Cody Strawser/News The Centerburg girl’s cross country team takes off from the start line at Saturday’s Division III Regional cross country meet. The Trojans finished second as a team to qualify for the state meet.

Cody Strawser/Mount Vernon News

The Centerburg girl’s cross country team takes off from the start line at Saturday’s Division III Regional cross country meet. The Trojans finished second as a team to qualify for the state meet. Request this photo

 

PICKERINGTON — Both girl’s and boy’s cross country teams representing local high schools had success at the regional cross country meet held at Pickerington North High School on Saturday, with two teams advancing to the state tournament: The Centerburg girl’s cross country team and the Fredericktown boy’s cross country team.

At the girl’s Division III regional cross country meet, Centerburg got second place overall with an average time of 20:33 and will advance to the state cross country race that will take place next Saturday at National Trails. Aeryn Walters and Avery Tucker both spoke about how excited they are for their team to do so well at regionals and make the state race.

Cody Strawser/News Fredericktown’s Thomas Caputo, left, tries to catch a Belpre runner during the Division III Regional cross country meet Saturday at Pickerington North.

Cody Strawser/Mount Vernon News

Fredericktown’s Thomas Caputo, left, tries to catch a Belpre runner during the Division III Regional cross country meet Saturday at Pickerington North. Request this photo

 

“It’s really exciting to know that we are moving on to state,” said Walters. “Only the top five teams get to go and so we are really pumped about that. We were racing for each other. Our beginning speech was “Hey, don’t worry about you, just run for the team and just push for the team.’”

“We are really happy about it because obviously we get to move on to state,” said Tucker. “Now we just have to prepare so we can get a better place at state than we did last year. Right now we are focusing on how well we can do at state.”

Tucker finished with a time of 19:39.3 and placed sixth overall for her team. Walters finished with a time of 19:59.9 and placed 17th overall. Abigail Dickhof also helped out the team by placing 23rd overall with a time of 20:35.

In the Division II girl’s cross country race, the Fredericktown Freddies placed eighth overall, with an average time of 20:41. Even though they did not make it to the state meet, the girls were still happy with what they accomplished during the season, especially since they were up against bigger Division II schools.

“We’re really excited to have finished and to have made it to this point in the season,” said Elsa Hoam. “For the first time as a Division II team, we were hoping to move on to state.”

“It feels really great,” said Natalie VanMeter. “I’m proud of all of my teammates for doing some of their best times ever in their whole high school years, which is a pretty great feeling even if we don’t qualify.”

Hoam finished 25th overall with a time of 19:48.9. Georgie Caputo finished 52nd overall with a time of 20:40.6. Vanmeter rounded out the top three on the Freddies team with a 53rd placement and a time of 20:41.5.

In other important local Division II girl’s cross country news, Camberly Schade of Highland, who qualified for regionals as an individual, also qualified for state as an individual with a time of 19:07.9 and an overall placement of seventh.

In the Division III boy’s regional race, the Fredericktown Freddies placed second, qualifying for state. Thomas Caputo spoke about his own success, as well as the success of his team.

“It feels really good,” said Caputo. “It’s what we trained for all year is the state meet. This will be my third time going there, second time qualifying as a individual. It gets more exciting each year because I know that I am improving and that my team is improving. I’m excited to see what we are going to do next week. It’s been a lot of fun so far.”

Caputo finished fourth overall with a time of 16:07.2. Evan France finished 13th overall with a time of 16:36.8 for the Freddies. Rounding out the top three on the Freddies team was Titus Krabill with a time of 17:21.1.

Also in the boy’s Division III regionals race, Centerburg ended up finishing 12th. Blake Johnson spoke a bit about his personal struggles on the course, as well as his team’s.

“To be honest, I thought that I was going to place a little better,” said Johnson. “It’s upsetting to see that. My time was a little off of my PR (Personal Record). I really want to attack it next year because I didn’t attack it enough this race and I feel kind of bad about that; but overall I think we all pushed pretty hard. It just wasn’t the result that we were looking for. For a small school, we did really good.”

Johnson finished 40th overall, with a time of 17:37.4. Alex Hayden finished 75th with a time of 18:20.7. Will Carlisle finished 76th with a time of 18:21 to finish out the top three for the Trojans.

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Cody Strawser: 740-397-5333 or cody@mountvernonnews.com and on Twitter, @mountvernonnews