Monday, August 27th, 2007
By Bruce Monnin
Redskins edge Cavs in tight race at the Rotary Invitational
Teams arrived from the Toledo area, the Columbus area and even from Indiana to take on many local cross country squads at the 26th annual Celina Rotary Invitational meet at the Lake Campus Saturday.
And while the clouds threatened, the sprinkles fell, and the winds blew in from the lake, the weather held out long enough for some good racing and for several visiting Division I schools to take their annual post race dip in the lake.
The day started with the Division II and III girls. Coldwater put in a great performance, placing its top five runners in the overall top 14, led by a fifth-place finish from Larissa Kohn.
Such performances almost always will win an invitational meet, but in this case, the Cavaliers fell just short of Fort Loramie. The Redskins' duo of Janel Olberding and Kara Gasson took the top two places to lead the Redskins to victory.
Coldwater also displayed depth, as its sixth-through-10th place runners would have finished in fourth place in the event if they could have been entered as another whole team.
The ladies from Fort Recovery also had a good day, finishing third overall. Tina Roessner and Mindy Vogel both placed in the top 10, in fourth and ninth places, respectively.
The small school boys' race was tightly contested by St. Henry and Coldwater, with the Redskins pulling out the win with 79 points versus Coldwater's 88 points.
The individual race showed similar results as St. Henry's Dan Rex finished six seconds ahead of Coldwater's Dusty Kuess and eight seconds ahead of Redskin teammate Doug Ranly.
Kuess and Ranly were considered two of the favorites coming into the race, so Dan was pleased and maybe a little surprised with his upset victory.
"At the beginning of the race, everyone was talking about Dusty and Doug fighting it out, and I was hoping to stay up there with them," explained Rex. "My goal was just to stay up at the front and hang with Dusty (Kuess) and Doug (Ranly)."
Celina was the only local squad participating in the Division I races. In the girls' race, five runners jumped out to the early lead, with the Bulldogs' Melissa Roth trailing in sixth place. As the race progressed, Roth managed to catch the other runners one by one until she worked her way into a second-place finish.
While other runners may prefer to start fast to get an early lead, Roth uses a different tactic.
"I try not to start out too fast," explained Roth. "I like to run at a constant speed."
It appeared during the race that much of the Celina team used this theory, as all of them seemed to be moving up through the pack late in the race.
"We don't go out slow," clarified Roth. "We go out smart. We think about what time we want to run and try to go at that pace."
The Celina girls suffered an unfortunate disqualification when number-two runner (who crossed the line in 10th place) was disqualified for wearing earrings.
Without that disqualification, the Lady Bulldogs would have moved up a spot and finished fifth in the team standings instead of the sixth place shown in the official results.
The Celina boys had an even better race, finishing in second place in the overall team standings. At about the halfway mark, Andrew Goodwin was in third place just behind the two leaders, while Isaac Niekamp was in sixth.
Both runners continued to gain on the leaders, until at the finish, where Goodwin worked his way into second place, just two seconds behind the overall winner from Findlay, Shoayb Bascal. Seventeen seconds later, Niekamp crossed the finish line in third place, having passed three runners on the last half of the course.
With Peter Starnes finishing eighth, Luke Bovillian 14th, Eric Ballinger 21st and Nate Gunter 22nd, the Bulldogs were looking very strong.
However, they were unable to overcome the strong team from Findlay, which placed runners in first-, fourth-, fifth-, seventh- and 11th-places.
Coldwater had a good day in the junior high races. The Cavalier girls beat out Celina and Fort Recovery to win the team title, while the boys finished third in their race, behind Division I schools Findlay and Oregon Clay.
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