it competed.
After a severe thunderstorm forced the boys Small School Division race to stop midway through, things weren’t looking very optimistic at Saturday’s Spencerville Bearcat Invitational. The meet was suspended until the storms passed through the area.
However, as soon as the weather cleared the Shawnee boys’ tight pack of runners proved to be enough to overcome South Adams’ (Indiana) one-two punch (first two overall placers), slipping past South Adams for the team title, 66-69. Paulding finished third (78), Bellefontaine was fourth (105), Elmwood came in fifth (119) and Elida finished sixth (133). There were nine teams that scored in the Big School Division.
South Adams’ Bailey McIntire won the race in 16 minutes, 15 seconds. Teammate Wyatt Miller finished second in 17:55.4. Elida’s Aidan Kruse came on strong down the stretch to finish a close third (18:04.6) on a very soggy 5,000-meter course.
Shawnee’s top runner was Jon Wahlie, who came in fourth (18:12.2). The rest of Shawnee’s top five runners included Josh Kuhlman (11th, 18:57.8), Grant Stump (12th, 19:04.1), Levi Stump (17th, 19:18.1) and Kai Malcolm (22nd, 19:47).
“It’s all about the pack,” longtime Shawnee coach Russ Holly said. “They (South Adams) went one-two, but then our pack was pretty good. So, that makes a difference.
“When you figure, that we’re missing a few from ACTs, then that’s pretty good. My fifth guy (on Saturday) isn’t usually there (fifth spot on the team). So, the pack was clicking.
“The whole thing is that we’ve been training in groups. If you work together, then one tends to drag the other ones along.”
In the girls Big School Division, South Adams slipped past Shawnee 30-43. Bellefontaine finished third (71), Bath came in fourth (94), Indian Lake was fifth (159), while Paulding came in sixth (160).
Just like in the boys race, South Adams nabbed the first two overall individual spots. Kailee Patch won in 20:20.2, while teammate Olivia Von Gunten was second (20:42.1). Shawnee claimed the next two overall spots. Faith Baxter came in third (20:45.7) and Anne Hardy was fourth (21:01.3) to lead Shawnee.
Lexie Marshall (10th, 21:47.2), Hope Baxter (14th, 22:37.2) and Emily Bryan (15th, 22:41.4) rounded out Shawnee’s five scorers.
In the girls Small School Division, Lima Central Catholic’s Emily Sreenan got out quickly and was never seriously challenged, as she won in 19:07.4. Bradford’s Karmen Knepp came in second (19:44.2).
St. Henry won the team title, defeating second-place Covington 28-45. Riverdale (102) was third followed by New Bremen (108) and Houston (111). There were seven teams that scored in that division.
Sreenan, a two-time state-placer, has not been beaten this season. At last week’s Columbus Grove Invitational, Sreenan won with a personal-best time of 18:12. On Saturday, conditions were not ideal for a personal best.
“The good thing about this course is that there’s so many turns. So, I can always check out where the competition is,” Sreenan said. “But maybe that’s not such a good thing, because I incidentally slowed down, because I knew I was so far ahead. I went out really hard today. If I would have kept that pace, I probably would have PR’d.”
In the boys Small School Division, the storms hit during the race. So, after the stoppage of the race, officials decided to restart competition following the Big School Division race, and have the athletes run the 3,200-meter middle school course.
Ottoville’s Brendan Siefker, who placed fourth at last year’s Division III state meet, ran away for the victory in 10:12.2.
Siefker said coming back to restart another race later in the day was challenging.
“We went out and ran a mile-and-a-half and I was feeling really good. I had a good pace going,” Siefker said. “Then, they called it because of the lightning. So, you come in for a while, drink some water and then go out and prepare yourself to run again. It was only two miles the second time, but it was tough. I got about 800 meters into it and I could feel it in the legs a little bit.”
In the final team scores in the boys Small School Division, Parkway won the title, edging out second-place St. Henry, 44-47. There were 11 teams that figured into the scoring.
TIFFIN — The Minster girls led area teams by winning the Division III event. The Wildcats’ Emma Watcke (seventh), Kaitlynn Albers (ninth) and Morgan Pohl (10th) all finished in top 10 as Minster finished with a team score of 81 followed by Columbus Grove (262). Taylor Ellerbrock led Grove, finishing 22nd. Crestview’s Ashley Bowen was 18th.
In the girls Division II race, St. Marys led area runners with an 11th-place finish.
On the boys’ side, Minster was 10th in the Division III race with CG’s Preston Brubaker coming in 34th. In Division II, Calahan Wolfrum of Van Wert was 13th.
The Lima News sports department can be reached at 567-242-0468.