It seems counterintuitive to tell a runner to run slower. But that’s what Buckeye Valley coach Nate Ritz told his junior record-setter Zach Kreft before Saturday’s MOAC Championship race at Marion Harding.
It didn’t matter.
Kreft finished a minute slower than he did on the same track he re-set the school record on last week and still took home first place honors by almost 50 seconds, topping the group with a time of 16:09 to give him his third league title in as many years.
It was a one-of-a-kind day as both the Buckeye Valley boys and girls teams captured MOAC titles for the first time on the same day.
“(Saturday) was something the kids have been thinking about and working toward since we finished the season last year,” Ritz said. “Running and placing well at the MOAC meet is one of those big goals the team focuses on and it’s great to see it all come together.”
For the boys, it’s nothing new. The Barons have captured the crown in each of the past seven years.
But the girls squad captured its first title since 2005.
Junior Susie York (21:28), sophomore Kennedy Cramer (21:38) and freshman Lane Graham paced the Barons, who finished with 54 points – nine points ahead of second place North Union.
“Kennedy has been battling injuries most of the last half of the season and missed a handful of races lately, with the goal of having her ready for today,” Ritz said. “She’s still not anywhere near 100-percent healthy, but there was no way she would let me hold her out today.”
Jonathan Alder senior Aziza Ayoub took home top honors in the girls race.
Junior Nina Hilt (16th, 22:48), sophomore Izzy Parish (19th, 23:21) and freshman Emily Ramos (20th, 23:27) each finished in the top 20.
Meanwhile, the boys, who finished with 29 points and won by 51, dominated the top 12.
Junior Gavin Shearer (fifth, 17:04), sophomore Cameron Hurt (sixth, 17:06), juniors Nathan Holst (eighth, 17:06), Nathan Heiser (ninth, 17:17), Bill Daily (10th, 17:18) and Jacob Zinn (11th, 17:19) and senior Luke Parish (12th, 17:20) each had solid races.
“Our boys pack continues to keep improving,” Ritz said. “They’ve been working hard and pushing each other day in and day out, which makes them all better.”
Kreft, Shearer and Hurt took home MOAC First-Team honors on the boys side and York grabbed the honor on the girls side. Cramer and Graham nabbed second-team honors on the girls side with Holst, Heiser, Daily, Zinn and Luke Parish grabbing the distinction on the boys side. Hilt, Izzy Parish and Ramos were honorable mention.
The Olentangy Orange boys cross country team and junior Hunter Moore, like most at Thanksgiving dinner, wanted seconds at Saturday’s league championship race in Hilliard.
Moore (15:48) finished 13 and a half seconds better than second place Anthony Sasso (of Olentangy) to give him his second straight OCC title.
Moore was one of five Pioneers to finish in the top 11 of the race to give Orange its second consecutive league title, edging rival Olentangy Liberty by six points with Olentangy coming in third 49 points back.
Junior Jack Schiefelbein (third, 16:25), sophomore Andrew Schroff (fifth, 16:29) and seniors Josh Brooks (ninth, 16:51) and Matt Hartzell (11th, 16:59) rounded out Orange’s top five finishers.
Hartzell was particularly impressive, running the last two miles without a shoe.
The Patriots had five runners finish in the top 10 and eight in the top 20, led by senior Ryan Milligan (fourth, 16:28), junior Logan Boone (sixth, 16:41), sophomore Joseph Johnson III (seventh, 16:42), freshman Nick Ireland (eighth, 16:48) and junior Nicholas Anderson (10th, 16:53).
Sasso, a senior, led Olentangy with a time of 16:02. Seniors Zach Balthaser (14th, 17:04) and Alex Garner (16th, 17:10) and juniors Cullen Sainey (20th, 17:18) and Jeremy Kendle (29th, 17:55) rounded out the team’s top five finishers.
Sophomore Gracie Sprankle, junior Emma Bower and freshman Linnea Kunesh each finished in the top six to propel Liberty to the OCC-Buckeye girls team title.
Sprankle (second, 18:17), Bower (third, 18:33), Kunesh (sixth, 19:20) and the Patriots finished with 36 points, 16 ahead of second place Olentangy and 17 ahead of third place Orange.
Sophomore Emily Matta (12th, 19:43) and freshman Emma Shear (13th, 19:43) rounded out Liberty’s top five.
Orange sophomore Allison Guagenti (17:59) finished the race in first place, breaking her own school record in the process.
Freshman Piper Biziorek (fourth, 19:10), sophomore Lex Brookshire (seventh, 19:21), junior Melina Endsley (ninth, 19:31) and freshman Meghan Boggess (10th, 19:37) each finished in the top 10 to help Olentangy’s second-place effort.
