By GARY R. RASBERRY
BOTKINS — The Botkins cross country Invitational
prides itself in being called The Best in the West.
With some state-caliber runners missing the race due to testing
and other reasons, Saturday featured the best of the rest from
the western half of Ohio.
Versailles came away with wins in both the boys and girls varsity
races, although Tiger coach Mark Pleiman had to get a phone
call from the officials to find out his boys won the race.
A technical glich in the computer scoring in the boys race caused
a delay of nearly 90 minutes after the varsity boys race was
completed to announce all the winners. When results were announced,
Versailles was placed second with Columbus Grove taking the
top spot and New Bremen placing third.
Then some questions began to surface about some of the scoring.
After double checking, and after the Tigers had already taken
off with their second-place trophy, the new scores were announced.
Versailles was first with 92 points with Troy Christian taking
second with 107 and winning the tiebreak over Columbus Grove.
New Bremen, which had already celebrated a strong third, had
to give the trophy back and went home hardware-less in fourth
place with 134 points. The official team results and individual
standings were finally released Sunday evening after a final
The day did allow some of the back-pack runners to step up.
Versailles was without top two Tyler Barga and Mike Dammeyer,
both taking ACT tests on the day. Eric Wood stepped up for the
Tigers with a sixth-place finish.
“It was pretty good. Columbus Grove has a good team,”
said Pleiman. “You do what you can. Clint Hufford, our
usual 3-4 runner, had a rough day. Three of our top four didn’t
have good days but it’s still nice to come out when you’re
having an off day.”
Fort Loramie junior Marcus Turner took home the win in the event.
The big surprise of the day came from Minster’s girls.
At times this season, powerhouse runner Sunni Olding took meets
off. Saturday, coach Jessie Magoto, citing a schedule crunch,
kept her top seven runners of the meet and only ran three runners,
meaning the Wildcats would not earn a team standing.
That allowed Versailles, the third-ranked team in Division III,
to take the girls team title after placing its top six runners
in the top nine to score 27 points. Defending state champs Fort
Loramie, missing a runner due to testing, placed second with
67. Anna’s Sarah Schulze took home the win in the event.
“We pretty much had everybody,” said Pleiman. “Minster
only had three and Loramie was missing some, but we just ran
our race and tried to get better every meet. It was a sloppy
course (after Friday’s rains) but not a slow course. Our
girls ran very well.”
Marion Local took third with 138 points, drawing high praise
from coach Randy Jutte.
“We really got on the kids today, especially to work on
the mental aspect of racing,” said Jutte. “We’ve
got the Lions on Thursday and the MAC a week later (both in
Coldwater), which for a lot of the kids is their last meet.
“It’s not as good an indicator as you would want
becasue you don’t know who was gone, but to get third
place and walk away with some hardware, you have to be happy
for the kids.”
Versailles placed first in the junior varisty boys race, scoring
one over the perfect score with 16 points. Minster was third
after taking ninth in the varsity race.
Minster girls took the junior high race with the Fort Loramie
taking the junior high boys race.
Most of the same teams at Botkins will be at Coldwater on Thursday
for the Lions Invitational.