Kreft wins 2nd straight state title


By Ben Stroup - bstroup@aimmediamidwest.com



Buckeye Valley senior Zach Kreft leads the field during the early stages of Saturday’s Division II state cross country championship race at National Trail Raceway.


Ben Stroup | Gazette

Looking for drama? If so, the Division II boys race at Saturday’s OHSAA State Cross Country Championships wasn’t for you.

And that’s just fine with Buckeye Valley’s Zach Kreft.

The senior led from start to finish, crossing the line in 15:20.6 — a full 21 seconds ahead of the runner-up — to win his second straight Division II title at National Trail Raceway in Hebron.

“My plan of attack was definitely to take it out hard,” Kreft said. “I wanted to get away from the pack and distance myself throughout the race … I believe I did that nicely.”

Kreft crossed the line untested and alone. He didn’t quite set the state meet course record he was shooting for, but the first-place finish was still sweet.

“Winning the state championship again feels amazing,” he said. “I think this time feels just as sweet as the last … I’m so excited to bring home another state championship to Buckeye Valley.

“I couldn’t have done it without my coach, Nate Ritz, and all the support from my family and teammates. This championship is one we will all share.”

As for those teammates, they performed well, too. BV closed ninth as a team — its best state finish yet. The Barons wound up 16th as a team at last fall’s state showcase.

Bill Daily (71st in 17:04.7), Nathan Holst (76th in 17:05.6) and Gavin Shearer (88th in 17:12.7) joined Kreft in the team’s top four.

Buckeye Valley’s girls team was also in action, making Saturday the first time both Baron squads made it to the sport’s biggest stage in the same season.

BV, which finished 15th at the state meet in 2004 and 2005, collected its best-ever finish by closing 11th overall in Division II.

Freshman Chloe Dawson led the way, finishing sixth in 18:39.4. Other Baron standouts included Ashley Beatty (63rd in 19:49.8), Chayse Arnhold (111th in 20:41.4) and Bailey Kreft (115th in 20:50.2).

Division I

Gracie Sprankle and Emma Bower posted top-10 finishes to lead the Olentangy Liberty girls cross country team to a third-place showing in Saturday’s OHSAA Division I state championship race in Hebron.

Sprankle finished fourth in 17:35.5 while Bower crossed the line ninth in 18:05.7.

Linnea Kunesh smoothed out the team’s top three, finishing 38th in 18:52.4.

Allison Guagenti led Olentangy Orange, which closed 17th as a team, finishing 49th among individuals in 19:03.5. Lindsay Ott was also solid for the Pioneers, crossing the finish line 56th overall in 19:12.7, while Zoe Bond finished 65th in 19:21.5.

Big Walnut’s Colbi Borland competed as an individual, finishing 59th with a time of 19:14.5.

In boys’ action, Liberty finished 13th thanks in part to the efforts of Jack Humenay (61st in 16:33.3), Joseph Johnson III (71st in 16:40.5) and Loagn Boone (88th in 16:46.0).

Orange’s Tommy Wintering competed as an individual, closing 68th overall in 16:39.9.

Buckeye Valley senior Zach Kreft leads the field during the early stages of Saturday’s Division II state cross country championship race at National Trail Raceway.
http://www.delgazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/40/2017/11/web1_kreft_cmyk-1.jpgBuckeye Valley senior Zach Kreft leads the field during the early stages of Saturday’s Division II state cross country championship race at National Trail Raceway. Ben Stroup | Gazette

By Ben Stroup

bstroup@aimmediamidwest.com