By GARY R. RASBERRY
COLDWATER — All season fans have anticipated a battle
between Coldwater and Versailles in boys cross country. Several
meets have seen the teams together, but in different divisions
and in one of the first meetings, the Tigers won by just one
Coldwater got back last week with a win over Versailles at the
Lions Invitational after Tiger ace Tyler Barga went down with
a twisted ankle.
So, Thursday’s Midwest Athletic Conference Meet was the
final round since both teams are in different divisions in the
Coldwater may have been whistling “Be it ever so humble,
there’s no place like home” through Community Park
in winning the MAC title by a 44-57 margin.
“I’m ecstatic and kind of speechless. I don’t
know what to say,” said an emotional coach Dan Pohlman
after the team winners were announced. “This is what you
work for all season. Our goal at the beginning of the year was
the MAC. You don’t even look at state or districts or
regional. It’s all about the MAC, that’s where the
bragging rights are. Our guys did it.”
The big turn in the race came early, rather than late like last
week. Barga, still nursing a sore ankle after hitting a tree
rut in the park last week, went into the second turn off the
start and landed on his bad ankle, reinjuring the ankle and
leaving the race. Barga, with a wrap on the ankle, was carried
back to the bus after watching the end of the race from the
“We’ll take it easy and hopefully he’ll be
all right and be able to come back from this,” said Versailles
coach Mark Pleiman on Barga’s condition. “We ran
all right with the rest of the guys. Coldwater has a good looking
team this year, you have to hand it to them. They really came
on this year. They’re 10th in the state and surprised
a lot of good teams this season. I’m glad they’re
not in the same division as us (Versailles is Division III,
Coldwater Division II). They’ve done a great job but I’m
glad I don’t have to see them again this year.”
The absence of Barga once again opened things up for David Wilker.
The Coldwater freshman overtook Marion Local’s Corey Winner
in the final mile and looked pumped up as he let out a shout
in crossing the line in 16:32.25.
“We worked hard all week. Our coaches were really pumped
up for our seniors since it’s their last meet here,”
said Wilker. “We came so close last year, losing by four
points (49-53). We knew that we wanted to get it this year.”
Corey Winner came across for second 16, seconds later than Wilker
with Coldwater senior Marty Schoenherr, who won the race as
a freshman, coming in third followed by Flyer Ryan Winner. Versailles’
first runner across was Eric Wood in fifth place.
In the girls race, the tight battle between Minster and Versailles
was tightened to the limit as Minster won its 19th league title
by a slim 26-32 margin over the Tigers. Minster placed six runners
in the top 12, earning all-MAC honors. Versailles placed four
in the top 12 with Coldwater taking the other two spots.
“It’s crazy. That start was crazy,” said Mister
coach Jessie Magoto, who won her fifth MAC title in five years
as coach of the Wildcats. “You saw our one runner followed
by four Versailles runners right away. (Versailles) started
that first mile as hungry as can be. I just kept telling myself
‘You have to have faith. It’ll be there in the end.’
We knew it was going to be close and it was close. They pulled
out to where they needed to be.”
“It was a close race,” said Pleiman. “A couple
of girls had their best times again with four girls into the
19s, which was what we were shooting for. They were working
their tails off, you can’t ask for anymore than that.
Minster is a great program and have some nice runners. They’re
a tough team and it’s going to take a lot to bring them
Sunni Olding ended her conference career by not only shattering
the meet record she set in her freshman year, but also cutting
10 seconds off her course record set last week at the Lions
Invitational with a run of 17:39.49.
“I’m so happy how she ran,” said Magoto of
Olding. “People take it for granted every race and say
‘Sunni’s going to to win.’ but she never takes
anything for granted. She takes everything as an opportunity.
This was her opportunity to run this course for the last time.
She just really wanted to tear it up.”
The first six runners through the chute were in alternating
Minster-Versailles order. Tiger Trisha Krueger was next through
the chute in second, followed by Minster’s Brigitte Sherman.
Versailles took the seventh spot with Corey Fullenkamp but Minster
nailed the door shut by bringing in its final three runners
in eighth, ninth and 10th to take the title.
Minster’s junior high girls took the two-mile title by
edging Versailles 26-33. Wildcat Katie Dahlinghaus took the
race title, Versailles boys edged out Coldwater and Minster
for the boys’ junior high title. Marion Local’s
Justin Guysick took the race victory.