Junior Katie Slyh (22nd, 20:19) rounded out Olentangy’s top five.
The Pioneers were led by junior Zoe Bond (fifth, 19:12), sophomore Lindsay Ott (eighth, 19:24), sophomore Grace Frye (11th, 19:40) and freshman Grace Benecke (33rd, 21:04).
Big Walnut freshman Colbi Borland did something no other girl has done in school history: win an OCC championship race.
She took home top honors at the OCC-Capital event Saturday in Newark. Her time of 19:58 was a solid 16 seconds better than second-place finisher Alyssa Painter, whose New Albany squad took the team title.
BW finished with 52 points as a team, five points behind second place Canal Winchester and 12 points out of the title.
Sophomore Ruthann Armbrust (sixth, 21:07), junior Leksi Murnieks (12th, 21:48), freshman Alina Pecci (16th, 22:11) and sophomore Hannah Moroz (19th, 22:34) each finished in the top 20.
Meanwhile, junior William Hefner (17:49) finished 14th to top the boys squad, which finished fourth behind champion Newark.
Junior Kaleb Disbennett (29th, 18:53), senior D.J. Werner (31st, 18:58), sophomore Leif Anderson (35th, 19:19) and freshman Cole Matos (43rd, 19:58) rounded out BW’s top five finishers.
Junior Ashley Woller (19:19) and senior Alicia Rittenour (19:20) finished ninth and 10th, respectively, to lead the Delaware Hayes girls cross country team in the OCC-Cardinal title race Saturday in Hillard.
The Pacers finished seventh behind champion Thomas Worthington.
Junior Grace Fowler (55th, 22:26), freshman MaryBeth Zimmerman (58th, 22:49) and senior Kristen Puthoff (59th, 22:52) rounded out Delaware’s top five.
Meanwhile, seniors Seth Karn (11th, 16:21) and Justin Hernan (15th, 16:32) paced the boys squad to a seventh-place finish behind champion Thomas Worthington.
Senior Marquis Willis (46th, 17:39), sophomore Avery Latta (56th, 18:44) and freshman Ethan Horvath (57th, 18:48) rounded out the boys effort.
Any frustration the Olentangy Liberty girls soccer team had after being denied an OCC-Buckeye title by rival Olentangy Thursday was taken out on former OCC-Central rival in Saturday afternoon’s 7-0 victory at Upper Arlington.
Sarina Dirrig scored a hat trick and Abby Townsend added two goals and a pair of assists as Liberty turned a 3-0 halftime lead into the seven-goal victory.
Madison Rapier and Brooke Severance each scored once and assisted on another. Grace Poncsak had six saves in goal for the Patriots and Sophie Fallieras finished with an assist.
Carolyn Stehle had three saves for the Golden Bears.
Liberty, the Central District’s second seed, opens tournament play at home against 42nd-seed Franklin Heights Thursday night at 7 p.m.
Delaware Hayes 2, Buckeye Valley 1
Emily Mathias scored a pair of goals and Ahdrin Bordner finished with three saves as the Pacers held on for a non-league win over the host Barons Saturday afternoon.
Gabbie Durbin scored Buckeye Valley’s lone goal off a free kick while Camryn Crawford finished with six saves in the BV goal.
It was the teams’ annual Kick for the Cure showdown, with proceeds from the game, which exceeded $4,000, going toward the fight against cancer.
The Delaware Christian volleyball squad continued its strong season with a 25-23, 23-25, 22-25, 25-23, 15-12 comeback victory at Delaware Hayes Saturday.
Lyssi Snouffer had 24 kills and seven aces to lead the Eagles. She also finished with 26 digs in the win.
DCS (20-2) got strong performances out of Sarah Rosato, who had 16 kills and 11 digs, and Abby Evans, who finished with 11 kills and 12 digs. Amy Fuller led with 27 digs and Brianna Blackburn finished with 42 assists.
Lauryn Rocassin topped the Pacers with 27 kills, Hadlee Burns had 11 and Rebecca Rocassin added 10, led the team with 31 assists and tied with Emily Gray for the team lead with four aces.
Audrey Hannahs had 27 digs for Delaware (10-12).
DCS is the top seed in the Division IV Central District tournament and opens Thursday night at 6 p.m. at home against 18th-seeded Harvest Prep.
23rd-seeded Delaware has a first round bye in the Division I tournament and will play the winner of 26th-seeded Groveport-Madison and 21st-seeded Hilliard Bradley at the better seed’s home court Wednesday night at 6 p.m.
Follow Michael Rich on Twitter @mrichdelgazette.